Carol Williams (organist)

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Carol Williams (organist)
Carol Williams
Background information
Born 1962
Great Britain
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Organist, composer
Instruments Pipe organ
Years active 1984–present
Labels Melcot Music

Carol Anne Williams D.M.A., ARAM, FRCO, FTCL, ARCM (born 1962) is a British-born international concert organist and composer, now living in America. She served during 2001–2016 as Civic Organist for the city of San Diego, California, performing regularly at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.[1][2] She is currently the Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society;[3] producing the largest organ festival in North America since 2001. Formally the Artist in Residence at St. Paul's Cathedral San Diego;[4] and presently Artist in Residence at Court Street United Methodist Church in Lynchburg, VA where she is producing the first Lynchburg International Organ Festival beginning the summer of 2017. Host of "TourBus", a pipe organ documentary series.[5] and Host of her YouTube series "On The Bench with Dr. Carol".

Carol Williams performs "Flight of the Bumblebee" at the West Point Cadet Chapel.


British born, Williams was raised in a Welsh family with many musical influences. She began private lessons at age five and could read music before she could read English. Her formal training started with five years at the Royal Academy of Music[6] where she specialized in organ performing as a student of David Sanger. She obtained the Academy's prestigious Recital Diploma, together with the LRAM for both organ and piano. She was awarded all the major prizes for organ performing and, during her studies, she became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and a Fellow of Trinity College London, as well as an Associate of the Royal College of Music.

Williams has also studied with Daniel Roth, the Organist at the Church of St. Sulpice, Paris. Moving to the United States, Williams undertook postgraduate study at Yale University [7] under the direction of Thomas Murray. She was appointed University Chapel Organist and was awarded an Artist Diploma (AD) together with the Charles Ives Prize for outstanding achievement. She then relocated to New York City where she became the Associate Organist at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Long Island's Garden City. She undertook doctoral study under McNeil Robinson at the Manhattan School of Music, where she received the Helen Cohn award for her Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree.[8]


Williams' performances have taken her all over the world. Some popular venues include: St. Sulpice and Notre Dame, Paris; Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles;[9] Westminster Abbey; St. Paul's Cathedral; King's College, Cambridge; The Queen's College, Oxford; Salisbury Cathedral;[10] Blenheim Palace;[11] Woolsey Hall, Yale University; Memorial Chapel, Harvard University; St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York; Washington National Cathedral; St. Ignatius Loyola, New York; Riverside Church, New York. She has also given numerous concerts in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Monaco, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Singapore, China and Russia.

Williams has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in recognition of her contribution to music. A regular broadcaster in the UK and in America, she has been the guest performer with a number of leading orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra and the Beijing Symphony Orchestra. She performed the inaugural recitals on a newly installed Austin organ in Beijing's Forbidden City Concert Hall.

Williams has been interviewed on many radio programs, in which she has highlighted her profound love of the King of Instruments, and she is featured in the national-awareness video "Pulling out all the Stops" when she was filmed in concert at St. Thomas' Church on New York's Fifth Avenue. She also took part in the Virgil Fox Memorial Concert[12][13] held in the fall of 2000 at New York's Riverside Church, and a recording of the event was released. Williams is also presently hosting a video series TourBus, featuring the great and small, famous and unique pipe organs of the world, its music, people and places.

In October 2001, Williams became the first woman in the United States to be appointed Civic Organist. She served as the San Diego Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society in San Diego, California from 2001 to 2016.[14][15][16] Williams performs an average of 75 concerts a year worldwide.

Williams regularly attracts new audiences to the pipe organ[17] with charismatic humor and programs of intense genre diversity, including collaborations with various Jazz, Blues, Pop and Rock bands.[18] Concert patrons have received her live performances with “rock star” enthusiasm.


Williams performs about 20 hours of free organ concerts a year to raise awareness and funds for various charitable organizations[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29]


Published by Melcot Music:

  • TourBus (For Organ and Drums) ©2008
  • Twilight (For Organ) ©2013
  • Major Something, Non Fat Latte! (For Organ) ©2013
  • Bonnie Eriskay (For Organ and Bagpipes) ©2013
  • Suite For Organ ©2014
  • Daisy Violin (Violin and Organ) ©2014
  • Dragon Dance (Violin and Organ) ©2014
  • Venus Toccata (For Organ) ©2014
  • Three Thoughts (For Piano) ©2014
  • Freedom (For Organ) ©2014
  • Centennial Spreckels Fanfare (For Organ) ©2014
  • Tiger Lilly Waltz (For Organ) ©2014
  • Divine Song (For Organ and Voice) ©2015
  • For Michael (For Piano) ©2015
  • Dietrich's Dilemma! (For Organ) ©2015
  • Andromeda (For Organ) ©2015
  • Sophie's Game (For Organ) ©2015


Produced by Melcot Music:[30]

  • Just Carol Compositions MCTCD022
  • Carol's Christmas MCTCD021
  • Carol Williams Plays - Volume 2, Madness! MCTCD020
  • Carol Williams Plays MCTCD019
  • Mainly French MCTCD018
  • Hey Wurlitzer MCTCD016
  • Maid in China MCTCD015
  • Wurlitzer Plus! MCTCD014
  • Orchestral! MCTCD013
  • Tour de Force MCTCD012
  • Classic Power: Popular Organ Music From Winchester Cathedral MCTCD011
  • Just Rags MCTCD007
  • Hammond Today MCTCD002
  • Carol Williams’ Collection
  • Sunday at 2
  • Blenheim Palace
  • Oxford Town Hall

Produced by Rumley Music:[31]

  • House of Scotland RMCD1220


Produced by Valentine Music:

  • Blenheim Palace - A Musical Tour OSV-507
  • Organ Showcase OSV-508

Produced by Bell Video:[5]

  • TourBus 1 to the King of Instruments MCTDVD001
  • TourBus 2 goes to Methuen MCTDVD002
  • TourBus 3 goes to Spreckels MCTDVD003
  • TourBus 4 goes to Paris MCTDVD004
  • TourBus 5 goes to Luxembourg MCTDVD005
  • TourBus 6 goes to Ocean Grove MCTDVD006
  • TourBus 7 goes to Disney Hall MCTDVD007
  • TourBus 8 goes Celtic MCTDVD008
  • TourBus 9 First Congregational Church, Los Angeles MCTDVD009
  • TourBus 10 goes to St. Paul's Cathedral San Diego MCTDVD010
  • TourBus 11 goes to the Compenius Organ in Denmark MCTDVD011


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-24. Retrieved 2013-01-18. 
  5. ^ a b "TourBus", Bell Video
  6. ^ Royal Academy of Music#Alumni
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Bio at Walt Disney Concert Hall
  10. ^ bio at Salisbury Cathedral Archived January 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ bio at Blenham Palace
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2002-02-23. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "With Jets Providing Accompaniment, a Rare City Treasure Stands Exposed", New York Times, April 28, 2007
  15. ^ "San Diego Civic Organist Carol Williams stepping down", San Diego Union-Tribune, September 8, 2016
  16. ^ "Career transition for Dr. Carol Williams", Spreckels Organ Society, August 30, 2016
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Melcot Music
  31. ^ House of Scotland Pipe Band

External links[edit]