Organ & Church Music
The history of organ and church music study at the University of Kansas is long and distinguished. From modest beginnings in 1867, it has grown into one of the largest programs in the country. With degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, exceptional facilities and instruments, and distinguished faculty, the University of Kansas offers an extraordinary educational opportunity for anyone wishing to study and pursue careers in organ performance, teaching, or church music. The University of Kansas offers the following degree programs in organ and church music:
- B.M. with an emphasis in organ performance or church music
- M.M. with a major in organ performance or a major in church music, with either a choral conducting or organ performance emphasis
- M.M. in Carillon
- D.M.A. with a major in organ performance or a major in church music, with either a choral conducting or organ performance emphasis
Specialized work in the organ curricula includes courses in the history of organ literature and design, organ pedagogy, and seminars on repertory performance practice, the history of organ building, and related topics. Specialized work in the church music curricula includes courses in service playing, the history of liturgy, anthem literature, children's choirs, bell choirs, the church and the arts, theological aesthetics, the history of church music, and hymnology.
To offer quality programs in organ and church music, an institution must make an extraordinary commitment to secure facilities, instruments, and equipment for students' regular use. The University of Kansas has made that commitment and offers exceptional opportunities to those who pursue study in these areas.
Your audition with the School of Music is crucial. It serves as an application to the Division. It is also a contributing factor in scholarship considerations. Information on audition procedures and requirement are found on the KU School of Music Auditions page.
Arrange organ scholarship auditions and repertoire (not repertory) with James Higdon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-708-1213.
Bales Organ Recital Hall
The Bales Organ Recital Hall is a facility designed for and dedicated to the teaching, rehearsal, and performance of organ music. The 198-seat hall features exceptional acoustics specially designed for the magnificent 45-stop mechanical action organ built by Hellmuth Wolff & Associés Ltée.
While the Bales Organ Recital Hall and the Hellmuth Wolff, opus 40, are the center of organ activity on the campus, many other instruments and facilities are important to the program. For many years the program has utilized a two-manual mechanical action organ built by Andover, located in the beautiful St. Lawrence Catholic Center. Other instruments and facilities include a two-manual, 7-stop mechanical action Casavant, located in a beautiful organ teaching studio in Murphy Hall; a new two-manual, 3-stop mechanical action instrument made by Daniel Jaeckel, located in the organ studio in Bales Recital Hall; a 4-stop mechanical action portable Casavant used in many performances on and off campus; and several practice instruments located in dedicated practice rooms in Murphy Hall. The Bales Organ Recital Hall contains recording equipment for the production of professional recordings.
Organists are often interested in study and performance on carillon and harpsichord. The University of Kansas' newly renovated 53 bell 4 1/2 octave carillon is one of the finest in North America, and the University owns three two-manual harpsichords made by Martin, Hubbard, and Finney. Instruction and performance opportunities are available to all students.