John Rose College Organist-and-Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music, and Artist-in-Residence, department of music
The organist Christopher Houlihan has established an international reputation as an “intelligently virtuoso musician” (Gramophone), hailed for his “glowing, miraculously life-affirming performances” (Los Angeles Times).
A graduate of Trinity College, Houlihan has held the John Rose College Organist-and-Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music since 2017, succeeding his teacher, John Rose. Houlihan is artist-in-residence in the music department and teaches a studio of organists, many of whom take advantage of co-curricular experiences in performance opportunities at the Chapel. He also presents the annual Trinity Organ Series, inviting distinguished visiting artists to perform on Trinity’s landmark pipe organ.
Professor Houlihan is director of The Chapel Singers, Trinity’s oldest student organization. Under his direction, the choir has begun offering a monthly service of choral Evensong, presented concerts on campus as well as in downtown Hartford, and released a recording of music sung at Trinity’s popular Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols. Recent performances include Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Jonathan Dove’s Missa Brevis.
Houlihan maintains an active concert career, offering solo recitals and making appearances with orchestras throughout the country and internationally. Highlights of Houlihan’s 2019-20 season included performances of Joseph Jongen’s monumental Symphonie Concertante with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (opening concert of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival) and the St. Ann’s Festival Orchestra in Washington D.C.; solo recitals in St. Louis, Seattle, New York City, Eureka (CA), Rohnert Park (CA), and Birmingham (AL); and chamber performances as part of the Screendoor Summer Music Festival in Camden, Maine.
Houlihan’s performances with orchestras in past seasons include Barber’s Toccata Festiva with the Hartford Symphony (Edward Cumming, conductor), Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 and Poulenc’s Organ Concerto with the Columbus (GA) Symphony (George Del Gobbo, conductor), and the Organ Concerto by Robert Edward Smith with the Boston Chamber Orchestra (David Feltner, conductor).
Christopher Houlihan has appeared in recital at celebrated venues across North America and Europe including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, Glasgow Cathedral in Scotland and San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and Davies Symphony Hall, as well as at numerous conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society. In 2017 he was featured performer at the closing concert of the AGO Southeast Regional Convention at Jacoby Symphony Hall in Jacksonville, where he presented the world premiere of Hannah Lash’s Ludus (written specifically for Houlihan). In 2014, Houlihan performed in a prime-time slot of WQXR’s All-Day Bach Organ Marathon in New York City which was webcast live and seen by thousands. Houlihan’s “Vierne 2012” tour attracted international attention and critical acclaim for his marathon performances of the six organ symphonies of Louis Vierne in six major North American cities. The Los Angeles Times called his performance there “a major surprise of the summer, a true revelation.”
Building on the excitement and acclaim of “Vierne2012”, in Christopher Houlihan’s next recording on the Azica label features music by Vierne and César Franck. Recorded on the Church of the Ascension’s Pascal Quoirin Organ, the album includes Vierne’s Symphony No. 6 in B Major and Franck’s Grande Pièce Symphonique. In 2017, Houlihan released Christopher Houlihan plays Bach (Azica). Recorded at Trinity College, the CD was praised as “playful, celebratory and sparkling with color” (The Whole Note), and American Record Guide stated, “there’s no denying Houlihan’s extraordinary achievement.” Houlihan’s other recordings include music by Maurice Duruflé and Jehan Alain, and Organ Symphony No. 2 by Louis Vierne, both on Towerhill Records.
Prior to his current appointment he was an artist-in-residence at Trinity, as well as director of music and organist at the Church of the Holy Apostles in New York City.
In addition to his studies at Trinity College, Houlihan studied with the Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs at The Juilliard School, where he earned a master’s degree, and with Jean-Baptiste Robin at the French National Regional Conservatory in Versailles. In 2015 he was selected for The Diapason’s “20 Under 30”, a distinguished list of leaders in the organ world.
More information is at ChristopherHoulihan.com.