April 8, 2002

More Information:
Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

Rochester, NY — Virtuoso organist and harpsichordist William Porter will join the faculty of the Eastman School of Music as part-time professor of harpsichord and organ improvisation effective July 1, 2002. Last fall, Porter was visiting professor of organ improvisation at Eastman, and now will incorporate those teaching skills in his new capacity. Porter refers to improvisation as "when the moment of performance and composition are the same."

"We are delighted to welcome Bill Porter to our faculty," says David Higgs, co-chair of the keyboard department at Eastman. "He is an internationally known performer and improviser at both the organ and the harpsichord. He’s also a formidable scholar, and will bring to Eastman a great depth of knowledge and experience that will benefit not only Eastman but the larger Rochester musical community." Porter will teach harpsichord majors and secondary students, and continuo and improvisation classes.

"Eastman is developing a global perspective that scarcely any other school can claim," says Porter. "The school sees the organist in a more international sense — what is possible and what is necessary — and that excites me about being at Eastman."

Widely known as a performer and teacher in the United States and Europe, Porter is a leader among organists working toward a recovery of an historical approach to musical performance, and has achieved international recognition for his skill in improvisation in a wide variety of styles. He was professor of organ and harpsichord at Oberlin (1974-1986), was a faculty member at the New England Conservatory (1985-2002), and taught and performed at the North German Organ Academy, the Italian Academy of Music for the Organ, the Göteborg International Organ Academy, the Dollart Festival, the Lausanne Improvisation Festival, the Smarano Organ and Clavichord Academy, the Boston Early Music Festival, and the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists. He is a co-founder of Affetti Musicali and Musica Poetica, Boston-based ensembles that have received critical acclaim for their performances of Baroque repertoire. Porter will continue his part-time teaching of organ improvisation at Yale University.

Porter has recorded on the Gasparo, Proprious, BMG, and Loft labels. Later this year, his improvisation concerts recorded in various parts of the world will be released on a new CD from Loft.


Note: A photo of William Porter is available upon request.