Trinity College offers students a rare opportunity to study organ music in the context of a rigorous liberal arts undergraduate education.
Students enrolled in organ lessons study with Christopher Houlihan ’09, the John Rose college organist-and-directorship distinguished chair of Chapel music, and adjunct professor of music, ex officio. Students have their lessons on the college’s fine Austin pipe organ and have generous access to both of the Chapel’s organs for their practice.
The college presents the annual Trinity Organ Series, whose visiting artists frequently present masterclasses and engage in conversation with the studio of student organists. The studio regularly takes a study trip over winter Trinity Days—recent trips include a visit to the Austin Organs, Inc. headquarters and factory, and a tour of a variety of Hartford’s distinguished pipe organs.
Student organists have opportunities to perform in concerts and services presented by the Chapel. Advanced organ students may be appointed an assistant Chapel organist, receiving a stipend for their work as well as additional coaching in choral accompanying and service playing skills. Other opportunities include singing as a member of The Chapel Singers or working as the student musician for Roman Catholic masses. In addition, Trinity’s organists have often served as assistant organists or directors of music in churches throughout the Greater Hartford region.
The John Rose Organ Scholarship, a gift of Eleanor J. and Willard R. Seipt, friends of the college, is awarded annually to an organ student. A substantial bequest from Marjorie Van Eenam Butcher, professor of mathematics, emeritus, allows for organ students to enroll in lessons without an additional lessons fee. The fund also covers the cost for students requiring assistance purchasing organ shoes, textbooks, and sheet music.
Information about applying to Trinity College is available from admissions. Students interested in studying organ at Trinity should email Christopher Houlihan for more information and to set up an informal interview. Prof. Houlihan is also available to offer prospective organ students a trial lesson, in-person or remotely.