The UW Organ Program Needs Our Support
A message from Chapter Dean Hannah Byun, Dean-elect Tim Beggs,
and Dr. Carole Terry, Professor Emerita of Organ
at the University of Washington
The University of Washington’s Organ Program has a Great Start but Still Needs Your Help
Two historic gifts for organ performance
announced at the University of
Washington School of Music
Submitted by Joanne De Pue on January 12, 2021 - 7:27 am
Organ builder and artist Paul B. Fritts.
Two donor gifts in support of organ performance will honor over a century of organ instruction and performance at the University of Washington School of Music, moving this highly regarded program to a new level of national prominence.
The organ builder and artist Paul B. Fritts has generously endowed the first Faculty Fellowship in the School of Music, with a remarkable $1.5 million gift that will provide support for the organ performance degree programs. The Paul B. Fritts Endowed Faculty Fellowship will fund instruction from outstanding organists who are noted for their exceptional scholarly and professional contributions to the field. This gift establishes one of the largest endowments in the School of Music.
Leading his team at Paul Fritts & Co. Organ Builders, Mr. Fritts, a native of Tacoma, has designed, built, and reconstructed over fifty renowned organs over the past forty years, with his creations located in churches, universities, and residences across the country and abroad. His high level of craftsmanship and the beauty of his instruments represent a career-long dedication to reclaiming the best practices of organ building in the 17th and 18th centuries in Northern Europe, a high point in the history of organ composition and performance. The University of Washington is fortunate to house a remarkable example of his work: the Littlefield Organ in the Walker-Ames Room in Kane Hall (pictured below), which debuted in 1990 and has been the location of numerous organ concerts over the past thirty years.
Director of the School of Music, Professor JoAnn Taricani, declared that she is “delighted to welcome this endowed faculty fellowship and its organists to the university as a companion to the beautiful Littlefield Organ that was built by Mr. Fritts. The organ program has always brought distinguished students to our campus, and this gift will allow our great legacy to continue into future generations.” Professor Emerita of Organ, Carole Terry, who taught organ at the university for forty years, echoed that “I am elated by this news and by the wonderful gift from Mr. Fritts.”
At the same time, the School of Music has received a generous gift of $250,000 from an anonymous donor to create a four-year organ competition for early-career organists. Showcasing exceptional young talent, the competition will enable a larger audience to discover and admire the beauty of celebrated organ music. The timing and details of this competition will be announced once it is possible again to schedule public events. Professor Taricani remarked that “this is a perfect alignment of gifts to encourage young organists, with the competition beginning at the same time that the faculty endowment will commence.” Professor Emerita Carole Terry further observed that “I am filled with gratitude for the generosity of those who love the organ and its music.”
(This article is reprinted with permission from the University of Washington. Click on this link for their music site
February 7th, 2021
Organ Update from the Dean
With the amazing generosity of Paul Fritts and the anonymous donor, we are off to a great start. Presently, the new donations will allow for a part-time organ instructor. To grow the program, $3,000,000 will allow the university to hire an artist in resident. The ultimate goal would be to hire a tenured teacher which would cost $4,000,000.
The faculty endowment fund now being established by the University of Washington will permanently fund organ instruction, building, and protecting the program for the future. As the endowment grows, the organ program will grow with it, drawing the world’s talent to our region.
At this time, Seattle chapter members can donate through OnCard by signing in to the AGO website with the instructions provided there. Click on “Make a Contribution” and scroll down to “UW Organ Faculty Endowment”. Your gift is fully tax-deductible. If you need assistance with OnCard, click on the word video.
Your friends who are not Seattle chapter members can still obtain chapter matching funds donating by check payable to Seattle Chapter AGO and mailed to:
Seattle Chapter AGO
c/o David Nichols
2928 Kennewick Pl NE
Renton WA 98056
For questions regarding the donation process, please contact David Nichols, chapter Treasurer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-793-6369.
For questions regarding program development at the UW, please contact Carole Terry at email@example.com.
Please consider giving to ensure the continuation of this valuable and crucial part of our music community in the Northwest. Blessing to you now and through the coming year.
With warmest regards,
Hannah Byun, Dean
Tim Beggs, Dean-elect
To make a donation please to the giving portal for the Fritts endowment. Make sure to let the UW know that you are giving as an AGO member so AGO can match the funds.
Make checks out to the University of Washington. On the memo line or in a note sent with the check, please indicate that the gift is for the Fritts Endowed Faculty Fellowship in Organ (#99-4600).
Checks should be mailed to this address:
4333 Brooklyn Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98195-9504
The UW’s organ program enjoys an international reputation and has attracted students from three continents. Its graduates fill posts at Stanford University, Korea National University, and Rikkyo University, Tokyo, to name only a few. Closer to home, the Director of Music at St. James Cathedral, Seattle, the resident organist of the Seattle Symphony, and over 30 church positions are held by program alumni. The program is one of only two West Coast organ programs that offered advanced degrees in organ performance and scholarship.
Since Carole Terry's appointment to the School of Music’s organ post in 1979, she has performed, taught, lectured, and adjudicated in Europe, Great Britain, and the Far East as well as in many of the United States. She consulted in the design of Benaroya Hall’s Watjen Concert Organ, was the first Seattle Symphony organist, and made the first recording of solo works on the instrument. She raised the private funds necessary to build the University’s own
Littlefield Organ, in Kane Hall, and the Hollingsworth-Bagdi practice organ at the School of Music.
