Organ Festival

David Briggs:
“Mr. Briggs is one of our finest organists, and also a particularly
good transcriber of orchestral works for his own instrument. “ The New York Times
David Briggs is an internationally renowned organist whose performances are acclaimed for their musicality, virtuosity, and ability to excite and engage audiences of all ages. Consistently ranked as
one of the finest organists of his generation, David’s extensive repertoire spans five centuries. He has also become one of the foremost organ transcribers of symphonic works, thereby giving
listeners the opportunity to experience the organ in a new way. He has transcribed orchestral compositions by Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Bruckner, Ravel, and Bach as well as Mahler’s Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth symphonies. Described as ‘an intrepid improviser” by Michael Barone, host of American Public Media’s Pipedreams, David also frequently performs improvisations to silent films such as Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Nosferatu, Jeanne d’Arc, Metropolis, King of Kings, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the General, and a variety of
Charlie Chaplin films. At the age of 17, David obtained his FRCO (Fellow of the Royal College of Organists) diploma, winning the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. From 1981-84 he was Organ Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge University, during which time he
studied with Jean Langlais in Paris. The first British winner of the Tournemire Prize at the St Albans International Improvisation Competition, he also won the first prize in the International Improvisation Competition at Paisley. Subsequently David held positions at Hereford, Truro and Gloucester Cathedrals. Deeply committed to ensuring organ music remains relevant and
vibrant, David enjoys giving pre-concert lectures and demonstrations that help make organ music more broadly accessible. He teaches performance at Cambridge University, frequently serves
on international organ competition juries, and gives master classes at colleges and conservatories across the U.S. and Europe. David performs more than 50 concerts a year at such venues as
Maison Symphonique, Montreal; Royal Albert Hall, London; Notre-Dame, St Sulpice and St Eustache, Paris; Kimmel Center, Philadelphia; Berlin Philharmonie, Germany; St James Cathedral, Toronto; International Performing Arts Center, Moscow; Valencia Cathedral, Spain; National Auditorium, Madrid; Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria (BC); Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway;
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco (CA); and King’s College, Cambridge. David Briggs is also a prolific composer and his works range from full scale oratorios to works for solo instruments. He has recorded two DVDs, and 37 CDs, many of which include his own compositions and transcriptions.
David is currently Artist-in-Residence at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City. For more information, Please visit:

Festival Beginnings

Along with the voices of the worshipers and the choirs, the organ that is cherished for its unique breath is used for musically expressing and sharing our faith. On Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 the Quimby Opus 70 IV manual / 57 Rank Shirley and Ralph Morgan Memorial Organ was dedicated. Ken Cowan from Rice University Shepherd School of Music gave the dedicatory concert on May 2, 2014. The Catalina Organ Festival was established in 2014 with a winter series of 3 major concerts, and a summer luncheon series, called ‘In From the Heat.’

Internationally Renowned Musicians

Internationally Renowned Musicians

The Catalina Organ Festival has recently hosted international performing organists Shin-Young Lee (Nov. 2019), Kimberly Marshall (Feb 2020) and the Southwestern Premiere of Dr. Pamela Decker’s monumental ‘The Last Words and Triumph of Christ, performed by Douglas Cleveland (Feb 2019) with choreography by Kaley Jensen and U of A dancers Danielle Goodman and Shelby Foster.

The festival has also been fortunate to host Olivier Latry, Katelyn Emerson, Christa Miller, David Enlow, John Schwandt, Raúl Prieto Ramírez, Isabelle Demers, Christopher Houlihan, Ken Cowan, Peter Krasinski, Colin Lynch, Jan Kraybill and Dorothy Papadakos. International artists, Renée Anne Louprette and Chelsea Chen have also performed honoring the legacy of the late Roy Johnson, professor of organ at the University of Arizona.

In addition, to the major winter concert venues the summer ‘In From The Heat’ luncheon recital series feature local organists from the Southwest. The 2019 summer concerts included Ilona Kubiaczyk-Adler, Janet Tolman, Larry Kuipers, Dennis Grannan, Maxine Thévenot and Edmund Connolly. Other regional organists have brought memorable recitals to our summer series: Joseph Ripka, Ji-Sun Lee, Michael Lich, Gordon Stevenson, Margaret Martin Kvamme, Paul Lee, Pamela Decker, Jeffrey Campbell, David Horr, Douglas Leightenheimer, Woosug Kang, Emma Whitten, Jared Isaac Aragon with Samavaya and David Ramirez on flutes.

WE would like to also thank the S. Arizona Chapter of American Guild of Organists (SAAGO), Catalina United Methodist Church and the many ‘angels’ who have generously supported the festival since its inception in 2014!