B i o g r a p h y
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 such illustrious locations 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), St. Petri Kyrka (Göteborg, 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 and inauguration performances at churches that include Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and Trinity Wall Street (both in New York, 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). 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 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, 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'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, and Radio Présence Toulouse, France.
Photograph by Rosen-Jones Photography
Recently based in Stuttgart, Germany, Katelyn was awarded a German Academic Exchange Scholarship (DAAD) for her Master’s Degree in Organ at the Musikhochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, which she received in 2020. Recipient of the prestigious J. William Fulbright Study/Research Grant, Katelyn studied organ en perfectionnement at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional in Toulouse, France for the 2015-2016 academic year with Michel Bouvard, Jan Willem Jansen, and Yasuko Uyama-Bouvard. In May 2015, she graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory (Oberlin, OH) with double bachelor's degrees in organ performance and French as well as with minors in music history and historical performance (fortepiano). 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. Katelyn began her organ studies in 2005 through a scholarship of the Young Organist Collaborative (Portsmouth, New Hampshire). She has studied with Ludger Lohmann, Olivier Latry, Hans-Ola Ericsson, James David Christie, Marie-Louise Langlais, Ray Cornils, and Dr. Abbey Hallberg-Siegfried. She has also studied organ improvisation with Jeffrey Brillhart, Marie-Louise Langlais, and Bálint Karosi, piano with Arlene Kies, fortepiano with David Breitman, both harpsichord and continuo with Webb Wiggins, flute with Trisha Craig, and voice with Ellen Hargis.
In addition to teaching privately, Katelyn has served on the faculty 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 various juries for recent national organ repertoire 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. She was invited to present workshops on recently published organ music for church services in the 2013 Regional Convention of the AGO (Hartford, Connecticut) Regions I & II, and the 2015 Northeastern Regional Convention of the AGO (New Haven, Connecticut). She is
Photograph by Julianne Turé
associate editor of the online editorial journal Vox Humana (voxhumanajournal.com), a regular contributor of feature articles for the UK's Choir & Organ magazine, and has served on the Executive Committee of the Boston Chapter of the AGO. She continues to serve 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.
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. In January 2012, Katelyn served as the Oberlin Sacred Music Intern under music director Keith Tóth at the Brick Presbyterian Church (New York, New York), where she subsequently substituted for Mr. Tóth for the months of July from 2012 through 2015.
Updated: 5 February 2021
Katelyn Emerson's North and Central American appearances are managed by Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc.,