Organ Week

High School Camp

Organ Week is designed for high school students interested in expanding (or beginning) their organ study. Led by a faculty of prominent concert and church organists, the program features one-to-one instruction, masterclasses, and recitals on the finest pipe organs in northern Colorado, including CSU’s Casavant organ.

Study the art of organ building, develop skills in choral conducting and harpsichord, and improve your organ playing with a faculty of concert organists including James David Christie, Joyce Jones, Ken Cowan, Andrew Steinberg, and CSU’s chair of organ, Joel Bacon.

Organ weeks have a long history at CSU since the years when professor Robert Cavarra invited organists such as Marie-Claire Alain, Luigi Tagliavini, and Anton Heiller to give week long courses to capacity audiences. The festivals brought organ students from across the country, ideas were exchanged, insights were made, and great music filled the city!

Concerts feature world renowned soloists performing major solo and collaborative works.


What to Expect (for students)
  • Two tracks of education for beginner and advanced organ students
  • Tours of some large and historic instruments in Northern Colorado
  • Touring the inside of some large and historic organs
  • Private instruction during the week with some of the best organists in the field
  • Attending many recitals and performances with World Class Organists
  • Hands on classes from a master organbuilder
  • A chance to meet other students who share an interest in organ
  • The opportunity to take your keyboard skills to another level
  • Recreation activities, such as hiking in the Rockies
  • Spending time on CSU’s campus, taking advantage of great and new accommodation
  • Open to any level of organ student (must be proficient in piano, e.g. 2-part invention)

Dates and Registration

June 2019 dates are coming soon.

Guest Artists

James David Christie

Oberlin College and Conservatory
Professor of Organ; Chair, Organ Department

James David Christie has been internationally acclaimed as one of the finest organists of his generation. He has performed around the world with symphony orchestras and period instrument ensembles as well as in solo recitals.

Christie has served as organist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1978 and has performed and recorded with the major orchestras of Vienna, London, Stuttgart, Koblentz, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Baltimore, New York, Boston, and others. He has given more than 50 tours of Europe and performs regularly in Canada, Asia, Australia, and Iceland.

He is music director of Ensemble Abendmusik, a Boston-based period instrument orchestra and chorus specializing in sacred music of the 17th and 18th centuries. He has performed with many period instrument orchestras including the Academy of Ancient Music, the Bach Ensemble, Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, the New York Collegium, and others.

Christie holds positions as chair and professor of organ at Oberlin Conservatory; distinguished artist in residence at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts; and chair and college organist at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He has previously held positions at Boston Conservatory, Harvard University, M.I.T., and Boston University.


Joyce Jones

Baylor University School of Music; The Joyce Oliver Bowden Professor of Music and Organist-in-Residence

Who wouldn’t like to play the pedals like Joyce Jones? I’ve just ordered her book, Pedal Mastery For Organ from Amazon and I can’t wait.   The page previews show exercises ranging from elementary to quite terrifying.

Joyce Jones is renowned for her twinkling, virtuosic feet. Here she is on YouTube playing Flight of the Bumble Bee – on the pedals of course.  The relaxed economy of movement, and effortless pedal trills are just wonderful to watch.

Dr Jones is winding down her performance schedule as of last year, when she retired from her position as Professor of Music and Organist in residence at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. “It’s my 79th birthday and I don’t mind saying at my age, it’s amazing that anyone that old can still be playing,” she announced.

She describes herself as an accidental organist – when she was a piano undergraduate in Texas she sprained her hand – badly.   Six weeks of no playing were ordered for recovery.  She occupied herself with pedal exercises on the organ, and found a natural talent and affinity for the instrument. The rest is history.

Joel Bacon

Colorado State University; Stewart and Sheron Golden Chair of Organ and Liturgical Studies

A native of N.J., Dr. Joel Bacon holds degrees in mathematics and organ performance from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he was a student of Joyce Jones, and an artist diploma in organ from the Konservatorium der Stadt Wien (Vienna, Austria), where he studied with Michael Gailit. With a dissertation on the use of organ in selected orchestral works, he earned his PhD in historical musicology through a joint degree program of Vienna's University of Music and Performing Arts and the University of Vienna.

Joel Bacon has a growing reputation as a performer, teacher and scholar in North America and Europe. He has been heard in recital in Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Canada, and the US, and live performances have been broadcast on Austrian Radio (1) and Public Radio International. He has taught at the prestigious Oundle International Festival (Cambridge, UK), at several Pipe Organ Encounters of the American Guild of Organists, and at other courses in the US and Canada. With the principal violist of the Munich Philharmonic, Albrecht Rohde, he has recorded a CD of music for viola and organ.

Joel Bacon currently holds the Stewart and Sheron Golden Chair in Organ and Liturgical Studies, the first endowed chair in the College of Liberal Arts. Before coming to CSU, he was assistant organist of St. Thomas Lutheran Church, Munich-Grnwald, and served as frequent guest organist at the former Hapsburg imperial church, St. Augustine, Vienna.

Ken Cowan

Rice University, Shepherd School of Music, Head of Organ Program

Ken Cowan is one of North America’s finest concert organists. Praised for his dazzling artistry, impeccable technique and imaginative programming by audiences and critics alike, he maintains a rigorous performing schedule which takes him to major concert venues and churches in America, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

Recent feature performances have included appearances at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall, Spivey Hall, and Walt Disney Concert Hall, as well as concerts in Germany and Korea. In addition, Mr. Cowan has been a featured artist in recent years at the national conventions of the American Guild of Organists held in Los Angeles and Minneapolis, has performed at many regional conventions of the AGO, and has been featured at several conventions of the Organ Historical Society and the Royal Canadian College of Organists.

Ken received the Master’s degree and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music/Institute of Sacred Music, studying organ with Thomas Murray. Prior to attending Yale, he graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he studied with John Weaver. His major teacher during high school years was James Bigham, Organist/Choirmaster at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, in Buffalo, New York, which is not far from his hometown Thorold, Ontario, Canada.

In 2012 Mr. Cowan joined the keyboard faculty of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University as associate professor and head of the organ program. Previous positions have included associate professor of Organ at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey, where he was awarded the 2008 Rider University Distinguished Teaching Award, and associate organist and artist-in-residence at Saint Bartholomew’s Church in New York City.


Joel Bacon

Associate Professor of Music; Organ; Stewart and Sheron Golden Chair in Organ and Liturgical Studies

(970) 491-2431

2016 Photos

2015 Photos