Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI)

The Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative presents

EROI Festival 2016
“Breath for Singing: The Organ and the Human Voice”

October 26-28, 2016

The Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI) will hold its 2016 EROI Festival October 26–28 at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY. With the theme of “Breath for Singing: The Organ and the Human Voice,” EROI 2016 will consider conceptual, historical, and practical aspects of the interaction of organ and voice. Among conceptual aspects we will explore the cognitive and psychological benefits of group singing within religious communities. While supporting and encouraging congregational singing is perhaps the most ubiquitous of roles for the organ, comparatively little historical attention has been devoted to this aspect of the organ art. The organ also has a long history of alternating with the choir (the schola cantorum or Kantorei), the organ becoming another voice in such a liturgical dialogue. Both of these roles for the organ will be considered historically through lectures and demonstrations by leading organists and musicologists, examining various repertories of chant, chorales, metrical psalms, and hymns—with the organ as the central focus. Practical considerations of hymn accompaniment will be illustrated through lecture demonstrations and master classes involving Eastman organ students and nationally recognized organists who have developed special artistry in techniques of hymn-based improvisation. The opening keynote lecture on Wednesday, October 26 will be given by Robin A. Leaver (Emeritus Professor, Westminster Choir College), with a hymn festival to follow, featuring a festival choir comprised of Rochester-area church choirs, all led by James E. Bobb (St. Olaf College), Aaron David Miller (House of Hope Presbyterian Church, St. Paul, MN), and Peter DuBois (Third Presbyterian Church, Rochester, NY). The hymn festival will include the premiere performance of a new hymn commissioned for this conference, with text by Thomas Troeger and music by Nico Muhly. Other highlights include a Moravian Singstunde, using an organ built in the style of David Tannenberg, and two evening recitals by Eastman organ faculty. Further details and a full schedule are forthcoming in 2016.