Organ Study | Trinity University

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Organ Study

Organ performance at Trinity is taught by David Heller, professor of music and University organist. Along with private lessons, students have opportunities to attend master classes, perform on and off campus, and participate in internships at local churches. From the Margarite B. Parker Chapel organ to organs in Germany and Mexico, organ study at Trinity leads to exceptional professional performance.

Benefits of organ study at Trinity include:

  • Lessons for all students ranging from 30 to 60 minutes each week
  • Weekly one-hour studio class
  • Opportunities to perform on and off campus
  • Full use of all practice facilities, including practice organs by Hofmann, Holtkamp, and Visser
  • Lessons and performances given on the Hofmann/Ballard/Kegg organ in the Margarite B. Parker Chapel, the largest pipe organ in South Texas
  • Teaching and practice privileges on the Wolff mechanical-action organ at Travis Park United Methodist Church in San Antonio
  • Exposure to other fine instruments in the San Antonio area by Rosales, Sipe, Visser, and Austin/Kegg
  • Participation in the Alamo Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
  • Parker Chapel Recital Series-hosted yearly recitals and master classes by national and international artists, such as Gillian Weir, Michel Bouvard, Thomas Trotter, John Scott, Marie-Madeleine Duruflé, David Higgs, James David Christie, and Carole Terry
  • Opportunities for employment and internships in local churches
  • Scholarships available from the department of music.

Organist David Heller has risen to prominence as an outstanding performer and pedagogue in the United States. The American Organist has described him as "an eloquent performer" and his playing as "an excellent demonstration of outstanding music making on a contemporary American organ." He holds degrees from Lawrence University and the Eastman School of Music, which awarded him the prestigious Performer's Certificate in Organ. His teachers have included Miriam Clapp Duncan and Russell Saunders in organ, Colin Tilney and Lisa Goode Crawford in harpsichord, and Gerre Hancock in improvisation. He has continued his post-doctoral organ study with David Craighead.

As an active recitalist, Heller has performed extensively throughout the United States and in Canada, France, Germany, Guatemala, and Mexico. As author of the acclaimed book, Manual on Hymn Playing (G.I.A. Publications), he is a frequently sought lecturer and clinician in church music skills and hymn playing. He has two CD recordings in distribution on the Calcante label: Veni Creator Spiritus (1996), and The Art of Gregorian Paraphrase (2000). Heller's recordings for the Pro Organo label are Blasts From the Century Past (2005), and ¡Bravo Grande! (2007).

Since 1986, Heller has been a member of the faculty at Trinity, serving as professor of music and University organist. His primary teaching responsibilities in the music department are in organ, harpsichord, and music theory. He has held a number of church positions in Wisconsin, New York, and Texas, and currently serves as Artist in Residence for NorthPark Presbyterian Church in Dallas while continuing his position as Visiting Artist in Residence at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.