Organ, Sacred Music, and Historical Keyboards

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

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

October 26–28, 2016EROI16 TAO ad

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.

Download the 2016 schedule and brochure

Wednesday, October 26

Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester

3–5PM Conference Registration
3:30–4:30PM Recital on Italian Baroque Organ by Eastman students and faculty
Public admission: Free with paid Gallery admission
5PM Keynote Lecture: Robin A. Leaver
(Professor Emeritus, Westminster Choir College)
6:15PM Dinner at the Memorial Art Gallery

Third Presbyterian Church, Rochester


Hymn Festival

Organists: James E. Bobb (St. Olaf College), Aaron David Miller (House of Hope Presbyterian Church, St. Paul, Minn.)
Choir Director: Peter DuBois (Third Presbyterian Church, Rochester)

Festival Choir from Rochester-area churches

Free admission

Thursday, October 27

Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music

9AM-Noon Paper Session

Chair: Betsy Marvin
Frank Russo (Ryerson University, Toronto): Music cognition and singing
Kay Norton (Arizona State University): Singing and well-being
Joseph P. Swain (Colgate University): Semantics of sacred music
Panel Discussion

Noon–1:15PM Lunch on your own in downtown Rochester

Christ Church, Rochester


This session will focus on the historical use of the organ in alternation with voices in the liturgies of the Western church.
Chair: Kerala Snyder (Eastman School of Music)
France: Robert Bates (University of Houston)
Italy: Edoardo Bellotti (Eastman School of Music)
Germany: Frederick Gable (University of California, Riverside)

First Presbyterian Church, Pittsford

4:30PM Moravian Singstunde
Organizer and lecturer: Nola Reed Knouse (Director, Moravian Music Foundation)
Organist: Jack Mitchener (Mercer University)
5:45PM Catered dinner

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester

8PM Concert of chant and chant-inspired organ repertoire, including alternation practices, featuring Edoardo Bellotti, Nathan Laube, Stephen Kennedy, and the Christ Church Schola Cantorum
Public admission: $15 regular/$10 student; tickets available at the door

Friday, October 28

Third Presbyterian Church

9AM-Noon Master classes with Eastman Organ students

James E. Bobb: Leading nontraditional/multicultural hymnody from the organ

James E. Bobb, Aaron David Miller, Rick Erickson (Christ the King Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas): Improvising introductions and accompaniments to congregational hymns

Noon-2PM Lunch on your own in downtown Rochester

Christ Church


Chair: Roger Freitas (Eastman School of Music)
Frederick Gable: The organ and congregational song in 17th-century Hamburg
Kerala Snyder: The organ and congregational song in 17th-century Lübeck
Jacob Fuhrman (Eastman School of Music): Metrical psalms in 18th-century Netherlands
Derek Remeš (Eastman School of Music): The chorale in Germany after J. S. Bach
5:15PM Conference banquet at Max of Eastman Place, Miller Center, Eastman School of Music

Christ Church

8PM Concert featuring David Higgs and William Porter playing organ repertoire based on chorales, metrical psalms, and hymns, including congregational singing
Public admission: $15 regular/$10 student; tickets available at the door

Saturday, October 29

Christ Church and the Memorial Art Gallery

9AM-Noon Open console

Download the 2016 schedule and brochure