Organ, Sacred Music, and Historical Keyboards

Current Students

 

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Chelsea Barton is currently pursuing a Doctorate with David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.  Chelsea holds a Bachelor’s Degree and Performer’s Certificate from Eastman, having studied organ, harpsichord, and improvisation with William Porter.  Following her undergraduate education, she completed a year of study with Michel Bouvard, Yasuko Bouvard, and Jan Willem Jansen at the Conservatoire Rayonnement Regionale in Toulouse, France.  She completed a Masters at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, as a student of Hans-Ola Ericsson and Hank Knox.  In October 2015, Chelsea won third prize in the Bach/Liszt International Organ Competition held in Erfurt, Germany.  In August 2012, Chelsea was awarded second prize in the Arp Schnitger International Organ Competition held in Bremen.  She won second prize in the Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition and first prize in the West Chester International Organ Competition.  Chelsea also enjoys woodland walks, gardening, and birdwatching.

 

Ivan Bosnar, a native of Croatia, is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Organ Performance at the Eastman School of Music, where he studies organ with Nathan Laube and improvisation with Edoardo Bellotti and William Porter. He took his first organ lessons at Vatroslav Lisinski School of Music in Zagreb where he studied with Jasna Šumak-Picek. Following high school, he studied organ at Zagreb Music Academy with Mario Penzar and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz with Ulrich Walther. Ivan won First Prize in the Croatian Organ Student Competition in 2009, and Second Prize and Audience Prize in the University of Michigan Organ Improvisation Competition in 2016. He has appeared in several organ festivals, both in Croatia and abroad (Požega Cathedral, Zagreb Cathedral, Loretto, Graz, Pecs, Berlin). He has collaborated with the Croatian Military Symphony Orchestra and the Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra. As a church musician, he served as organist at St. Peter’s Church in Zagreb, at St. Mary’s Church in Zaprešić, Croatia, and at St. Boniface Church in Rochester, New York. He currently serves as Music Director and Organist at St. John the Evangelist Church in Spencerport, New York.

Luke Brennan is an undergraduate student at the Eastman School of Music in the studio of Professor Nathan Laube pursuing his Bachelor of Music (BM) in organ performance. Prior to matriculating at Eastman, he studied under Mr. Christopher Betts, the current Director of Music at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (Houston, Texas) and the former Organist for the Washington National Cathedral and Director of Music at the Church of the Redeemer (Bethesda, MD). Under Mr. Betts, Luke assisted during performances on the Washington National Cathedral’s grand organ, during Evensong performances, and for holiday performances by the Washington National Cathedral Choir of Men and Girls. Additionally, he performed weekly services as an Organ Scholar at Redeemer, and has played solo works and provided organ accompaniment for choirs during tours of Europe, playing at venues such as the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Mozarteum Salzburg, Chiesa di San Marco, and others. Luke earned highest Distinction when passing his Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) assessments in both organ performance and music theory. He has had the good fortune to work with artists such as Nathan Laube, Bruce Neswick, Faythe Freese, Joby Bell, Todd Fickley, Tom Bara, and others during participation in the American Guild of Organists (AGO) Pipe Organ Encounter Advanced (POE-A) in Birmingham, Alabama; at Interlochen Arts Camp; and elsewhere. Luke is also an accomplished pianist and choir singer, and was selected for Virginia All-State and Honors Choirs. In his free time, Luke enjoys hiking, biking, soccer, playing frisbee, and is a huge hockey fan.

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Oliver Brett is a doctoral student of David Higgs. Born in the UK in 1985, he was organ scholar of King’s College, Cambridge between 2004 and 2007, where he received his degree in music. In 2006, he was heard by millions worldwide when he played for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Since then, he has held positions at Westminster Cathedral, Durham Cathedral and most recently, at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, where he spent four years as Assistant Director of Music. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists before leaving high school, passing the diploma with top prizes. He has studied the organ with Sarah Baldock, Thomas Trotter, David Briggs and Dame Gillian Weir. As an accompanist and recitalist, Oliver has performed at many venues across five continents, most notably the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; the Royal Albert Hall, London; the Seoul Arts Centre in South Korea,; the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore; the Baltic States; the Festival of Sacred Music in Ecuador; as well as venues across the USA including Washington National Cathedral and St Thomas’, Fifth Avenue, NYC. As a continuo player, he has performed with ensembles such as the Philharmonia, Bitten Sinfonia, Florilegium, the Academy of Ancient Music and the Armonico Consort. Oliver has recently released his first solo organ CD, recorded on the organ of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.

Ryan Chan is currently pursuing a DMA in Organ Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of music, studying with Prof. David Higgs.  He completed his Master of Music degree in 2019 from the studio of Prof. Higgs.

