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Organ Artists Series
Concert series
sponsored by
Pittsburgh AGO Chapter

OAS on Facebook

Pittsburgh Organ Academy
Inspiring musicians to play the organ.

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Organ Artists Series
Concert Photo

Organist Olivier Latry,
titular organist of Notre Dame de Paris,
in performance at
Calvary Episcopal Church
in Pittsburgh for an
Organ Artists Series concert.

Olivier Latry in concert

The Organ Artists Series (OAS) Committee hosts world-renowned performers at concerts in Pittsburgh several times each year. Over a hundred organists have visited Pittsburgh in the past 35+ years under the sponsorship of this series. Visit that link for information about these special concerts.

Monthly updates of local concerts and events are listed in the Noteworthy Events section of the regular Chapter Newsletter. Planned season schedules are listed at Concert and Recital series.

Check the Pictures of Recent Events for some great pictures of recent concerts and meetings!

If you're a friend of music, consider becoming a Chapter member today! Check the Registration Page for more information about the Guild, or visit our AGO National Headquarters home page.

Copyright©2014, Pittsburgh Chapter
of the
American Guild of Organists
all rights reserved.


The purpose of the American Guild of Organists is to promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles, to encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music, and to provide a forum for mutual support, inspiration, education, and certification of Guild members. To The New Guild Season!
By Donna Groom - Sub-Dean (

Are you ready for the best year ever? It is a pleasure to serve you! The program committee along with myself, would like to thank you for your help and suggestions in this upcoming year of planning. I trust that you had a refreshing summer and that you’re ready to gear up for lots of music and socializing. There is so much yet to do with the upcoming regional convention, so I will be taking notes throughout this year to be ahead of the game for next year’s programming. It is not too early to make suggestions.

The September 22, 2014, meeting will be at First English Lutheran Church, 615 Grant St, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 412.471.8125.

Chapter Programs - 2014-2015
Date LocationProgram
22-Sep-2014First Lutheran, DowntownVolodymyr Koshuba-Lecture/Recital
27-Oct-2014Saint Paul, OaklandHaig Mardirosian-Vox Humana Live
17-Nov-2014Mount Lebanon MethodistDon Wilkins, Hindemith Sonata #1
29-Dec-2014Ed Halo's houseHoliday Party
26-Jan-2015Wallace Memorial, S. HillsLocal Composers-Approachable Literature
23-Feb-2015Church of the RedeemerDuquesne Students-Jenkins Tribute
23-Mar-2015Ben Avon Community ChurchPenny Anderson-Hymnody, Early American Hymnody
27-Apr-2015Saint Andrew, Highland ParkEric Plutz-Hymn Playing-in Different Styles
18-May-2015Mount Lebanon Lutheran Docent lecture-Pittsburgh Music Heritage

I am honored to introduce our distinguished guest. Volodymyr  Koshuba, from the Ukranian city of Kiev, will not only perform, but speak to us about his life and experiences in his homeland and abroad. He graduated from the Kiev State Conservatory with a distinguished prize in piano only to return for an additional five years to study organ with Professor Hugo Lepnurm, a noted student of Marcel Dupre. He has concertized extensively all over the world and has been awarded numerous titles and honors. We welcome him and look forward to hearing his stories and music.

I am also looking forward to seeing you and hearing your stories and music! I would like to thank Cynthia Pock and First English Lutheran Church for graciously hosting the event.

Please take note of the changes for reservations that will be explained in detail in this newsletter.

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. -- Johann Sebastian Bach


Nunc Dimittis – Donald Wilkins, FAGO, ChM

I am sorry to be the bearer of the sad tidings that our colleague, Donald G. Wilkins, FAGO, a lifelong pillar of the Pittsburgh musical community, died September 1. He was 89. Further information will be postedwhen it becomes available as well as a fuller tribute to this brilliant, gracious, and gentle colleague.

Our thoughts go out to Don's wife Colette, their children and grandchildren, and all those whose lives Don's lifetime of music-making and teaching touched so deeply.

