Exciting News – Career Update


photo from my 2010 trip to St. Philip’s Atlanta to play a pre-evensong concert

I am so excited to move to Atlanta in July, joining Dale Adelmann, Jack Mitchener, and so many wonderful clergy and staff at The Cathedral of St. Philip! My position of Associate Organist-Choirmaster will involve leading the chorister program (already populated by a great group of talented, musical youngsters) and sharing service-playing and accompanying duties for the Cathedral Choir and Schola.

My position officially begins on July 15th, 2020. In the six weeks before that day, I will take comprehensive and oral exams at Eastman; perform at the Mother Church in Boston and on the Spreckels organ in Balboa Park as a “Rising Star” at the San Diego International Organ Festival; move from Rochester to Atlanta, and attend the AGO convention there (July 6-10). It will be bittersweet to leave Rochester after six years of hard work and fulfilling music-making. I have made many lasting friendships here; I have gained inspiring mentors and tried to be one myself for my students. I met and worked with two amazing church communities – Third Presbyterian Church and St. Paul’s Lutheran in Pittsford. At Third Presbyterian, I built up a wealth of anthem accompaniments in a choir of a similar size to that of St. Philip’s, sure to be a useful resource in the years to come. At St. Paul’s, I learned everything I now know about directing a music program: recruiting, planning, balancing a budget, creating and facilitating community, respecting traditions but being bold enough to start new ones.

I have experienced absolutely brutal winters, but ones in which the sparkling-bluish snow against a dusky pink winter sky bring a stillness and calmness unparalleled to any warm climate. The springtime here is bursting, full of life and hope, and I look forward to experiencing it one more time before I move on to the next phase of life.

I remember feeling complete awe and reverence when I first traveled to the Cathedral of St. Philip back in 2010 to play a pre-evensong recital (my first ever “away-gig!”). I never imagined I would return one day to work in that sacred space. I’m so thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to make music within that wonderful community, but I know I will carry with me the memories, growth, and sense of belonging I came to feel here in Rochester. Here’s to the next five months of teaching, playing, performing, and otherwise enjoying life in the ROC. It’s been good here.

NYACOP 2018 Results

I’m pleased to announce that I was awarded Second Prize at the 2018 National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance (NYACOP), held as part of the 2018 Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Kansas City.

The competition began with a recorded round due in the fall of 2017. Nine semi-finalists were chosen to compete in the following round on June 28th, 2018 in Wichita, Kansas. The semifinals were held on the Marcussen Organ at Wichita State University’s Wiedemann Hall. Each semi-finalist performed a 35-40 minute program consisting of pieces by Buxtehude, Bach, Reger, and one of Demessieux’s Six Etudes for Organ.

At the conclusion of the semifinals, five finalists were chosen to compete in the final round on the brand-new Richards, Fowkes organ at Village Presbyterian Church. Each finalist crafted an hour-long program using both pre-determined repertoire (including the Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor BWV 582, the Duruflé Scherzo, any work of Leo Sowerby, and Thomas Kerr’s Arietta) and free choice repertoire.  Unlike the semifinal round, the finals were not “blind,” meaning the jury faced the performer, whose name was announced, and the competition became more like a public performance. The finals were an official AGO Convention event, and convention attendees made up a fairly large audience, even at 9am, when I began playing as Competitor A.

In addition to the given repertoire, I also performed the Liszt BACH and two settings on Jesu, meine Zuversicht by Homilius. The organ served each piece beautifully (even when I  faced challenges with registration changes, given our brief practice sessions leading up to the competition), and I felt honored to have a chance to get to know the instrument throughout the experience.

Ultimately, the judges awarded me Second Prize, for which I feel satisfied and proud. Always in performances we look back and contemplate what could have gone better, what we might have done differently. And in competitions, so much is left to chance. What is important is to learn as much as possible through every experience, and to go away with a positive and grateful attitude for having grown through the process.

Onward to a brand new semester and new experiences to be had!