Damin Spritzer, Organ
Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, 7 p.m.
Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica
After an appointment as Visiting Professor of Music for the Fall of 2014, Dr. Damin Spritzer has been full-time Assistant Professor of Organ at the University of Oklahoma with the American Organ Institute since Fall of 2015. She continues to work with the Cathedral Church of Saint Matthew in Dallas as Artist-in-Residence for Cathedral Arts, and was recently Adjunct Professor at the University of North Texas teaching Organ Literature and Sacred Music. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Leupold Foundation, dedicated to the preservation of pipe organ music and culture, and is active in the Dallas and Southern Plains Chapters of the American Guild of Organists in various roles.
Her performances have spanned several continents and included historic churches and instruments such as the Nicolaikirche in Leipzig, Germany; Sainte-Croix in Orléans, France; at Igreja Nossa Senhora de Fátima and Paróquia Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem in Sao Paolo, Brazil; the La Verna Festival in Italy; four performances with the Terra Sancta Festival in Israel; Methuen Memorial Music Hall in Massachusetts; New York City at St. Patrick’s Cathedral; with Aaron David Miller at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina; the University of Houston 2012 Conference on Historical Eclecticism: Organ Building and Playing in the 21st Century; and numerous additional performances throughout the United States, including the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, the Big XII Trombone Conference in Lubbock, and the 2017 International Trombone Festival in Redlands, California.
René Louis Becker (1882-1956) was the topic of her doctoral dissertation. She edits a continuing multi-volume critical edition of Becker’s organ music for Wayne Leupold Editions, which will presently market her monograph on the composer, and in 2016 she gave a lecture at the American Guild of Organists National convention presenting the first volume of that series. She was a featured artist at the AGO Regional Convention in Austin, TX, in July of 2013, giving both a recital and a separate lecture on Becker's life and music. In October of 2011 she was a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan 51st Annual Conference on Organ Music to speak about Becker, and gave a similar lecture and performance about his music in Louisville, KY, in May of 2012.
Her third and fourth CDs for Raven Recordings were released in 2017. The third volume of her series on the music of R. L. Becker was recorded in April on the historic Kimball organ of St. John’s Cathedral and was released in July. It received a 4-star review from Choir & Organ magazine and a glowing review from the American Record Guide. The fourth recording, “Fantasia,” was a collaborative project with Dr. Donald Pinson, trombone, recorded in Dallas, Texas, at St. Monica Catholic church, and released in November of 2017.
Spritzer’s first two discs for Raven Recordings are world premier discs of Becker’s music in France. The first was recorded in Pithiviers, France, in 2010 at the newly renovated historic Cavaillé-Coll organ of the church of Saint-Salomon-Saint-Gregoire de Pithiviers. Choir & Organ magazine gave it five stars, writing that “Damin Spritzer serves both instrument and music well, alert to the music’s lyrical mien and harmonic muscle, negotiating the III/49 machine with an easy command of drama and a real feeling for Becker’s melody-led, cleanly-executed music…A second volume is eagerly awaited.” The AAM Journal wrote, “The music comes alive under her touch!...This recording is a delight...” And a review from Classical Music Sentinel praised the recording, saying “…Damin Spritzer drives the music along with plenty of forward momentum which adds a singing quality to the melodic lines and an assured rhythmic movement to the toccatas and marches...the final glorious chord of the Marche Triomphale will make you glad you’re alive.”
Her second volume of Becker’s organ music was recorded in Orléans, France, in April of 2013 at the Cathédrale Sainte-Croix d'Orléans. It received four stars from Choir & Organ and the praise: “This second installment in Damin Spritzer’s enterprising rehabilitation of the prolific but largely-unknown [Becker] comes…three years after the first volume. Happily, it’s been worth the wait.” And the American Record Guide adds: “Spritzer is to be commended for her commitment and dedication to this music. She gives spirited and vigorous performances on the magnificent 1880 Cavaillé-Coll organ in Orléans, France….the recorded sound is outstanding.”
Dr. Spritzer has been heard on Michael Barone’s nationally-syndicated “Pipedreams®” radio broadcast on programs including: Historical Eclecticism in Houston, Prayers and Alleluias, Twenty-Somethings, Merriment at the Meyerson, and “Pipedreams: Live!” performances at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas, in 2005, and at Saint Michael and All Angels in November of 2014. Tracks from her first CD for Raven have also been broadcast on With Heart and Voice® out of Rochester, New York (program 1309, Psalms of Lament, Psalms of Reflection), on RVM radio in Montreal, Quebec, in the Netherlands on HET ORGELUUR op GROOTNIEUWSRADIO 1008 AM, in interview and broadcast on the Catholic Channel, SiriusXM 129, radio talk and music show, Sounds from the Spires, with Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York, and on WRR 101.1 in Dallas, Texas.
She received her doctorate from the University of North Texas, her Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music, and her Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.