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Department of Organ


Organ, harpsichord, carillon and sacred music


The faculty of the Department of Organ, eminent performers and scholars with a broad range of specializations, share a profound commitment to teaching. The department is rich in resources to prepare gifted musicians for professional careers as organists, church musicians, harpsichordists and carillonneurs. This well-rounded career preparation includes development of artistry, technique, scholarly research, and the ability to play music of all periods with integrity and knowledge of specific performance practices. The Department of Organ is internationally known for developing talent - a reputation evidenced by the number of its graduates now enjoying careers as recitalists, university professors, and music directors of large churches.



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Studies in improvisation enable students to develop their personal voices as musicians and add breadth to their work as church musicians and performers. A graded curriculum in church music exposes students to many musical genres reflecting diverse cultures and liturgical traditions.


Both solo and continuo playing are emphasized for harpsichord students, who will also build a strong foundation in historical performance practice. Other early music opportunities include Renaissance choir, Baroque chamber orchestra and a wide variety of chamber music experiences.


Carillon students explore the many and various purposes of bells while preparing for regular performances on the two carillons on the U-M campus.




James Kibbie (Chair, University Organist)

Joseph Gascho (harpsichord, early music)

Marilyn Mason (emerita)

Kola Owolabi (organ, improvisation, sacred music)



Associated Faculty

Vincent Dubois (Continuing Visiting Artist)
Jerroll Adams (University Organ Technician)


SMTD logo for newsSMTD Receives Quick Win/Discovery Grant for Cultural Entrepreneurship Project

University grant will support program to help performing arts students develop entrepreneurial skills in the transformed cultural landscape of the 21st century. more

image for Organ Doctoral Student Earns Graduate Music Award
Organ Doctoral Student Earns Graduate Music Award

Kipp Cortez has been named the recipient of the 2015 Presser Foundation Graduate Music Award.  more

See more department news

image for U-M selects Sphinx’s founder as new dean of School of Music, Theatre & Dance
U-M selects Sphinx’s founder as new dean of School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Aaron Dworkin, recognized internationally for his leadership and advocacy of diversity in the performing arts, will serve as dean of the SMTD beginning July 20, 2015.  more

Joseph Balisteri (left) and Colin Knapp (right)
Two U-M Organ Alumni Selected for "20 Under 30" Award

U-M Organ alumni Joseph Balisteri and Colin Knapp were selected as winners of the inaugural "20 Under 30" award by The Diapason magazine.      more



image for Renovated E.V. Moore Building Opening CelebrationRenovated E.V. Moore Building Opening Celebration

Friday, September 18 - 7:00pm
Earl V. Moore Building
Free - no tickets required

image for Brown Bag Organ Recital Series: Tom Kean, St. Francis of AssisiBrown Bag Organ Recital Series: Tom Kean, St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, September 23 - 12:15pm
Thomas Francis Jr. School of Public Health Building, Community Room
Free - no tickets required

Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner organ, Hill Auditorium
Fisk organ, Blanche Anderson Moore HallLétourneau organ, Community RoomOrgan studio 2102Organ Studio 2110Hill Auditorium consoleItalian positiv, Stearns CollectionLurie Tower bell chamberFranco-Flemish harpsichord after Ruckers by William Dowd
"The U of M Organ Department encourages each organist to pursue the music which sparks her or his musical passion, offering scholarly guidance and access to the great resources only provided by a world-renowned performing faculty."
Joseph Balistreri, Master of Music student in Organ Performance, 2011

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower