POE 2017

Pipe Organ Encounter 2017



Hartford AGO 2017 POE Brochure

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POE Faculty


Originally from Syracuse, NY, Susan Carroll grew up in a musical household where both of her United Methodist clergy parents nurtured and encouraged her love for music. She began studying organ and playing for church services in high school and went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music Degree from Yale University and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Susan has served churches of various denominations including Trinity Episcopal Church in Asbury Park, NJ and United Church on the Green in New Haven, CT. As an organist she has performed with the Providence Singers and South County Chamber Singers as well as organ recitals at Newman Congregational Church in Rumford, RI, Trinity Episcopal Church in Newport, RI, St. Philips Cathedral in Atlanta, GA and St. Peter’s Church in Danbury, CT. She is currently Organist and Music Associate at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford.


Dr. Faythe Freese, Professor of Organ at the University of Alabama, has performed throughout the United States, Germany, Denmark, South Korea and Singapore. Dr. Freese is the first American woman to have recorded at L’Eglise de la Sainte-Trinité, Paris on the landmark instrument where Guilmant, Messiaen and Hakim were titular organists. She was a lecturer at the 2014 American Guild of Organists National Convention in Boston, recitalist at the 2010 American Guild of Organists National Convention in Washington, D.C., and at various Regional AGO Conventions and many Pipe Organ Encounters. Dr. Freese’s performances and recordings have been hailed as “powerful …masterful… impressive … brilliant.” As a Fulbright scholar, she studied the works of Jean Langlais with the composer and the works of Max Reger with Heinz Wunderlich. She studied with Marilyn Keiser, Robert Rayfield, William Eifrig and Phillip Gehring and coached with Dame Gillian Weir, Simon Preston, and Daniel Roth. Her website is www.faythefreese.com and she is on the roster of Concert Artist Cooperative, .


The young American concert organist Christopher Houlihan has been labeled “gifted” (New York Times), “dazzling” (Wall Street Journal), and “eloquent…launch[ed on] a major career” (Los Angeles Times). He made his orchestral debut with the Hartford Symphony and recorded his first two CDs while still in college. His “Vierne2012” tour attracted international attention and critical acclaim for performing the six organ symphonies of Louis Vierne in marathon sessions in six major North American cities. The Los Angeles Times called his performance there “a major surprise of the summer, a true revelation.” He has been or is signed to be a featured performer at six conventions of the American Guild of Organists, two pre- or post- AGO convention events, and two Organ Historical Society national conventions. He is widely acknowledged as one of the brightest stars in the new generation of American organists, and has been booked to perform professionally in 43 states and the District of Columbia as well as in three other countries, and at venues such as Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, and The Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Houlihan is a graduate of Trinity College in Connecticut where he studied with John Rose, his organ teacher from the age of twelve. He did his graduate degree work at The Juilliard School in New York where he studied with the Grammy Award winning organist Paul Jacobs. He earned the “Prix de Perfectionnement” from the French National Regional Conservatory in Versailles. Since autumn 2013 Christopher has served an academic appointment as Artist in Residence at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.


Born in New York City and raised in Albany, New York, Vaughn Mauren (POE Director) began his musical career as a chorister in the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, Albany, and later at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Albany. He continued his organ studies with John Rose at Trinity College (Hartford), earning a B. A. with Honors in Music in 2007, and at the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, earning a M. M. in Organ Performance in 2009 under Martin Jean, Thomas Murray and Jeffrey Brillhart. He has performed solo organ recitals at the American Cathedral in Paris, Washington National Cathedral, St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and as a collaborate organist with Sigur Rós at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. Vaughn was named Organist and Choirmaster at St. James’s Episcopal Church, West Hartford in 2014, having previously served as Director of Music for Young at Arts and Associate Organist at Christ Church Bronxville, New York; Organist of the Episcopal Church at Yale; and Organist and Choirmaster of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. In addition to his work in the church, Vaughn served on the vocal coaching faculties of Sarah Lawrence College and Concordia College, New York, and conducted operas by Britten and Menotti, as well as several musical theater productions while at Young at Arts. He recently served as Chorusmaster for Connecticut Concert Opera’s 2015 production of Tosca, and for Opera Connecticut’s 2016 production of Hansel and Gretel. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival and on the Executive Board of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.


Since 1998, Ezequiel Menéndez has been the Director of Music at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut, a program encompassing multiple choirs, a resident orchestra (Soli Deo Gloria), and an active concert series. He co-founded Hartford Concerts for Charities, which has raised money to rebuild Sri Lanka and to benefit local charities. A native of Argentina, he graduated from the Conservatorio Gilardo Gilardi in Argentina as Professor Superior de Organo. In 1992, he received his Master of Music degree from Yale University under the tutelage of Thomas Murray. At Yale, he received the Charles Ives Scholarship and the Julia Sherman Prize for Excellence in Organ Playing. Other awards include the E. Power Biggs Fellowship and the Vivian E. Smith Scholarship. In May of 2006, he received the Doctor of Musical Art degree from Boston University, where he studied with the noted teacher and recitalist James David Christie. He remains an active recitalist, and has concertized widely throughout Europe and the Americas, including national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, The Organ Historical Society, and the National Convention of Cathedral Musicians. Dr. Menéndez has performed as soloist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Estable del Teatro Argentino, Orquesta de Camara de la Municipalidad de La Plata, and the Hartt School Symphony Orchestra.


John Rose is an American concert organist who has performed in 45 of the United States and has made a number of foreign concert tours to Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and various European countries. He is College Organist at Trinity College in Connecticut, a post he has held since 1977. In the United States he has performed at halls such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Davies Hall in San Francisco, the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and a host of other halls, churches, and campuses around the country both as recitalist and orchestral soloist. In Europe his tours have been highlighted by performances at such landmark churches as St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. He has made festival appearances in Australia, Belgium, England, Mexico, Norway, and Scotland. He has been a featured artist at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, the American Pipe Organ Builders Association, and the American Institute of Organbuilders.

He has recorded sixteen CD and LP albums, and his discography is highlighted by “The French Romantics” series which has drawn extensive radio airplay and enthusiastic critical praise. Critic Scott Cantrell called one of his albums “possibly the most exciting organ recording I’ve ever heard.” He is an elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London.

A graduate of Rutgers University, his primary organ teacher was the late virtuoso Virgil Fox, with whom he studied privately for over seven years.


Benjamin Straley is Organist and Associate Director of Music at Washington National Cathedral. Prior to this appointment, he was Organ Scholar at Trinity Church (Episcopal), New Haven, as well as Director of Music for the Episcopal Church at Yale. Upon the completion of his undergraduate studies with Marilyn Keiser at Indiana University, he entered the Yale Institute of Sacred Music in 2008, where he studied with Martin Jean and Jeffrey Brillhart. In 2010, he became one of the few Americans in the history of the Haarlem Organ Festival invited to compete in its world-renowned contest in improvisation. He holds both Masters in Music and Divinity from Yale, as well as a Diploma in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School.


Philip Stopford began his musical career as a Chorister at Westminster Abbey under the direction of both Simon Preston and Martin Neary. After winning a major Music Scholarship to Bedford School, he became Organ Scholar at Truro Cathedral, the original home of the Nine Lessons and Carols Service, playing the organ for services and taking probationer chorister rehearsals. Whilst in Truro, Philip composed a setting of the Responses which later won the Federation of Old Choristers’ Composition Prize. He also played the organ for the wedding of the Organist and Master of the Choristers, Andrew Nethsingha. Philip went on to Oxford University to study music at Keble College, where he was also Organ Scholar. At Keble, he was responsible for recruiting and directing the Chapel Choir, and made two recordings. Lux Mundi (light of the world) was followed by one volume of the Priory series Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. Philip also directed performances of the St John Passion and B Minor Mass, and the chamber choir Musica Beata.

