Department of Organ

The Department of Organ prepares gifted musicians for versatile careers as organists, church musicians, harpsichordists, and carillonists. The faculty—eminent performers and scholars with a broad range of specializations—share a profound commitment to teaching. Career preparation includes development of artistry, technique, scholarly research, and the ability to play music of all periods with integrity, informed by historical performance practices and the department’s rich collection of instruments. Students may further choose from multiple opportunities for specialization and enrichment. Studies in improvisation and a graded curriculum in sacred music expose students to multiple genres reflecting diverse cultures and liturgical traditions. Harpsichord students develop strengths in both solo and continuo playing, engaging in extensive chamber music opportunities such as the Baroque Chamber Orchestra. Carillon students study repertoire from early music to new experimental works and music by underrepresented composers, becoming seasoned performers via regular recitals on the University’s two concert-class carillons. Internationally known for developing talent, the Department of Organ is known for the number of its graduates enjoying careers as recitalists, university professors, and music directors of large churches.

Faculty

The members of the University of Michigan organ, harpsichord, carillon, and sacred music faculty are in demand internationally as performers, pedagogues, scholars, adjudicators, and professional leaders. As committed teachers and mentors, they work one-on-one with students in weekly private lessons and studio classes, which take place across the campus to fully utilize the University’s broad collection of instruments.


Joseph Gascho

Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Stearns Collection
Early Music Chamber Coordinator, Harpsichord

Nicole Keller

Assistant Professor of Music, University Organist
Organ, Sacred Music

Tiffany Ng

Chair of Organ and Associate Professor of Music, University Carillonist
Carillon, Musicology, Organ

Affiliated Faculty

Julie Zhu

President Postdoctoral Fellow/ Assistant Professor
Carillon, Organ, Harpsichord

Instruments

All SMTD instruments are available for practice and performances.

Organs

hill organ

The U-M recognizes the pipe organ as the only instrument suitable for practice and performance of the organ repertoire. Students enrolled for organ instruction perform, study and rehearse on the instruments in Hill Auditorium and the Earl V. Moore Building.

Additional information may be found in Pipe Organs of Ann Arbor by Professor James O. Wilkes.

Carillons

Baird Carillon

The University of Michigan has two carillons. A carillon is an instrument of at least 23 bronze bells, arranged in chromatic sequence, so tuned as to produce concordant harmony when multiple bells are sounded together. It is played from a keyboard and pedalboard, which allow expression through variation of touch. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni give regular performances on the campus carillons.

Charles Baird Carillon (Burton Memorial Tower)
53 bells cast by John Taylor & Co. in Loughborough, England and installed in 1936

Ann and Robert H. Lurie Carillon
60 bells cast by Royal Eijsbouts in Asten, the Netherlands and installed in 1996

Practice Carillons
Three practice carillon keyboards are available. Two are located in the upper floors of Burton Memorial Tower, and a digital practice carillon is located in the Duderstadt Center. Practice keyboards are not audible outside of the practice room.

For further information, contact Professor Tiffany Ng, university carillonist. Current students interested in carillon lessons: please visit the Carillon Studio page.

Harpsichords

harpsichord early music chamber

Students of the harpsichord will graduate as experienced soloists and continuo players, having learned principles of historical performance and how to tune and care for their instruments. The university maintains the following harpsichords for students’ use:

  • Keith Hill, 1992: German double manual
  • William Dowd, 1984: Franco-Flemish double manual after Ruckers
  • Peter Fisk: French double manual
  • Hubbard/Eckstein: French double manual
  • Hill and Tyre, 1980: German single manual
  • David Sutherland: Flemish single manual
  • William Post Ross, 1965: Italian single manual after De Quoc
  • Two Tuckermann kit instruments

For further information, contact Professor Joseph Gascho.

Performance Opportunities

From large ensembles in celebrated concert halls to chamber groups in intimate recital spaces, performance opportunities across all disciplines abound, with nearly 900 student performances each academic year. Whether your focus is on early, classical, or contemporary music, whether your passion is for jazz, electronic, or world music, there is an ensemble—or in many cases, multiple ensembles—to suit your interests, including specific opportunities for percussion, piano, and organ & carillon. For students in theatre & drama, musical theatre, dance, and opera, opportunities abound in both professionally produced and student-run presentations.

Organ

Organ Performance

Students perform and study with their peers in studio classes and perform for the public in solo student recitals and studio recitals. In addition, the Organ Department organizes several recitals each term in local churches in the communities surrounding Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Carillon

Carillon Performance

The University of Michigan has two world-class carillons. Half-hour recitals are given on weekdays throughout the academic year and are open to the public to view. Intermediate and advanced carillon students may perform for the campus regularly on these recitals.

Early Music Ensembles

Early Music Ensembles

Students interested in historically oriented performance have opportunities to explore music from across the centuries, performed on authentic period instruments and high-quality replicas.

Ensembles

Ensembles

Organ students have opportunities to perform with the University of Michigan orchestras, bands, and choral ensembles, and can gain extensive experience in continuo playing on organ and harpsichord with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra.

Alumni

Organ Alumni

DR. MARTIN JEAN (DMA ’89, MM ’94, organ) – Professor of Organ and Church Music, Director of the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University; winner of the Grand Prix de Chartres and AGO NYACOP competitions; concert organist and recording artist with Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists
DR. JEREMY CHESMAN (MM ’00, carillon) University Carillonist and Professor; Interim Department Head, Missouri State University
DR. CHRISTINE CLEWELL (DMA ’96, organ) Assistant Professor of Organ, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
DR. NORAH DUNCAN IV (DMA ’94, organ and church music) Professor and Chair, Department of Music, Wayne State University
DR. GREGORY HAND (DMA ’06, MM ’02, organ) Associate Professor of Organ, University of Iowa
DR. EVELYN LIM (DMA ’97, organ) Professor, Methodist School of Music, Singapore
MEGHAN MELOY NESS (MM ’17, organ) Director of Music, Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, Swarthmore, PA

Carillon Alumni

Featured Alumni (currently appointed)

Carson Landry, University Carillonneur, University of Rochester
Jeremy Chesman
, University Carillonist and Professor of Music, Missouri State University
Linda Dzuris, Chair of the Department of Performing Arts, Professor of Music & University Carillonneur, Clemson University
Ennis Fruhauf, owner, Fruhauf Music Publications for organ, choir, and carillon; University Carillonist (1969–74), UC Santa Barbara
John Gouwens, carillonist and consultant; Organist and Carillonneur (1980–2019) of the Culver Academies
Stephen Knight, University Carillonneur, Samford University
Adrienne Lehnert, carillonist, University of Washington
Carrie Poon, Recording Secretary, Guild of Carillonneurs in North America
Tin-Shi Tam, Cownie Professor of Music, University Carillonneur, Chair of the Keyboard Division, Iowa State University
Janet Tebbel, carillonist, Miraculous Medal Shrine and the Shelmerdine Memorial Carillon

Featured Alumni (past appointments)

Beverly Buchanan
John Courter
William De Turk
Albert Gerken
Carol Jickling Lens
Ray McLellan

Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments

Comprised of over 2,500 pieces of historical and contemporary musical instruments from all over the world, the collection is available to scholars and performers, and its many instruments are heard frequently in public performances and discussed in depth through lectures.

Call for Proposals: 63rd Annual Organ Conference

Time Play: Inventing Future Sounds and Scholarship in the Historical Keyboard Realm
October 1-3, 2023

62nd Annual Organ Conference

Our Own “Clavierübung” Past, Present and Future in American Keyboard Practice
October 9-11, 2022

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