A native of Hong Kong, Ryan started learning the piano at age 5 and was awarded two Performance Diplomas in Piano (Associate and Licentiate levels) from the Trinity College London by age 16.  He began formal organ lessons in high school.  In May 2017, he graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Science degree.  He was a keyboardist in the HKU Early Music Ensemble, where he studied continuo playing with Shane Levesque (Canada).  His previous organ teachers include Jennifer Chou (Australia), Anne Cheuk-bun Lam (Hong Kong) and Wong Wai-chung (Hong Kong).  Ryan has participated in masterclasses and workshops with Arvid Gast (Germany), Edoardo Bellotti (Italy), Stephen Tharp (U.S.), Christophe Mantoux (France) and Peter Westerbrink (Netherlands), among others.

Since coming to the States, Ryan has won the 2018 Poister Competition in Syracuse, received the 2018 Gerald Barnes Award for Excellence in Pipe Organ from Eastman, and performed regularly around the Rochester area.  Highlights include a full-length winner’s recital on the 1950 Holtkamp Organ in Syracuse University, a degree recital in Christ Church Rochester, and multiple recital demonstrations of the Italian Baroque Organ at the Memorial Art Gallery.  In the summer of 2019, Ryan traveled to the Netherlands and France to attend organ workshops, where he became acquainted with many Schnitger organs, French Baroque instruments and Cavaille-Coll organs.

A native of San Francisco, California, Daniel Chang is a Doctorate of Musical Arts candidate in the studio of David Higgs. He began his music studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Preparatory Department where he studied composition with Michael Kaulkin and piano with June Choi Oh. He continued his education at the San Francisco Conservatory for a B.M.A. in composition studying composition with David Conte and piano with Alla Gladysheva. After graduating from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Daniel began studying organ under the direction of Simon Berry and served as organ scholar at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in San Francisco. At Eastman Daniel was awarded the Gerald Barnes Prize and the Cochran Prize for excellence in pipe organ. Daniel was awarded Third Prize in the National Young Artist Competition in Organ Performance at the 2018 National Convention for the American Guild of Organists and was a finalist in the 2020 National Young Artist Competition. Daniel is currently director of music at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Canandaigua, New York.

Raelynn S. Clare is a Masters of Music candidate in Organ Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music. She is currently in the studio of William Porter, and previously studied organ and harpsichord with Edoardo Bellotti. She was first introduced to the art of organ playing at Whittier College, where she earned a BA in music studying organ with Orpha Ochse and Frances Nobert, and piano with Robert MacSparren. After a long sojourn, she resumed her studies in organ with Ladd Thomas and piano with Dennis Alexander and Egle Januleviciute. In pursuit of her other passion, education, she also completed her MA in Education at Azusa Pacific University. In addition to classroom teaching and maintaining a private piano studio, she was active professionally as an organist and choir director for churches in Ventura County, California. She also enjoyed directing the Ojai Handbell Ringers and collaborating with colleagues as pianist in chamber concerts and local musical productions. She was a featured soloist with the Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra performing Organ Concerto No. 1 by Joseph Rheinberger (2011) and Concerto for Organ, Harp & Strings by Howard Hanson (2013), and performed in a joint recital with organist Philip Smith, sponsored by the Los Angeles and Ventura Chapters of the American Guild of Organists (2016).

Joshua Ehlebracht is an undergraduate student at the Eastman School of Music in the studio of Professor Nathan Laube. Joshua began his musical studies when he was 6 years old on the piano, and then began taking organ lessons from Dr. Peter Nikiforuk when he was 11. Joshua is from Kitchener, Ontario in Canada and has been performing in recitals around his home town at many large churches such as Metropolitan United Church in Toronto, Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto, and St. Peter’s Lutheran church Kitchener. He is also a recurring performer in the RCCO hosted annual Phantoms of the Organ recital in Toronto, on Canada’s largest pipe organ. In 2016, he was awarded second place in the Royal Canadian College of Organist’s Fairclough Competition. Joshua, at the age of 16, was appointed music director of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church Kitchener, after many previous years of supply work around the region. In 2016, he attended the Eastman Summer Academy for High School Organists, where he had the opportunity to study with Nathan Laube and Stephen Kennedy. Joshua also had the opportunity to study with Didier Matry in 2014, at St. Augustin in Paris, France, on the grand Cavaille-Coll pipe organ.

