Katelyn Emerson

Organist, lecturer, and pedagogue Katelyn Emerson, hailed as “one of the world’s most promising organists” (Listvinafélag Hallgrímskirkju [Iceland]), is internationally renowned for performances throughout North America, Europe, and Asia that are “thrilling from beginning to end” and that showcase repertoire from the 14th21st centuries with “impressive technical facility and musicianship” (Cleveland Classical). Upcoming and past recital venues include as Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles, California), Hallgrímskirkja (Reykjavík, Iceland), Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic Hall (Russia), Cathédrale Saint-Omer (France), Kurhaus Wiesbaden (Germany), the Basilica of Santa Maria de Montserrat (Spain), Cathédrale St-Quentin (Hasselt, Belgium), Hauptkirche St. Petri (Hamburg, Germany), the Cathédrale Poitiers (France), Västerås Cathedral (Sweden), Bradford Cathedral (England), Musashino Civic Cultural Hall (Japan), the Riverside Church (New York, New York), Benaroya Hall (Seattle, Washington), Merrill Auditorium (Portland, Maine), Severance Hall (Cleveland, Ohio), among others.

Prizewinner of competitions on three continents, Katelyn garners acclaim from audiences ranging from those new to classical music to colleagues and organ aficionados for her “beautifully designed program[s]” (Orgue Canada), “refreshingly original and interesting” program notes (The Diapason), and “careful ear and sense of musicality that puts her at the top of recitalists performing today” (Journal of American Organbuilding). After winning first prize in the American Guild of Organists’ (AGO) 2016 National Young Artists’ Competition in Organ Performance (Houston, Texas), the Guild’s premier performance competition, Katelyn performed at the 2018 National Convention of the AGO in Kansas City (Missouri) after giving over 70 concerts throughout the United States and Europe in the intervening two years. She has received other top prizes from the Fifth International Organ Competition “Pierre de Manchicourt” (Béthune and Saint-Omer, France), the Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition (Syracuse, New York), the VIII Musashino International Organ Competition (Tokyo, Japan), and VIII Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition (Kaliningrad, Russia). She has also received numerous scholarships for her musical and academic work, including the M. Louise Miller Scholarship and the McClelland Community Music Foundation Scholarship, and was selected as part of the inaugural “20 under 30 – Class of 2015” for The Diapason magazine, which “recognizes young talents in the fields of organ and harpsichord performance, organ and harpsichord building, carillon, and church music” who show “superior accomplishments, leadership, creativity, and innovative thinking.” Katelyn’s two CD recordings appear on the Pro Organo label: Evocations (2017), featuring the historic 1936 Aeolian-Skinner organ at the Church of the Advent (Boston, Massachusetts) and Inspirations (2018), sponsored by the Andover Organ Company in honor of their 70th anniversary and recorded on their Op. 114 at Christ Lutheran Church (Baltimore, Maryland). Her interviews and performances have been heard on such radio programs as Radio Russia, American Public Media’s Pipedreams, WXXI-FM’s With Heart and Voice, Radio VM’s Récit au grand orgue, Québec, Canada, and Radio Présence, Toulouse, France.

Katelyn was awarded a German Academic Exchange Scholarship (DAAD) for her Master Orgel at the Musikhochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (Stuttgart, Germany), which she received in 2020, after which she returned to be based in the USA. Recipient of the prestigious J. William Fulbright Study/Research Grant, Katelyn studied organ en perfectionnement at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional in Toulouse, France, with Michel Bouvard, Jan Willem Jansen, and Yasuko Uyama-Bouvard. She holds double bachelor’s degrees in organ performance and French as well as minors in music history and historical performance (fortepiano) from Oberlin College and Conservatory (Ohio). Katelyn has also studied with Ludger Lohmann, Olivier Latry, Hans-Ola Ericsson, James David Christie, Marie-Louise Langlais, Ray Cornils, and Dr. Abbey Hallberg-Siegfried. 

In addition to teaching privately, Katelyn has served on the faculties of the St. Andrews Organ Academy (Scotland), the McGill Student Organ Academy (Montréal, Canada), numerous AGO-sponsored Pipe Organ Encounters throughout the United States, and the Oberlin Summer Organ Academy (Ohio), and has been invited to join the juries of recent national organ interpretation and church music competitions and scholarships. Having received a Certificate in Advanced Occupational Ergonomics from Colorado State University, she regularly presents masterclasses and lectures on healthy practice techniques, organ interpretation, and sacred music for AGO-sponsored events and at universities in the USA and UK. 

Katelyn was Associate Organist & Choirmaster at the Church of the Advent (Boston, Massachusetts) from 2016-2018, where she worked with the professional Choir of the Church of the Advent, the volunteer Parish Choir, and the historic Aeolian-Skinner organ. From 2010-2015, Ms. Emerson was music director of St. Paul Lutheran Church (Amherst, Ohio) where she oversaw all musical aspects of the liturgy while working with the adult and bell choirs. She is associate editor of the online editorial journal Vox Humana (voxhumanajournal.com) and a regular contributor of feature articles for the UK’s Choir & Organ magazine. She serves on the Membership Committee of the Organ Historical Society and as a board member of the European Chapter of the AGO. She holds professional memberships in the Association of Anglican Musicians, the American Musicological Society, and the Organ Historical Society.

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