In 1999 to 2000 Philip was appointed Organ Scholar at Canterbury Cathedral, working with David Flood and Timothy Noon, and then moved to Chester Cathedral as Assistant Organist, and then to St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, Northern Ireland, as Director of Music. Philip now serves as Director of Music at Christ Church Bronxville, New York, and continues to work as a freelance composer and conductor. The Choir of Truro Cathedral have recorded a CD of Philip’s music entitled Do not be afraid. His music has also appeared in the prestigious Classic FM Hall of Fame in 2013 and 2014.

TrafkaWilliam Trafka has been the Director of Music and Organist of St. Bartholomew’s Church, NYC, since 1995. His responsibilities include conducting St. Bartholomew’s Choir and St. Bart’s Singers. Additionally, he is the Artistic Director of the Mid-Manhattan performing Arts Foundation, overseeing the programming of Great Music at St. Bart’s, a series of concerts of choral, organ and chamber music which take place in both the church and the chapel. He also programs and conducts St. Bartholomew’s annual Summer Festival of Sacred Music, a 13-week series of great sacred choral music sung as part of the 11 AM service each Sunday during the summer. At St. Bart’s, he has conducted the premières of several works including David Conte’s September Sun and Missa Brevis, James MacMillan’s Since it was the day of preparation (New York City première) and Herbert Howells’ Hymnus Paradisi (New York City première of the orchestral version) as well as works by ?riks Ešenvalds and Neely Bruce. As an organist, he has held church positions since he was 11 years old. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he was awarded the Performer’s Certificate in organ performance. His teachers have included David Craighead for organ, Roger Wilhelm for choral conducting and J. Melvin Butler for church music. He has performed on concert series throughout the US and Germany and has also performed with the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra and the Fairfield Academy of Period Instruments. He has also served on the faculty of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ as Adjunct Professor of Sacred Music.


Natasha Ulyanovsky (pianist, organist and conductor) is a graduate of the Odessa Conservatory, of the former U.S.S.R., with further music studies at the Moscow Conservatory, at Speyer Cathedral, Germany and at Queen’s College, Oxford. Before emigrating from the U.S.S.R. in 1989 Ms. Ulyanovsky was an orchestra artist and vocal coach at Odessa Opera House, concert pianist and organist with Moscow Soyuzconcert, the state concert management for professional musicians. In 1980 Mrs. Ulyanovsky became a chief organist at Pitsunda Hall of the Abkhazian Republic, where she earned a title of Honored Artist in1988. Mrs. Ulyanovsky also concertized in Hungary, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Lithuania, and throughout New England. In 2004 she appeared in the program Two Nations-One Love at Carnegie Hall, NY. She is the co-founder of Alla Breve Opera & Consort company. Since 1999 she is has held the position of Music Director at Beth Israel Congregation of West Hartford, CT and has been on the faculty of Hartt School since 2002. She has been honored in 2011 by the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition for outstanding contributions to the community.

StaffordWinner of the 2016 $40,000 Pierre S. DuPont First Prize at the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition, Joshua Stafford is already in demand as a recitalist, improviser, and choral accompanist, performing at many notable venues including the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Ocean Grove Auditorium in New Jersey, the Chautauqua Institution in New York, and Spivey Hall in Georgia. His recital at the 2015 Conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians was hailed as “technically flawless yet exceptionally nuanced and spontaneous.” Joshua has appeared with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra, and recordings of his performances have been aired on MPR’sPipedreams and WRTI’s Wanamaker Organ Hour.

A native of Jamestown, New York, Mr. Stafford received the bachelor of Music Degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2010 as a scholarship student of Alan Morrison. In 2012 he received his Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music as a student of Thomas Murray (organ performance) and Jeffrey Brillhart (organ improvisation). Joshua was the recipient of both a full-tuition scholarship and the Robert Baker Award, given to a first year organ student who exhibits exceptional promise and achievement in their field of study.

Joshua Stafford is the Director of Music at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, New Jersey, where he conducts an RSCM-based program with choirs of boys, girls, and adults. The chorister program is paired with an after-school outreach program for the city’s underserved children, offering excellent music education at no cost.

Joshua Stafford is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.