Alessio Giacobone earned his Artist Diploma in Organ and Organ Composition at the Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella in Napoli, Italy, where he also studied piano and general composition. He has taken several master classes on early music repertoire all over Europe with world-class musicians and in 2007 he was awarded at the National Organ Competition “Città di Viterbo” (Italy). He has regularly performed across his country on prominent concert series, including “Natalis Loci” in Ravello, a world-renowned musical stage.  Alessio has also worked as an organ builder for several years: initially in his country, then in the United States, where he moved in 2015 to work with Taylor and Boody Organbuilders, a world class company known for its amazing tracker instruments, located in Staunton, VA. He has been serving as a church organist since he was 16. Currently he is pursuing his MM in Edoardo Bellotti’s studio, and is Director of Music at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Rochester, NY.
  Ryan Greene is a first year undergraduate at the Eastman School of Music pursuing his Bachelor of Music in organ performance in the studio of David Higgs. A native of South Carolina, Ryan is an inaugural member of the Organ Scholars Program at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, and has served as substitute organist at several area churches. Ryan has received many scholarships in piano and organ through local competitions. He attended the Summer Organ Academy at Eastman in the summer of 2019. This past spring, he was a winner of the national American Guild of Organists’ Young Organist Competition, Greater Columbia Chapter.
Nat at FMBC organ

Nathaniel Gumbs is a native of the Bronx, NY and is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree, studying with David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. He received the Master of Music Degree in Organ Performance from Yale University and Bachelor of Music Degree in Organ Performance from Shenandoah Conservatory. His former teachers include Martin Jean and Steven Cooksey. As a young artist, Gumbs has performed recitals throughout the United States and has played on many historic instruments in Paris and Rome with Shenandoah Conservatory and Berlin, Munich, and Leipzig with Yale Institute of Sacred Music. His playing has been described by music critics as “mature, lyrical, accurate and energetic.” Nathaniel was recently mentioned in the New York Times for playing with “deft and feeling” on his duo recording with bass-baritone, Dashon Burton. Earlier this spring, he was featured on the American Public Radio broadcasting, Pipedreams Live. Nathaniel is also a recipient of the Service Playing and Colleague Certificates from the American Guild of Organists. He is currently the Director of Music and Arts and Church Organist at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC.

Sarah Johnson is a candidate for the degree of Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music, where she studies with David Higgs.

A native of Garland, Maine, Sarah began her organ lessons with Kevin Birch, organist and music director at Saint John’s Catholic Church in Bangor, where she was recently featured as a recitalist on the 26th annual Summer Organ Concert Series. In her undergraduate degree at Vassar College she studied organ with Gail Archer, and piano with Todd Crow. Sarah holds a Master of Sacred Music from Boston University, where she studied organ with Peter Sykes.

Since beginning college, Sarah has performed in New York City at Central Synagogue, and in Boston at Old West, Trinity Copley, and Holy Name Parish. She was named an E. Power Biggs Fellow of the Organ Historical Society in 2013. Sarah was featured as a rising star and guest recitalist at the 2017 Musforum Conference in Omaha, Nebraska, and recently took part in a master class at Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.

During her time in Boston Sarah was Organ Scholar at Holy Name Parish in West Roxbury, and Assistant Librarian at the Organ Library of the American Guild of Organists. Sarah currently serves as the Organ Assistant (VanDelinder Prize Winner) at Christ Church in Rochester.

Lim Jia Yu, Anne Maria is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance with Nathan Laube. She began her music education at the age of three on the piano, and began learning to play the violin soon after. She is currently a Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music in Piano Performance, and has the ABRSM Grade 8 in both the organ and violin. Anne Maria recently completed her Diploma in Music (Piano Performance) at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, where she also took on Violin Performance as a second study and performed with the NAFA Orchestra and Project Strings.

In Singapore, Anne Maria was an Organ Scholar at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd where she accompanied weekly services and conducted the choir. As a Cathedral Organ Scholar, she conducts tours for both adults and children at its 1912 Bevington and Sons Pipe Organ. She became interested in the pipe organ two years ago and studied with Dr Evelyn Lim. Since then, she has been an active member of the Singapore Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and regularly participates in organ masterclasses, working with world-renowned artists such as Olivier Latry, Isabelle Demers, Winfried Bönig, Louis Robilliard, Jean-Baptiste Robin, Ben van Oosten, Michael Burkhardt, Jean-Pierre Steijvers, and Hiroko Inoue. She also performs and assists local and visiting organists at the Victoria Concert Hall and Esplanade Concert Hall.

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In addition to his recently awarded Artist’s Certificate, Malcolm Matthews, holds both a Master’s Degree in Organ and Harpsichord Performance and the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music.  Continuing his studies with David Higgs,  he is now in his final year pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts.  Matthews has performed in masterclasses and participated in summer programs lead by such organists as Jacques van Oortmerssen, Harald Vogel, Hans Davidsson, Ken Cowan, Joan Lippincott, and Edoardo Bellotti.  He particularly enjoys collaborative work and frequently answers calls to accompany both ensembles and soloists on a wide range of repertoire. He appeared as a soloist with the Maryville Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and Rochester’s Philharmonic Orchestra.  Currently Matthews accompanies the Schola Cantorum of Christ Church under the direction of Stephen Kennedy and students of Eastman as part of his minor in Collaborative Piano under Dr. Jean Barr.  Matthews has also discovered a passion for pedagogical work; he teaches harpsichord at the Eastman Community Music School. 

Matthews was a featured artist at the 2018 convention of the Organ Historical Society and his accomplishments include: First Place, 2013 Westfield International Organ Competition and Second Place, 2012 National Young Artist’s Competition in Organ Performance; Semi-finalist, 2016 International Bach Competition; Second Place,  2016 OSM Manulife Competition; First place, 2005 South-Eastern Region IV Young Organists Competition; and Semi-finalist, 2009 Concours international d’orgue de Lyon.

Daniel Minnick is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts  degree in Organ Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of  Music in the studio of David Higgs, having previously studied with  Nathan Laube. Daniel began piano studies at the age of 7 in Australia,  his homeland. He completed both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in  piano performance in 2013 and 2016 at Bob Jones University  (Greenville, SC). Upon completion of his master’s degree in organ at  Eastman in May of 2019, Daniel was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, a  national music honors society recognizing outstanding achievement in  both musical performance and academics. He was recently named as  one of three finalists in both the 2020 Arthur Poister Scholarship  Competition and the 2020 First Presbyterian Church National Organ  Competition (Fort Wayne, IN). In addition to his classical piano and  organ studies, Daniel also enjoys the study of theatre organ,  composition, improvisation, and working as a piano technician. In  2016, he completed the required examinations of the Piano  Technician’s Guild to attain the status of Registered Piano Technician  (RPT) within the PTG. Daniel currently serves as a class piano teaching  assistant and secondary organ instructor at the Eastman School of  Music. Daniel’s future plans include a career as a professional organist  and church musician as well as being a piano and organ teacher.

Amanda Mole is the winner of numerous international competitions, including first-prize at the 8th International Musashino-Tokyo Organ Competition (2017), first-place and audience prize at the Miami International Organ Competition (2016), and first-place at the Arthur Poister Organ Competition (2014), and John Rodland Memorial Organ Competition (2014). She was also a recipient of the Peter B. Knock Award (2014).  Since 2017, she has served as a juror for live and preliminary rounds of several organ competitions, and in 2016 she was chosen as one of The Diapason magazine’s Top 20 Under 30, a feature recognizing the most successful young artists in the field. Amanda has performed internationally at venues across the USA, Europe, and Japan. In 2015, she was a featured performer at the New Haven Regional American Guild of Organists Convention. In 2016 and 2018, she joined the roster of concert artists at both Organ Historical Society Conventions and received consistent excellent reviews in The American Organist, The Diapason, and The Tracker magazines, hailing her as a rising “star” and describing her as playing “with authority and flair.” Recently, Amanda was chosen as a featured performer for the 2020 AGO National Convention and she premiered a new solo work by Brenda Portman at the 2020 AGO Organ Festival. She has a solo recording released in March 2019 on the Naxos label and, in 2020, Amanda released a CD of trombone and organ music with Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra trombonist Lisa Albrecht and the Hohenfels trombone quartet. Her performances have been broadcast on the national radio program, Pipedreams.

Originally from Holden, Massachusetts, Ms. Mole is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree as a student of David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music. She earned her Master of Music degree in Organ Performance and Sacred Music from Yale University where she studied organ with Martin Jean and Choral Conducting with Maggie Brooks.  At Yale she was the only candidate in her class to receive the Church Music Studies Certificate for additional sacred music and theological studies.  Prior to Yale she obtained a Bachelor of Music degree with honors at Eastman, studying with William Porter.  Earlier studies were with Larry Schipull and Patricia Snyder. Amanda is represented in North America by Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc.

http://www.concertorganists.com/artists/amanda-mole/

Jacob Montgomerya native of Raleigh, NC, is a second year master’s degree candidate in the studio of David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music. Graduating from East Carolina University with degrees in both chemistry and music, Jacob received recognition as both a chemist and musician, receiving the Franklin Ritter Award for Young Chemists, The Thomas Jones Scholarship for Chemists, the Olive G. Long Memorial Scholarship for Pianists, the Clay J.H. Organ Scholar Endowed Fund, and East Carolina’s Outstanding Senior award. In 2014, he was awarded his Colleague certification from the American Guild of Organists (AGO). The previous organ scholar at Duke Chapel in Durham, NC, Montgomery worked vigorously at this epicenter of musical output, which held weekly Vespers, Evensong, and communion services. Jacob now serves as Director of Music and Organist at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY.  