Over the past five decades, the Pacific Northwest has become a major center for arts-related to the organ. Several renowned organ builders live and work here. Our region is home to a number of spectacular instruments, which draw performers from all over the world—instruments which are also available to the University’s organ students for practice and performance.
The organ program at the University of Washington is at the core of the Northwest’s outstanding resources of professionally trained musicians—organists who serve over 100 community choirs and choruses, numerous symphony and chamber orchestras, in addition to churches and synagogues. If there is no organ position at the School of Music, there will be no organ students. Not only will the reputation of UW Music be diminished, but the local well-spring of future generations of talented, dedicated organists who remain in the Northwest and build their careers here will dry up. This will have a community-wide negative impact on the arts in our area.
We believe this requires a united response from our Chapter membership.
The cost of an endowment for an Artist-in-Residence position is $3 million. For a full faculty position, the cost is $4 million.
Recently the Board of our local AGO Chapter met with Dr. Terry to discuss what might be done on our end. Our support for the UW’s organ program is absolute and enthusiastic; there is no question that we must do all we can to ensure its survival.
We are asking you—our Chapter membership—to join us in leading the way in a fund-raising effort to save the organ program at the UW School of Music.
The Board has been looking for a major project in which to invest some of our surplus funds, and by unanimous vote, we feel that we could make no better choice than to invest in the outstanding and important cultural and educational resource of the organ program at UW.
Thus, the Board has approved Chapter matching funds of up to $125,000, to match gifts from members and supporters and reach at least the $250,000 threshold of the University’s Development Office.
Thank you for considering a gift to this important cause. Your gift will be doubled and have a lasting impact on not only our own specialty of organ playing but on the arts in the Puget Sound region in general.
Dr. Carole Terry
Professor of Organ
University of Washington
“When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping”
– W.P. Gerberding, former president of UW
“The recent decisions to defund the instruction of organ and harpsichord at the University of Washington School of Music should be troubling to all who have an active interest in the cause of fine music as part of the liturgy of the Church.
For many decades, churches through Western Washington been well-served by musicians who have received their organ and choral training at the University of Washington School of Music. The Archdiocese of Seattle has been especially blessed by the service of countless organists and choir directors in its parishes and in particular, St. James Cathedral. These superb musicians have brought what they have learned from the UW and enriched the liturgical life of their parishes and the parishioners they serve. Their time at the UW has been a particularly important part of their formation as liturgical musicians; the disruption of this instruction casts a dark shadow upon the future vitality of music in the church.
Efforts are underway to establish a foundation of support to ensure that this vital instruction is not discontinued. I invite all who are in a position to do so, to support these efforts generously with your prayers and financial resources.”
–The Very Rev. Michael G. Ryan, Pastor, St. James Cathedral (Roman Catholic)
“The central role of the organ as an instrument used to gather the community at Saint Mark's Cathedral cannot be overstated. It is the means by which we come to understand our place in a rich tradition centuries old, and the resonant beauty of organ music speaks to our souls in ways that lend meaning and connection.
We celebrate the long partnership we have with the UW Music Department's Organ Instruction program, and we rely on this auspicious program to raise up future generations of organists who will ensure the legacy of this special instrument of music will be preserved.”
–The Very Rev. Steven L. Thomason, Dean and Rector, St. Mark’s Cathedral (Episcopal)
“The UW’s organ program has ramifications throughout the Northwest musical community because of the ubiquity of the concert organ, which serves so many communities. It is vital, of course, to religious observance in the multitude of cathedrals and churches in this region. But the organ is not merely a religious instrument: it is a concert instrument, too, and a significantly important one that the Seattle Symphony’s Benaroya Hall supporters knew they could not build the new hall without a first-rate organ (the Watjen Concert Organ).
The UW School of Music has already lost so many significant faculty positions. The more positions are lost, the fewer music students will come, resulting in still fewer faculty members … a vicious circle on which the School of Music has already embarked. There is still time to reverse this downward slide, but it must happen on a case-by-case basis. Restoring the Organ Faculty position is a good place to start.”
–Melinda Bargreen, Music Critic and Composer
Recent unprecedented gains in the stock market have resulted in our Chapter having more money in our investments than a non-profit can justifiably retain. In the past few months, the Board has been discussing the best way to draw down what is really a surplus of funds.
We feel that doing our part to help the situation at the UW is the best use of this abundance.
As stated above, the goal is to create a position funded by restricted, designated money for a faculty organist at the University of Washington School of Music.
$3 million would fund an Artist in Residence position
$4 million would create the endowment for a full faculty position
The Board has voted to use Chapter funds to match donations up to $125,000, for a total amount of at least $250,000.
Please note that if you itemize your tax deductions and meet all necessary criteria, your donation to this campaign will be tax-deductible.
We hope that you will consider making a donation to this worthy cause, knowing that the impact of your gift will be doubled by Chapter funds.
Please use the form above to make your pledge. Your pledge will be tracked by only one person at this point and will always remain confidential.
Thank you for joining us in securing professional organ instruction at the University of Washington
for years to come!