March 24, 2006
NEW YORK CITY — The American Guild of Organists (AGO) will sponsor a Recital and Gala Benefit Reception honoring organist DAVID CRAIGHEAD on Monday, May 22, 2006, at 7 p.m. at the Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pa. Performers will be Diane Meredith Belcher, AAGO, Ann Labounsky, FAGO, and Mark Laubach, all of whom are former Craighead students. AGO President Frederick Swann will serve as master of ceremonies. The cost is $100 per person; all proceeds will be placed into the AGO Endowment Fund in David Craighead’s honor. Tickets may be purchased from AGO National Headquarters by telephone (212-870-2311, ext. 4308), e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at www.agohq.org. The gala is sponsored by the AGO Development Committee, Bruce P. Bengtson, AAGO, director. Major funding is provided by Roy F. Kehl, FAGO and Pemcor Inc. Additional support is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis M. Steele Jr.
The AGO’s lively concern for education and outreach prompted the formation of the AGO ENDOWMENT FUND in 1994. The purpose of this fund is to expand programs for leadership development among AGO members; educate new organists; and cultivate new audiences for organ and choral music. Tax-deductible contributions to the Endowment Fund are invested in perpetuity to produce continuing income support for essential Guild educational programs and projects.
DAVID CRAIGHEAD was born in Strasburg, Pa., on January 24, 1924. His father was a Presbyterian minister; he received his first music lessons from his mother, who was an organist. At an early age he showed great interest in music and especially his favorite instrument, the organ. At age eighteen, he became a pupil of Alexander McCurdy at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he received the Bachelor of Music degree in 1946. During his four undergraduate years, he served as organist of the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. In 1944, he was accepted as a touring recitalist by Concert Management Bernard R. LaBerge (now Karen McFarlane Artists), making his first transcontinental tour shortly thereafter. In his last year at the Curtis Institute, Mr. Craighead joined the faculty of the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J.
The following September, Mr. Craighead was appointed organist at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church in California. Among his duties were biweekly organ recital broadcasts and the accompanying of numerous oratorios and other musical performances.
From the summer of 1948 through 1955, Mr. Craighead taught in the music department of Occidental College in Los Angeles. From 1955 until his retirement in the summer of 1992, he was both professor of organ and chair of the organ division of the keyboard department at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, N.Y. He was organist at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Rochester.
Mr. Craighead has maintained a balanced career as both performer and teacher. Many of his students now hold positions in colleges and churches across the country. He has played recitals at seven AGO National Conventions, and at the International Congresses of Organists held in London, Philadelphia, and Cambridge, England. Recognized as one of America’s great organ artists, David Craighead was voted the 1983 International Performer of the Year by the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
In June 1968, Mr. Craighead received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pa., and in 1975, was the first recipient of the Eisenhart Award for teaching excellence at Eastman. His most recent award has been an honorary Fellowship in the Royal College of Organists, London, England.
Recordings include a 1968 Artisan LP disc of compositions by Franck, Mendelssohn, and Messiaen. He has subsequently made two recordings for the Crystal Record Company. The first includes works of Samuel Adler, Paul Cooper, and Lou Harrison. The second includes The King of Instruments by William Albright and the Sonata for Organ by Vincent Persichetti. He also made two recordings for Gothic: one of late nineteenth-century American composers, and the other of Albright’s Organbook I and Organbook III. His most recent recording, for Delos, features the Second Sonata by Max Reger and Louis Vierne’s Sixth Symphony.
Mr. Craighead was married to organist Marian Reiff Craighead for 47 years. Until her death in May 1996, they presented concerts for organ duet in numerous cities nationwide, and completed a recording, The Craigheads at Asbury. The Craigheads have two children, a son, James, and a daughter, Elizabeth Eagan; and two grandsons, Christopher and Jeffrey Eagan.
Hear performances by and comments from DAVID CRAIGHEAD on American Public Media's PIPEDREAMS broadcast #0620, available for audition 24/7 online beginning the week of May 15, 2006, and broadcast nationwide that weekend. http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/0620/
The AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, it sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes the understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The mission of the AGO is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. The Guild currently serves approximately 19,000 members in more than 300 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The American Organist Magazine, the official journal of the AGO and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers each month.
This information is submitted by F. Anthony Thurman, Director of Development and Communications at the National Headquarters of the American Guild of Organists and The American Organist Magazine. For further information, please contact Dr. Thurman by TEL (212) 870-2310, FAX (212) 870-2163 or E-MAIL email@example.com.