Recently awarded first prize in the 19th Annual International Organ Competition of West Chester, PA, Jacob maintains an active performance calendar, appearing in recital across  North Carolina, Virginia, and New York. During his undergraduate degrees, Jacob studied under Andrew Scanlon, FAGO, Christopher Jacobson, FRCO, Dr. John O’Brien (harpsichord), and Dr. Keiko Sekino (piano), performing in masterclasses with Dorothy Papadakos, Dr. Janette Fishell, Dr. John Walker, Dr. Ann Labounsky, Dr. Kola Olowabi, and Chris Lane. Additionally, Jacob served in the lab of Dr. Anne Spuches, studying the correlation of pesticide usage with Type II diabetes, using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry techniques to analyze the composition of various mediums, including swine liver, kidney, and fat, as well as human plasma. 

 

Margaret-Mary Owens is a DMA candidate and teaching assistant for Prof. Nathan Laube at the Eastman School of Music. She graduated from the studio of Prof. Laube with her Master of Music in Organ Performance and Literature (2019) after having received her Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance at The Florida State University (2016), where she studied organ and harpsichord with Dr. Iain Quinn. As an undergraduate, Owens was research assistant to Dr. Quinn’s editions of John Goss: Complete Anthems (2015) and [Arcangelo] Corelli’s Twelve Solos [Sonatas, op. 5], arranged by C. Czerny (2015). Her own article, “The Combination of Digital Communications: Music and the Telegraph in the 19th Century” (2016), was published in The OWL, an undergraduate FSU research journal. She has participated in masterclasses led by Arvid Gast, Renée Anne Louprette, Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra, Iain Quinn, James Kibbie, and William Porter. From 2011-2013, she maintained a private piano studio, and since 2013, she has held multiple positions on the boards of both the Tallahassee and Rochester AGO chapters. Her awards include: academic scholarships from both Eastman and FSU (2013-2019), the Clarence R. Warrington Organ Scholarship (2019), an OHS Biggs Fellowship (2016), the Louise Weber Music Scholarship (2013), and first place in the 2012 Tampa AGO chapter competition. Owens assists in the coordination of the Rochester Celebrity Organ Recital Series (RCORS) and the Third Thursdays at the MAG concert series. She is currently Organist and Assistant Director of Liturgical Music at the Southeast Rochester Catholic Community in downtown Rochester.

Zhen Piao is a third-year DMA student at the Eastman School of Music, where he studies with William Porter, having previously studied with Edoardo Bellotti. Before coming to Eastman, he studied at the University of Illinois, where he received the MM degree in Piano Performance, studying with William Heiles, as well as the Artist Diploma in Organ Performance, studying with Dana Robinson. Zhen has performed in masterclasses lead by such organists as Christoph Mantoux, Stephen Tharp and Renée Anne Louprette. He enjoys working on new music for the organ and he is chosen as one of the four organists in the 2018-19 AGO Student Commissioning Project aiming to perform new compositions for the organ. Zhen is a grateful recipient of the 2015 Marcella K. Brownson Memorial Fellowship. As a performer, he is the second prize winner of the First Shanghai International Organ Competition (2017), the first prize winner of the Lynnwood Farnam Organ Competition (2019) and a semi-finalist in the IX Miami International Organ Competition (2019).

Caroline Robinson is pursuing the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance and Literature in the studio of David Higgs, having completed the Masters at Eastman in 2016. Originally from Greenville, SC, Caroline received her Bachelor of Music at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she studied with Alan Morrison. Upon being awarded a grant from the J. William Fulbright fellowship fund, Caroline spent the 2013-14 school year in Toulouse, France, where she studied at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional under Michel Bouvard and Jan Willem Jansen (organ), as well as Yasuko Bouvard (harpsichord).

Caroline holds Second Place from the National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance (NYACOP), held at the 2018 AGO Convention in Kansas City. Additionally, Caroline is the First Prize winner of the 11th Annual Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival (2008) and in the Tenth Annual West Chester University Organ Competition (2010). As a young performer, Caroline has had the opportunity to perform at several important venues, including The Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta; Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia); St. Thomas Fifth Avenue (NYC); St. Patrick’s Cathedral (NYC); Harvard Memorial Church (Cambridge, MA), and the Kauffman Center (Kansas City). She has given recitals at the 2015 AGO Region III Convention and the 2015, 2016, and 2018 OHS Conventions. In 2016, Caroline was named one of “20 Under 30” rising stars in the profession by the Diapason magazine.

