Organ and Harpsichord

The organ and harpsichord programs at Illinois are designed to develop excellence in solo performance and ensemble playing, and to encourage knowledge of different national styles and schools within a wide range of repertoire.

Organ LessonThe organ and harpsichord faculty is dedicated to historical keyboard practices, offering courses in historical performance practice, basso continuo accompaniment, tuning and temperament, organ history and design, organ & harpsichord literature, and ensemble performance.

In addition to private instruction and courses directly related to organ and harpsichord, the curriculum includes study in history and theory, composition, choral conducting, and pedagogy.

Performance opportunities include participation in a number of ensembles, including choral groups and Concerto Urbano, the university’s period instrument group.harpsichord students

The university owns eight harpsichords, including a double manual French harpsichord by John Phillips (Berkeley, CA), a double manual Saxon by Willard Martin (Bethlehem, PA), a double manual French by William Dowd (Boston, MA), and a Flemish virginal by Malcolm Rose (London, UK).

Also available for use are organs by Casavant (75 ranks), Fritts (10-stop studio organ), Buzard (12 stop-studio organ, 6-stop practice organ) and Noack (4-stop practice organ).

Additionally, organ students regularly practice and perform at local churches. A list of area instruments can be viewed here

Honors holders and Competition laureates among our students and alumni:

  • Second Prize, Arthur Poister Memorial Competition. Scott Montgomery, 2002
  • First Prize, Audience Prize, American Guild of Organists National Young Artists Competition in Organ Playing (NYACOP). Scott Montgomery, 2006
  • Performance Scholar, Westfield Center for Early Keyboard Studies. Emanuele Battisti, 2007-08
  • First Prize, Hymn-playing prize, Albert Schweitzer Festival Competition. Christopher Holman, 2010
  • Third Prize, Franz Schmidt International Competition, Austria. Mina Choi, 2012
  • Alternate Winner, Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition, Rochester, N. Y.  Jonathan Young, 2012
  • Second Prize, Shanghai Conservatory International Organ Competition. Zhen Piao, 2017
  • First Prize, Lynnwood Farnam International Competition, Montréal. Zhen Piao, 2019 (post graduation)