A School Year in Review: 2013-2014


Another school year has come to an end and this one was certainly even more exciting and demanding than the last. From Russia to Ohio to New England, I have travelled, struggled, practiced, performed, competed, and studied, somehow fitting in more this year than any year before and amassing quite a few anecdotes in the process!

Fall began with a one-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe, accompanied

The final leg of the trip found me in competing in the VIII Tariverdiev International Organ Competition in Krasnoyrask, Russia, a German-influenced corner of the country that is separated from mainland Russia by Latvia and Lithuania. The experience was nothing I have ever encountered before, competing against extremely accomplished organists from a dozen other countries before a 9-person jury of distinguished, world-class organists and pedagogues. After the stressful but exhilarating first round, discovering that I was one of the seven finalists (along with the two other American competitors!) was one of the most exciting yet frightening moments of my life. Knowing that I had an hour and twenty minutes of practice time on the beautiful Kaliningrad Cathedral organ for an hour-long program certainly made me become extremely efficient when setting pistons for the final round! Performing with two video cameras was certainly another first. The opportunity to play this beautiful instrument was a reward enough. Winning third prize came as both a surprise and a thrill: to place in the first international competition in which I had ever competed was more than I could have possibly hoped, espe

January was another busy month as I spent winterterm at the Church of the Advent working again with Mark Dwyer, Ross Wood, and the truly unbelievable Advent Choir. There were many wonderful highlights of this month and I was privileged to play recitals at the Church of the Advent, at the Harvard Memorial Chapel, and at Trinity Church (Copley Square). I accompanied many anthems with the Advent Choir, the largest work being the Dallas Canticles by Herbert Howells. Mark even allowed me to conduct a few anthems!

Spring semester was far calmer than fall had been, although the amount of time that the semester's schoolwork took more than made up for my lack of travelling! Only two Cleveland-based concerts, one featuring German and the other French music, took me away from my studies. As I had already done the year’s degree recital, I was free to pursue a variety of repertoire and to focus on presenting Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Op. 48 on a 19th-century Broadwood piano for a friend’s senior recital.

All this and more happened in the span of nine months and I couldn’t have dreamed of more rewarding, exciting, and unforgettable experiences. It feels as though I learn and do more every day and I just can’t wait to see what the future has in store!

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© 2020 Katelyn Emerson.