Caroline currently holds the position of  Minister of Music at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Pittsford, NY. She also serves as an Executive Assistant for Outreach within Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI) and, as part of an ongoing Masters in Theory Pedagogy, teaches Aural Skills to undergraduates at Eastman. 

https://carolinerobinson.net/

Robson

Karl Robson is a doctoral student of David Higgs. He serves as the Director of Music at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Rochester, New York. In 2012, he graduated magna cum laude with departmental distinction in Church Music and Organ Performance from St. Olaf College, where he was a student of Dr. Catherine Rodland. In 2014, he earned a Master of Music in Organ Performance and Literature from Eastman. Karl is a recipient of the 2016 Ruth and Paul Manz Scholarship and the 2015 Peter B. Knock Award, as well as Eastman’s James B. Cochran Endowed Organ Prize (2016) and Gerald Barnes Award in Organ (2015).  He was a semi-finalist in the 2015 St. Alban’s International Organ Competition. He began his organ career at age 11, and previously studied with Lee Afdahl of First Presbyterian Church, Rochester (MN) and Dr. Dean Billmeyer of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. At St. Olaf, Karl served as a weekly organist for daily chapel services, worked as a Music Theory and Aural Skills teaching assistant, and sang in the St. Olaf Choir. He was honored to accompany the choir as organist on its 2011 domestic tour. At Eastman, he works as an Aural Skills teaching assistant, and teaches secondary organ. When not on the bench, Karl enjoys distance running, golfing, exploring nature (and wine) in the Finger Lakes, and watching classic film.

Ali Santos is an undergraduate student in the studio of David Higgs. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Psychology with a Minor in Piano Performance.  Ali studied piano in Virginia Beach with Mrs. Elizabeth Sjolund-Midgett from 2000-2013 and at VCU with Marta Puig and Dr. Yin Zheng, the Director of Keyboard Studies. In 2015, she received a joint scholarship with the Richmond Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Richmond, Virginia to study the organ and took organ lessons with Patricia Schrock, Director of Music at the Church of the Epiphany, and Daniel Sañez, Director of Music & Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. As the organ scholar at the Cathedral, she helped put together a student choir in 2016 and learned service playing by playing mass under the direction and guidance of Mr. Sañez. Ali served as the organist and choir director at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Hanover, VA from 2016-2019. In March 2018, she was awarded an E. Power Biggs Fellowship to attend the 2018 Organ Historical Society Convention in Rochester, New York. Ali is currently the organist and choir director at Penfield United Methodist Church in Penfield, NY.
Ivan Sarajishvili, a doctoral candidate at Eastman, was born in Tbilisi, Georgia (August 5, 1972) to a family deeply rooted in Georgian musical tradition. He started playing piano at the age of seven. After acquiring a university degree in International Law in 1994 (State University, Tbilisi), he was admitted to the Sacred Music Department of the State Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway. He also received an EU scholarship for historical performance studies at Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, graduated with bachelor in Sacred Music in 2000, Master in Sacred Music in 2002 (Oslo) and was awarded Post Master Soloist Diploma in 2004 (Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen). His interest in early music and historical performance has been permanent. Ivan has been featured as a performer several times on BBC 3. He is currently the Music Director and Cathedral Organist at Stavanger Cathedral, Norway. Having sat on the program board of Norwegian Organ Festival since 2007, he also acts as Artistic director of the Summer Festival at Stavanger Cathedral.
Shao

Jiaqi Shao is pursuing a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance and Literature in the studio of Professor David Higgs. She completed her BM degree (with distinction) in 2019 at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Prof. David Higgs. Born in 1997 in Shanghai, China, Jiaqi began studying piano at the age of four, and she has studied organ since 2011. Jiaqi was the winner of the teenage group in the Second International Electronic Organ Competition in Beijing, China in 2011, and she has participated in masterclasses with Jacques van Oortmerssen and Olivier Latry. 

At Eastman, Jiaqi performed in “Pipedreams Organ Concerts” in Rochester in April, 2016, and she received Eastman’s Gerald Barnes Award for Excellence in Pipe Organ in 2017. Jiaqi is the first-place winner of the 2017 AGO/Quimby Regional Competitions for Young Organists at Buffalo Chapter, and the first-place winner of the 2017 RCYO Regional Competition at the AGO Regional Convention in Montreal. As the winner of Northeast Region, she performed in the AGO/Quimby Rising Stars Recital in 2018 AGO National Convention at Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, MO. In July 2019, Jiaqi played the AGO Northeast Regional Convention Opening Service with Vocalis Chamber Choir, including a commissioned anthem for choir and organ by Carson Cooman (world premiere), at St. Louis Church in Buffalo. Jiaqi was a VanDelinder Fellow at Christ Church Episcopal (Rochester, NY) from 2016 to 2017, and she currently works as an organist at Rochester Christian Reformed Church in Penfield, New York. Jiaqi also enjoys reading and traveling.

