Orpha Caroline Ochse MM 48, PhD 53

A native of St. Joseph, Missouri, Orpha Ochse studied at the Eastman School of Music with the legendary organist Harold Gleason, receiving a Master of Music degree in 1948 and the PhD in 1953. She held teaching positions at Central College, Western Illinois State College, and Phoenix College before moving to California in 1957, where she was Director of Music at the First Congregational Church in Pasadena for twelve years, and Lecturer in Music at the California Institute of Technology for fifteen years. She joined the faculty of Whittier College in 1969, retiring in 1987, but she has remained an active performer and spokesperson for the organ – the American organ in particular.

Orpha Ochse’s activities in the organ profession have also included European recital tours, published compositions for organ, and various research studies. She is the author of three authoritative books on organ history and performance. Her first book, The History of the Organ in the United States (1975), received international recognition. Organists and Organ-playing in 19th-Century France and Belgium was published in 1994, and Austin Organs, about the great American organ building firm, in 2001. These three works have become standard texts for organ students and organ builders throughout North America. She has served as Dean of the Central Arizona and Pasadena Chapters of the American Guild of Organists, and as a member of the national council of AGO. In 1991, Orpha Ochse was elected a lifetime honorary member of the Organ Historical Society.

In recognition of the tremendous influence her work has had in the American organ world, as well as her outstanding career as a church musician, teacher, performer, composer, and scholar, the Eastman School of Music is proud to give Orpha Ochse its Alumni Achievement Award.

Rochester, New York
October 12, 2006