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* * American Guild of Organists, Seattle Chapter * *
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The mission of the American Guild of Organists is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. To achieve this, we

  • encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music;
  • inspire, educate, and offer certification for organists and choral conductors;
  • provide networking, fellowship, and mutual support;
  • nurture future generations of organists;
  • promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles; and
  • engage wider audiences with organ and choral music.

March Dean's Message

Our Dean Norma Aamodt-Nelson interviewed chapter member Hannah Byun who has recently joined our AGO Board as a member-at-large.

Would you be willing to tell us a bit about your background?
Yes, in September 2015 I began to serve as principal organist and conducting specialist at University Presbyterian Church. After completing undergraduate studies at Yonsei University in South Korea, I subsequently travelled to Germany in 1991 to study organ performance and choral conducting. In 1999 I completed a Konzertexamen (DMA) in organ performance, and a Master’s degree in choral conducting at the Hochschule der Kuenste in Berlin. Upon my return to Korea, I taught organ performance and choral conducting at Yonsei University and Jungang University. In 2009 I moved to Seattle to pursue a DMA in choral conducting at the University of Washington with Dr. Geoffrey Boers. I am pleased to report that I recently submitted my dissertation entitled “Choral Sound Unification” and expect to graduate in June this year.

What are your responsibilities at the church?
UPC has four services on Sundays. I play two traditional services where I accompany the choir and provide all of the service music. I also conduct the UPC String Ensemble once a month for prelude and offertory. Likewise, I serve as assistant conductor of the UPC Chancel choir when our music director is absent.

Do you have some interesting books on your nightstand, i.e. what are you reading, besides The American Organist.
Recently, I started reading “Kindred” which I first read when I was ESL class in order to learn English. The setting is 19th century America and it is about African American slavery. But honestly, I haven’t read many books for pleasure recently, because as a foreign student (studying in my third language) academic reading is very time consuming, hard work. As these questions are written, some of our colleagues are out snow-shoeing/skiing.

What do you enjoy in your off-music hours?
Running is one of my diligent activities. I run about 15 miles for a week. While running, I listen to some upbeat Korean Pop (KPop) songs recorded for me by my son Sungil (who studies Sound Design at Boston’s Berklee School of Music) Beside running, I enjoy cooking with my husband, Philip, and daughter, Ina. Recently, I purchased a crock pot and we are enjoying trying new recipes...especially Pulled Pork.

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