Drop in Organ Students Worries Industry

Classic Arts News   Drop in Organ Students Worries Industry
A lack of young people studying the organ may mean that organists will be in short supply in the future, the Associated Press reports.

The number of organ students nationwide has dropped since the 1950s, and many churches have trouble finding competent musicians to play hymns and choral accompaniments, according to the AP.

Changes in the church are partly to blame, as some now use electric guitars, synthesizers and praise bands instead of the organ.

However, James Thomasower, executive director of the New York-based American Guild of Organists told the AP that some organ education programs have actually grown recently. Enrollment in organ programs was 600 in 2004, down from 906 in the 1983-84 academic year, but up from 527 in 1999-2000, according to National Association of Schools of Music data.

A potential lack of future organists hasn't daunted prominent venues such as Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, which recently unveiled the huge Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ. Olivier Latry, the organist of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, inaugurated the 7,000 pipe-instrument at a concert on May 12.

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