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Profiles

  • Dr. med. Immanuel Lehmann, Physician and Organist (1676 - bef.1719)
    Brought up as a church minister's son and grandson, Immanuel Lehmann studied medicine but was an active organist. he was a personal friend of the famous organ builder Gottfried Silbermann. Having met h...
  • Bonnie J Goodliffe
    A Temple Square organist since 1979, Bonnie Goodliffe has an extensive background in organ performance, music theory, and composition. She studied piano and organ at the San Francisco Conservatory of M...
  • John Jasper McClellan (1874 - 1925)
    Mormon Tabernacle Organist 1900 - 1925. He was also pianist and Director of the Salt Lake Opera Company.John was born in Payson, UT. He organized the custom of giving free daily recitals at the Taberna...
  • Esther Rebecca Sharp (1864 - 1941)
    Reference: Find A Grave Memorial - SmartCopy : May 2 2018, 3:52:20 UTC
  • Joseph John Daynes (1851 - 1920)
    Son of John Frederick Nicholas Daynes and Eliza Miller. He was the first Mormon Tabernacle organist appointed by Brigham Young at the age of 16. He served as organist at the Tabernacle from 1867 - 1900...

An organist is a musician who plays any type of organ. An organist may play solo organ works, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers or instrumental soloists. In addition, an organist may accompany congregational hymn-singing and play liturgical music.

The majority of organists, amateur and professional, are principally involved in church music. The pipe organ still plays a large part in the leading of traditional western Christian worship, with roles including the accompaniment of hymns, choral anthems and other parts of the worship. The degree to which the organ is involved varies depending on the church and denomination. It also may depend on the standard of the organist. In more provincial settings, organists may be more accurately described as pianists obliged to play the organ for worship services; nevertheless, some churches are fortunate to have trained organists capable of more elaborate "voluntaries" (the solo music before, during and after the service) and improvisation. As most churches can afford to employ only one musician, the organist is usually also responsible for directing and rehearsing the choir(s). In the twentieth-century, many pipe organs were replaced by pipe-less electronic and digital organs, often as a low-cost alternative to rebuilding older pipe organs.

In the English cathedral tradition the organist is now generally called "Director of Music", although his or her function is mainly in the training and direction of music rather than actual playing; there will generally be one or more assistant or sub-organists who play for most services and some recitals. Sometimes the organist will be assisted by an organ scholar. The post of organist at most of the great cathedrals includes recital work and choral training. Another function of an organist is often as teacher to future players. Few organists hold historically special positions such as Carol Williams who is the Civic Organist of San Diego, the last true Civic Organist position still active in this the USA. The concert organist Frederik Magle in Koncerthuset, Copenhagen

Since the strengths and weaknesses of the organ are difficult to understand without a good deal of playing experience, most music composed for organ has been written by organists. Since the majority of pre-twentieth-century organs were installed in churches, classical organ literature was almost exclusively written for liturgical use.

Many composers, therefore, are equally known for their performance talents, some historical examples being Johann Sebastian Bach, Dieterich Buxtehude, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, César Franck, Camille Saint-Saëns, Charles-Marie Widor, Louis Vierne, and Marcel Dupré. In Europe, the historical importance of churches as employers of musicians meant that many composers who now are very seldom remembered for their association with the organ were, nevertheless, engaged as professional organists: for example, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Edward Elgar.

Scope of project

This project is for church and classical organists as well as composers of organ music. Place other organists here as well. However if you so desire, please consider making sub-projects of any kind such as jazz organists, Theatre organists, or popular organists.

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