Organ Faculty: Timothy Olsen
Personalized instruction - Preparation for artistic and career success
Extensive performance opportunities
The UNCSA organ program includes a broad array of academic courses in addition to a rigorous professional education in music. Students enrolled in the program address a wide range of material designed to develop artistic, technical, sight-reading, ensemble and performance ability through an intensive music curriculum. High school students are prepared for the rigor of collegiate-level study and church work. Undergraduate and graduate students are prepared for careers in music performance and church music while also being prepared for graduate study. Graduate students prepare for professional careers by concentrating on music literature, pedagogy, business skills and music research.
All organ students develop confidence and skill performing before an audience through weekly private lessons and performance class. Students also work to develop and refine technical skills and interpretive techniques through the study and performance of significant works from the organ literature. A strong emphasis is placed on hymn-playing and improvisation; keyboard skills such as realizing figured bass, harmonizing melodies and transposition; major works of the 17th century; contrasting compositions of J.S. Bach, including chorale preludes, fantasias, preludes, toccatas and fugues, and trio sonatas; French and German Romantic works; and works of the 20th and 21st centuries. UNCSA undergraduate and graduate organ students are required to perform two full solo recitals and fulfill two years of a choral ensemble. High school students are required to perform a full senior recital.
UNCSA is fortunate to be able to bring in some of the leading organ recitalists and pedagogues from around the world each year. Past and future clinicians include Olivier Latry, Robert Parkins, and Marilyn Keiser, among many others.
Students have access to various instruments on- and off-campus, both for practice and for recital purposes. Organ instruction takes place primarily on the C.B. Fisk organ (Op. 75; III/) in Crawford Hall. However, occasionally, studio/master class and lessons are held on the Flentrop (III/26) organ or Holtkamp (III/50) organ at Salem College. Practice organs available to students include a variety of instruments built by Fisk, Flentrop, Holtkamp, and Walker. Other local church instruments are also available on a limited basis.
Scholarships and graduate awards are awarded based upon merit in addition to standard need-based financial aid. Prospective students are encouraged to audition in January or February in order to be considered for scholarship funds.
Graduates of the UNCSA organ program have earned top prizes in a variety of national and international competitions and frequently appear on concert stages around the world. They are found as leading teachers in higher education, arts institutions, and major church music programs nationwide. UNCSA students are regularly accepted into leading music schools and universities in the United States.
For further information or if you have questions or comments, please contact UNCSA Kenan Professor of Organ Dr. Timothy Olsen.