Jennifer Shin is pursuing a Master’s degree at Eastman School of Music in the studio of David Higgs. She received her Bachelor of Music degree magna cum laude at the University of Michigan, where she studied with Kola Owolabi and James Kibbie. During her time in Michigan, she held the position of Organ Scholar at Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, as well as participated in the University of Michigan’s University Choir and Early Music Choir both as accompanist and singer. She has won several competitions including first place in the AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists in Seattle chapter (2015) and San Diego chapter (2013), second place in the Regional AGO/Quimby RCYO (Region IX) in 2013, and first place in the national Rodgers Organ Competition in 2012. She was also awarded the E. Power Biggs Fellowship to attend the 2016 OHS Convention in Philadelphia. She has participated in masterclasses and coachings with Alan Morrison, James David Christie, Diane Belcher, Ann Elise Smoot, Daniel Roth and Vincent Dubois, among others. 

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Jacob Taylor is a doctoral candidate studying the organ with David Higgs.  Jacob is the Assistant Organist and Choir Director at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, IN, where he assists with the intergenerational choir and choir school program.  Highlights from the 2018-2019 year included a festival evensong with guest conductor Martin Neary, a treble festival at St. James Cathedral in Chicago with Bruce Neswick and Stephen Buzard, and a performance of Bach’s St. John Passion by the St. Paul’s choir.

Previously, Jacob served as the Utech Fellow of Sacred Music at Eastman for which he helped organize the first Utech Hymnody Symposium and Festival (2017), an event dedicated to furthering the promotion and study of hymnody.  He has taught aural skills and music theory as an associate instructor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and as a teaching assistant at Eastman.  He has privately taught beginning piano lessons and currently helps train the choristers of St. Paul’s in musical skills and liturgical knowledge, following the model of the Royal School of Church Music training program Voice for Life.

Jacob is a winner of the Pogorzelski Yankee Memorial Scholarship awarded by the American Guild of Organists.  He has been broadcast on the radio program PipeDreams Live!  He has also performed as part of the Eastman Bunch on the theatre organ.

Jacob earned a master’s degree in organ from Indiana University (Bloomington) and a bachelor’s degree in organ from Wheaton College (IL).  He is a member of the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, and the Organ Historical Society.  In his free time, Jacob enjoys jogging, exploring Indianapolis, and playing Euchre.

 

 

Andrew Van Varick, of Newton, New Jersey, is a master’s candidate at the Eastman School of Music, where he studies under Professor David Higgs and accompanies the Eastman-Rochester Chorus. He holds a B.M. degree, magna cum laude, from Montclair State University, where he studied organ with Professors Vincent Carr and John Miller, piano with Professor Mark Pakman, and harpsichord with Dr. Hsuan-Wen Chen. During his time at Montclair, Andrew served as the principal student accompanist of the Montclair State University Chorale, directed by Dr. Heather Buchanan, and was organist for their performances of Dan Forrest’s Jubilate Deo and John Rutter’s Gloria. He participated as a continuo harpsichordist in the MSU Collegium Musicum, accompanied an undergraduate opera workshop, and played keyboards in the pit orchestras of multiple musical theater productions.

Andrew has performed in masterclasses with Ezequiel Menendez, Chelsea Chen, and Alan Morrison, and was a featured artist on the “Wednesdays at Noon” recital series at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey. This past spring, he attained the Colleague certification from the American Guild of Organists, and received the CAGO prize for the top score. Andrew currently serves as music director and organist at Central Park United Methodist Church in Buffalo, New York.

Bradley Vogel is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music in the studio of David Higgs. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in both Organ Performance and Composition at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory where he studied organ with Nicole Keller, and composition with Dr. Clint Needham and Dr. Jonathan Sokol. During his time at BW, Bradley performed on many occasions with the BW Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, BW Singers, as well as the BW Jazz ensemble in which he honed his skills as a jazz pianist. 

Bradley gained additional experience as a lead tuner and technician at Leek Pipe Organ Company in Berea, OH where he tuned, restored, and cared for several organs in the northern Ohio area. He now serves as Music Director at St. Mary and St. Mark’s RCP in Holley, NY.

 

 

Isaiah Williams is pursuing his Bachelor of Music (BM) in organ performance in the studio of Nathan Laube. An 11th generation native to his home town of Nantucket Massachusetts, Isaiah began studying piano at the age of 7 with Dr. Tinka Knopf de Esteban, former Associate Dean at the Peabody Conservatory, and began organ lessons at the age of 11 with Bernadette Nadeau. Since starting organ, Isaiah has played annually in the Nantucket Organ Crawl, and held the position of organist and music director at the Nantucket United Methodist Church on a historic Appleton organ for two years. During the summer of 2019, he was the Hanner Intern Organist at Unitarian Universalist Church of Nantucket, playing on a historic William Goodrich organ. Isaiah has also had opportunities to study with with Tom Bara and Robert Havery, and attended the 2016 Oberlin Summer Organ Academy and the 2017 Eastman Summer Academy for High School Organists. In his free time, Isaiah enjoys the history and nature of the northeast, and is deeply interested in languages and hand drawn animation.

