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Biography

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 14th—21st centuries with “impressive technical facility and musicianship” (Cleveland Classical). Upcoming and past recital venues include Musiikkitalo (Helsinki, Finland), Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles, California), Hallgrímskirja (Reykjavik, Iceland), Auditorio Nacional de Música (Madrid, Spain), Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic Hall (Russia), Cathédrale Saint-Omer (France), Kurhaus Wiesbaden (Germany), Cathédrale St-Quentin (Hasselt, Belgium), Basílica de Santa Maria de Montserrat (Spain), York Minster (England), Hauptkirche St. Petri (Hamburg, Germany), Riverside Church (New York), Västerås Cathedral (Sweden), Longwood Gardens (Pennsylvania), Musashino Civic Cultural Hall (Japan), Cadet Chapel (West Point, New York), Basilika St. Lambertus (Düsseldorf, Germany), Benaroya Hall (Seattle, Washington), and Merrill Auditorium (Portland, Maine), among others, as well as inaugural performances at churches that include St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and Trinity Wall Street (both New York).
Prizewinner of competitions on three continents, Katelyn garners acclaim from listeners new to classical music and audiences of organ aficionados and colleagues alike 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). Having been awarded 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 having given over 70 concerts throughout the United States and Europe in the intervening two years. She received the Second Jean Boyer Award in the 2014 Fifth International Organ Competition "Pierre de Manchicourt" (Béthune and Saint-Omer, France), the second prize of the 2015 Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition (Syracuse, New York), and the third prize of the VIII Musashino International Organ Competition (Tokyo, Japan). Katelyn was awarded the title of “Laureate” and Third Place, as well as recital prizes, when competing as the youngest finalist in the VIII Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition (Kaliningrad, Russia). Winner of the 2011 Region V AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists (Lexington, Kentucky), she has also received numerous scholarships for her musical and academic work, including the 2013 M. Louise Miller Scholarship and the 2015 McClelland Community Music Foundation Scholarship. Katelyn was selected as part of the inaugural "20 under 30 - Class of 2015" for The Diapason magazine, a group of "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
Katelyn Emerson inside the Fisk organ at Oberlin College's Finney Chapel

Photograph by Rosen-Jones Photography

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 are regularly 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 Emerson at the Fisk organ console of Oberlin College's Finney Chapel

Between travels for performances, Katelyn is based in both the USA and the UK, pursuing a PhD at the University of Cambridge's Centre for Music and Science as recipient of 1+3 Studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership (ESRC DTP) and a Bursary from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Katelyn holds a Master of Arts in organ from the Musikhochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (Stuttgart, Germany), supported by a German Academic Exchange Scholarship (DAAD), and, having been awarded a prestigious J. William Fulbright Study/Research Grant, Katelyn studied organ en perfectionnement at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Toulouse (France) with Michel Bouvard and Jan Willem Jansen. 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). During her time at Oberlin, she taught music theory at the Oberlin Community Music School, received the Selby Harlan Houston prize for distinguished work in organ and music theory, and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honors society. Other scholarships to support her musical and academic work have included the 2015 McClelland Community Music Foundation Scholarship, the 2013 M. Louise Miller Scholarship, and a 2005 Young Organist Collaborative scholarship, which funded her first year of organ study (Portsmouth, New Hampshire). Her teachers have included Ludger Lohmann, Olivier Latry, Hans-Ola Ericsson, James David Christie, Marie-Louise Langlais, Ray Cornils, and Abbey Hallberg-Siegfried. She has studied organ 

improvisation with Jeffrey Brillhart, Marie-Louise Langlais, and Bálint Karosi, piano with Arlene Kies, fortepiano with David Breitman, and both harpsichord and continuo with Webb Wiggins.

In addition to teaching privately, Katelyn regularly serves on the faculties of organ academies around the world, which have included the St. Andrews Organ Academy (Scotland, UK), McGill Student Organ Academy (Montréal, Canada), Oberlin Summer Organ Academy (Ohio, USA), and numerous AGO-sponsored Pipe Organ Encounters. She is frequently invited to join juries for national and international 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 around the USA and UK. Katelyn has previously held posts as 
Katelyn Emerson conducting the choir at the Church of the Advent in Boston

Photograph by Julianne Turé

Please contact Katelyn directly if you need a biography of any other length for publicity or concert programs

Katelyn Emerson's North and Central American appearances are

managed by Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc., www.concertorganists.com

For concerts in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere, please contact Katelyn directly using the contact form on this website.

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