Eastman’s tradition of organ study builds on a century of remarkable accomplishments. Students are prepared for multifaceted careers as church musicians, teachers, and concert performers through an array of classes and lessons and a wide-ranging weekly colloquium. They also have ample opportunities to practice and perform on a large collection of outstanding instruments.
Organ, Sacred Music & Historical Keyboards
A renowned, supportive faculty; infinite study, practice, and performance opportunities; a solid basis for future employment.
A strong performance and academic preparation for early music performance.
Performance & Literature
Harpsichord or Organ
Welcome to the web page for Eastman’s Department of Organ, Sacred Music, and Historical Keyboards! At Eastman we continue to build on a remarkable century of achievements in performance and scholarship. We’re very proud to offer our students a variety of magnificent organs, harpsichords, and other historical instruments for practice and performing. And our high quality of teaching is seen with our frequent student and alumni competition winners throughout the world.
We hope you will make Eastman the next step towards your future in music!
Mary Jo Denninger
Craighead-Saunders Organ: The Craighead-Saunders Organ, honoring two revered Eastman professors, is based on a 1776 instrument and is ideal for performing Bach.
Monday Night Colloquium
A weekly forum for master classes, lectures, hymn playing, and other aspects of the profession.
Healthy Keyboard Technique
Developing a balanced, healthy keyboard performing technique
Organ History, Literature, and Design
A comprehensive survey of organ technique, building, and historical performance practices
Aspects of pipe organ construction, tuning, and general maintenance
Keyboard Continuo Realization
Basic harpsichord technique and figured bass realization
Sacred Music Skills
A four-course sequence covering all aspects of church musicianship, keyboard and choral
Providing students with the foundation to develop their own teaching lessons
Creating your own music through practice and performance
Learn the joys of theater organ performance on a mighty Wurlitzer
Contemporary Organ Music Project
A multidisciplinary approach to the 20th and 21st century repertoire
This reproduction by Goetze and Gwynn of a 17th-century English chamber organ is also at Christ Church.
A broad array of instruments is available for weekly lessons, performances, and regular practice. Some of these instruments are owned by ESM/University of Rochester, while others are available to ESM students through collaborative agreements with local institutions. Students who have church jobs also practice on the instruments in their churches.
Learn more about the stunning organ collection Eastman School of Music has acquired over the years.
University of Rochester also boasts many organs available to students an the community.
Outstanding instruments available for practice, recitals, and concerts
- A two-manual harpsichord by William Dowd, patterned after instruments by the 18th century German harpsichord maker Michael Mietke.
- A single-manual harpsichord by Anderson Dupree, restored by Kevin Spindler, built according to the tradition of the Ruckers family in the early 17th century.
- A two-manual harpsichord by William Dowd, in 18th-century French style, after Blanchet.
- A single-manual harpsichord in 17th-century Italian style, built by William Post Ross.
- A single-manual Flemish harpsichord built by Richard Kingston, located in the room of the Collegium Musicum.
- A two-manual harpsichord built by William Dowd, in 18th-century French style, after Pascal Taskin, located in Kilbourn Hall.
- A two-manual harpsichord built by Eric Herz, located in Ciminelli Lounge in the Student Living Center.
Kilbourn Hall Organ: The Kilbourn Hall organ, installed in 1951, is frequently used for performances of concertos and other works.
Eastman School practice organ: Eastman’s many instruments are available for regular student practice and weekly lessons.
Bi-Annual Events and Associations
One of the premiere international organ conferences, highlighting Rochester’s rich organ culture.
Ensuring the future of hymnody and congregational singing
This acclaimed vocal and instrumental ensemble is also an early music laboratory through engagement of historic rehearsal and performance practices. The Schola specializes in Gregorian chant, Renaissance and Baroque choral music, and choral improvisation.
“The Christ Church Schola Cantorum… sings beautifully.” Fanfare, Jan/Feb 2010. Founded in 1997 by Stephen Kennedy, the Schola performs the Office of Compline at Christ Church Rochester NY, Sunday evenings, October through April. First-Sunday Candlelight Concerts and Compline was named “The coolest, most unusual music experience in the city…” in Rochester Magazine’s “Our Top Picks of 2014.”
Student Centered Initiatives
For Instructions and Application for the Organ Student Travel Fund, please use the link below. Please download the application to your computer and complete the application. Submit your completed application by email attachment to our department coordinator.
Eastman School practice organ 2: Eastman’s 14 practice organs are in frequent use by students.