While I was a student, some of my best memories come from being able to take short courses where I could immerse myself in a topic. These often involved travel and allowed me to work with a new teacher and new instruments. One of my dreams has been to organize a course and invite the teachers that I’ve wanted to work with to come to me. While I won’t get to do that this summer, I would like your feedback in order to plan a workshop for next summer. If you would like to come to Baltimore and the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen for a workshop next summer, please complete my survey here.
During this summer, there are several different workshops with improvisation instruction. Listed below are the ones that I am aware of. If you know of others, please email me or share them in the comments so that I can add them to the website.
- McGill Summer Organ Academy – July 20-30 in Montreal, Canada includes a two-week course by Sietze de Vries.
- Church Music Institute of Shenandoah Conservatory – Two weeks (June 14-19 and June 21-26) in Winchester, Virgina. Week 1 includes improvisation classes with Maurice Clerc; Week 2 includes Bruce Neswick.
- London Organ Improvisation Course – July 6-9 in London, England. The guest tutor will be Pascal Reber of Strasbourg Cathedral.
- Classical Music On The Spot – July 6–10 at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York covers 18th-century repertoire and improvisation skills. Knowledge of figured bass is required.
- Jehan Alain Society: 47th Organ and Improvisation Course – July 12–26 in Romainmôtier, Switzerland. Three 2-day sessions on the IV/45 restored Alain family organ, and one week of improvisation. Led by Montserrat Torrent (Spain), Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini (Italy) and Guy Bovet (Switzerland).
- Organ Academy in Saessolsheim (Alsace, France) – July 22-29 In addition to repertoire, Freddy Eichelberger and Francis Jacob will also wok on improvisation.
This summer is also when the American Guild of Organists holds regional conventions. I’m sure there will be some improvisation workshops at some of these events, and for the first time NCOI will hold the first rounds at the Charlotte regional.
I received word yesterday that McNeil Robinson has passed away. I was very fortunate to have taken some lessons with him while I lived in Albany. While I never had the intensive experience of being one of his students full-time, he was an absolute master that I greatly admired. Sadly, I know of very few recordings of his improvisations, but there is a two-part concert improvisation posted on YouTube here (part 1 and part 2). He will be greatly missed.
Hoping we can all learn to improvise as well as he did,
Recent additions to organimprovisation.com: