The graduate organ program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a small, intimate program where you can pursue your passion for music while being prepared with a breadth of skills for a life as a professional musician – on the stage, in the church and beyond.
Immersion in the conservatory environment means you will have weekly private lessons with your major teacher, which allows for a highly individualized approach to your studies. You will also attend weekly performance classes, where you will build confidence and skill performing in front of an audience. Your curriculum will have a strong emphasis on hymn-playing and improvisation, along with major works from the 17th through the 21st centuries. Guest lecturers and performers include some of the leading organists and organ instructors in the world.
As a graduate organ student at UNCSA, you will have access to some of the best historic instruments in Winston-Salem. Your organ instruction takes place primarily on the C.B. Fisk organ (Opus 75; III/) in Crawford Hall, although there are four organs on campus. A partnership with Salem Collegemeans you will also have occasional master classes on the instruments there, particularly the Flentrop (III/26) or Holtkamp (III/50) organs.
The city of Winston-Salem has a rich culture of the organ and many active, avid supporters. Because of this appreciation, you will have access to historic instruments in local churches and have ample opportunities to perform. Connections in Lockport, New York and St. Augustine, Florida also provide students the opportunity to travel with all expenses paid to perform recitals, and internships are available at places like Duke University and Augsburg Lutheran Church in Winston-Salem. You may also have the opportunity to study abroad in Europe with your peers.
Master of Music
In pursuing your graduate organ degree at UNCSA, you will be part of a program that fosters excellence and allows you to take your music to the next level, preparing you for life as a professional musician. As a graduate student, you will participate in all departmental juries and perform two recitals, one in Year One and a second in Year Two. In addition to private lessons and master classes, you will also take Career Strategies courses that strengthen skills needed in the professional world, like those for auditions, entrepreneurship, recording, and portfolio preparation.
Professional Artist Certificate
If you already have a graduate degree, you may also choose to pursue a Professional Artist Certificate. This post-master’s program is designed to advance your career potential as a young professional organist. If you are interested in independent studies offered through this program, you are encouraged to propose a one or two-year course of study that is tailored to your interests and experience.
Graduates of the organ program at UNCSA have gone on to work as church musicians and instructors, and many have pursued advanced degrees at prestigious institutions like the Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Westminster Choir College, Oberlin Conservatory, University of North Texas, and Lincoln Cathedral in England.