A service in celebration of the life of Donald Wilkins will be offered on Saturday morning, September 6, at 10:30 a.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church (315 Shady Avenue, at Walnut Street). Watch for an obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; it will be forwarded once available, and will include information about visitation (expected to be on Thursday evening, at Freyvogel Funeral Home in Oakland) and other details.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Lewis
Donald Wilkins Dean

Obituary - From Post-Gazette

Donald Wilkins, the longtime organist, choirmaster and educator who made contributions to the music world from Paris to Pittsburgh, died Monday near his summer home in Ligonier.

The 89-year-old’s death followed what his daughter, Isabelle, described as his ideal weekend: a retreat to the country with his family, where he mowed grass, played with his grandchildren and looked forward to a fall term teaching the organ to students at Carnegie Mellon University.

An indefatigable musician, Mr. Wilkins of Shadyside worked as organist and choirmaster of Calvary Episcopal Church, conductor of the Bach Choir and choral director at Duquesne University. He left the latter post in 1967 for one at CMU, where he recently celebrated teaching 100 consecutive semesters. A frequent organist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, he also performed on concert tours in some of Europe’s holiest places, including the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Longtime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette music critic Robert Croan described Mr. Wilkins as one of the most “urbane, sophisticated musicians on Pittsburgh’s musical scene” and recalled his organ recitals, especially his annual performances of the Bach Passions as conductor of the Pittsburgh Oratorio Society.

“He exuded music from every pore, but he was also a witty raconteur and a kind human being, qualities that enhanced his musical interpretations in subtle but noticeable ways,” Mr. Croan said.

Former student and lifelong friend Dane Skroupa said he uses Mr. Wilkins’ organ and choir technique “every time I make music,” as organist and choir director at Beaver United Methodist and as former choir director at Mars Area High School.

“His complete knowledge and mastery of music made him a national treasure,” he said. “I am forever blessed to have had the opportunity to study with him. ... I only hope and pray that I am one-fourth the musician and gentleman that he was.”

Denis Colwell, head of CMU’s School of Music, said that although his colleague’s training was second to none, he also had great gifts, including a preternatural ability to transpose music on the fly.

“He had a musical memory that’s so rare I might have run into it once or twice in my lifetime,” Mr. Colwell said.

Mr. Wilkins gave up classroom instruction a few years ago but continued to teach organ to individual students, including, Mr. Colwell noted, the occasional non-major.

Born in his mother’s home in Pittsburgh’s Morningside neighborhood in 1925, Mr. Wilkins developed a passion for music in his youth as a choirboy and student of Calvary Episcopal organist Harvey Gaul, his mentor.

At 16, he graduated from Peabody High School and enrolled at Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University. Two years later, he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces and served three years before returning to Carnegie Tech to earn his bachelor’s degree in music.

After graduation, he moved to France to attend the Paris Conservatory, where he studied under renowned teacher Nadia Boulanger. While there, he also met Colette Jousse, who would become his wife.

Before leaving Europe, he studied orchestral conducting at Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and returned to earn his master’s degree at Harvard University, where he studied with Walter Piston.

In Pittsburgh, Mr. Wilkins also served as organist at Temple Sinai, Fox Chapel Presbyterian and East Liberty Presbyterian.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Wilkins is survived by a sister, Audrey Mertz of Sacramento, Calif.; a brother, Robert Wilkins of Chapel Hill, N.C.; a son, Mark Wilkins of McCandless; daughters Isabelle Wilkins of Oakland, Catherine Wilkins of Juneau, Alaska, and Laura Stuker of Sterling, Va.; and grandchildren Sam and Ben Levenback, Max Stuker, and Nancy and Renee Wilkins.

Visitation will be 5 to 8 p.m. today at John A. Freyvogel Sons Inc. in Oakland. A funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Calvary Episcopal Church with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the Calvary Episcopal Church Music Fund.








Never come to a Chapter meeting before? Worried that it's stuffy and you won't know anyone? Don't know why you should come?

Be just and fear not! The Pittsburgh AGO Chapter is a friendly group that starts off the meeting with chit-chat around 6PM and has a wonderful buffet dinner every month (only $18). Dieting? Skip the dinner and come for the program; it's free and a benefit to you as a member.

Reservations are required if you're coming to the dinner in advance (10 days); you can make one at (the Dinner Reservations link above/left) or contact if you need more information or to make your reservation.

Do something different in the New Year and come to the meeting - you'll be glad you did!