Organ Conference

60th Annual Organ Conference

Visionary Collaborations in Sacred Music, Worship and the Arts

October 4-6, 2020

Music-making in liturgical and secular settings is most often a deeply collaborative process, as argued by ethnomusicologist Christopher Small in his foundational book Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening (1998). However, discussions about performance tend to obscure these collaborations, keeping them backstage. The 60th Annual Organ Conference invites organists, carillonists, harpsichordists, sacred music practitioners, and their collaborators to foreground their collaborative projects and creative processes. From sacred music to community-engaged partnerships, models abound for broadening the scope of music performance to encompass additional artists (e.g. ensemble music), artistic mediums (e.g. music and live painting), clergy (e.g. church concert series), technology innovators (e.g. audience-interactive carillon performance), and community members (see A Guide for Working with Communities, Van Buren & Schrag, 2018).

The University of Michigan invites proposals for Conference events exploring collaborations in the disciplines of organ, harpsichord, carillon and sacred music. Proposals for presentations in diverse formats are encouraged, including performances, lectures and lecture-recitals. Some possible topics include:

  • Collaborative works for organ, harpsichord or carillon with other instruments or voice
  • Collaborations with composers or other creative practitioners
  • Improvisation on themes from literature, the fine arts, or other artistic mediums
  • Community-engaged arts development and leadership
  • Entrepreneurial or technological collaborations
  • Partnerships among musicians, clergy and pastoral ministers
  • Interdisciplinary projects
  • “How-to” presentations that illuminate the collaborative creative process

Proposed events should be 50 minutes in length.  A stipend of $700 is available for each presentation selected, which may be shared by collaborating presenters.  Presenters must provide and arrange for any collaborating musicians.  Presenters will be responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses and arrangements.  Available performance instruments include the Fisk organ in the style of Gottfried Silbermann in Blanche Anderson Moore Hall, the E.M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner organ in Hill Auditorium, the Klop Kistorgel (chest organ), the carillons in Burton Tower and Lurie Tower, and a variety of harpsichords.

To submit a proposal, please email the following by March 15, 2020 to James Kibbie at

  • Name(s) of presenter(s)
  • Category (performance, lecture, lecture-recital, etc.)
  • 1-paragraph description
  • Optional: supporting materials (recordings, publications, videos, etc.)
  • Brief biography of presenter(s)
  • Equipment or instrument needed, if any




*Students must be currently enrolled in high school or college with valid student ID

The University of Michigan Organ Conference is made possible in part by sponsorships from people like you. Can you, your business, or your church help sponsor a student attendee for $50 or a concert or presentation for $200?

Contact Charles Miller for more details.