 

Australian-born, Edith Yam is a second-year doctoral student in organ performance and literature at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, under the tutelage of Prof. David Higgs. Edith completed her secondary schooling at the Sydney Conservatorium High School in 2011, where she studied the organ under Philip Swanton, and several years later in 2015 she graduated with her Bachelor of Music degree (with First Class Honours), in organ performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. During these years, Edith attained her AMEB Associate and Licentiate diplomas with Distinction, awarded annual academic scholarships, won the Sydney Organ Competition, played for her own graduation ceremony, and travelled frequently to Europe for organ masterclasses in Amsterdam, Haarlem and Stade, learning from the likes of Jacques van Oortmerssen, Olivier Latry, Lorenzo Ghielmi and many others. From 2014-15, she also went on an exchange semester to the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen where she was a student of Klaus Eichhorn, received masterclasses from Harald Vogel and Hans Davidsson, had lessons on many organs by Arp Schnitger, and performed at Petri Dom and Worpswede.
 
With the support of several scholarships and prizes (including from the University of Sydney and the Australian Music Foundation), in June 2018 Edith was awarded her Master of Music degree from the Conservatorium of Amsterdam, where she studied the organ from Pieter van Dijk and Matthias Havinga, and visiting organ professor from Lyon, Louis Robilliard. For her final exam recital, Edith performed an all-Bach program on the Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger organ at the Grote Sint Laurenskerk in Alkmaar. During her studies in Europe, Edith also performed in venues all over the Netherlands (including the Waalse Kerk and Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, and Orgelpark) and played in masterclasses given by Daniel Roth and Vincent Warnier at Royaumont Abbey (France), as well as in courses by Karin Nelson, Henry Fairs and Joel Speerstra in Kongsberg (Norway).

Since arriving in the USA, she has played in masterclasses and had lessons from William Porter, Edoardo Bellotti, Renée Anne Louprette and Arvid Gast. Over the past summer in 2019, Edith travelled to Lyon and received a lesson from Louis Robilliard, and played on several French Baroque and Romantic organs in Toulouse.

 Stacey Yang Headshot

Stacey Xiaoyu Yang is a doctoral candidate in the studio of Professor David Higgs and was a Vanderlinder Fellow in liturgical music at Christ Church, Rochester, NY from 2015-2016. Since late 2016, she has been the Director of Music and Organist at the First Universalist Church, Rochester where she curates the historically significant Hope-Jones Op. 2 organ. Stacey has had the privilege of performing at a number of significant venues around the City of Rochester over the last two years.

Prior to her study in the US, Stacey received a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Science and a Master’s degree in Nursing from the University of Sydney and was appointed as both University Organ and Carillon Scholars. In Australia, Stacey studied the organ with Kurt Ison and Jennifer Chou. She holds an LTCL in organ performance and LMusA in piano performance.

In July 2016, she was selected to participate in the Royaumont Foundation summer school at Versailles on a traveling scholarship granted by the AGO Rochester Chapter. In 2017, she was granted  E. Power Biggs Fellowship by American Organ Historical Society. In addition to performances at many of Sydney’s major recital venues (such as St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Christchurch St. Laurence and the Sydney Opera House), Stacey has presented solo recitals at both St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne and Christchurch Cathedral, Newcastle. In Europe, she gave her debut recital at the Marktkirche, Wiesbaden, Germany and has also performed at Sint Martinuskerk, Overijse and Our Lady’s Basilica at Tongeren, Belgium. She presented her Asian debut in June 2016 at The Hong Kong Cultural Center Concert Hall. Her upcoming concert engagements include recitals in Atlanta, GA and Antwerp Cathedral, Belgium.

Moreover, as a carillonist, she has presented recitals at the University of Sydney, the Australian National Carillon in Canberra, the Leuven Catholic University Library Tower, the Marktkirche Wiesbaden and the Universities of Florida, Michigan and Rochester.

 Wendy Headshot
Wendy Yuen is a doctoral student in the studio of Professor David Higgs. She also coordinates the Going for Baroque, Meet Me at the MAG Demo Concert and the Third Thursday Concert Series featuring the Eastman’s Italian Baroque Organ at the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester. She is currently the Director of Music Ministry of Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church, New York.