Diane Bish

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Diane Joyce Bish (born May 25, 1941) is an American organist and composer, as well as executive producer and host of The Joy of Music television series. As a concert organist, she performs frequently at recitals throughout North America and Europe.[1]

Education and personal life[edit]

Bish graduated from Wichita East High School in Wichita, Kansas, in 1959.[2] She had played on the 1925 Austin Organ installed in the school auditorium. In 1984, she returned there to play a benefit concert, which raised enough money for the organ to be restored.[3]

Bish began studying organ as a student of Dorothy Addy, then of Mildred Andrews. Later, she was a recipient of Fulbright and French government grants for study in Amsterdam with Gustav Leonhardt, and in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and Marie-Claire Alain.[4]

On October 31, 2002, in Bloomington, Indiana, a fire consumed the home that Bish shared with harpist Susann McDonald. Among the many personal possessions lost were a Yamaha grand piano and Rodgers digital organ, but fortunately both women escaped without injuries.[5]


Beginning in the 1970s, Bish served for more than 20 years as organist and artist-in-residence at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she designed the 117-rank Ruffatti organ in the sanctuary.[6] During this time, she began producing a weekly television program of organ music, The Joy of Music.[2] A music writer for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper said in 1986 that Bish "combines masterful music and religion in a life filled with church work, concerts, and writing and producing her own TV show".[7]

As of 2016, The Joy of Music continues to feature her performances, taped on-location at prominent organs in North America and Europe. The Joy of Music is seen in North American via independent, faith-based, and satellite networks, and selected PBS stations. The show has an international audience via Eternal Word Television Network, The Church Channel, BibelTV, Roku, VelugaTV, Gospel Channel, Alfa/Omega TV, and YouTube.[8] Since the program's beginning in the early 1980s, she has recorded over 500 episodes as of 2016, each of which shows her playing one or more different pipe or digital organs.

No longer resident organist at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Bish now makes frequent concert appearances at recitals throughout North America.[1][8]

Awards and honors[edit]

On April 29, 2016, Bish was awarded the inaugural Distinguished Career Award by the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, presented to her at the historic Marble Collegiate Church.[9] In 1989, Bish was awarded the National Citation by the National Federation of Music Clubs of America, considered to be the Federation's highest honor.


Bish has made over thirty recordings on many of the great organs of the world, including the celebrated Müller organ of the St.-Bavokerk (or Grote Kerk) in Haarlem, Netherlands, Canterbury Cathedral, and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.[10] She is the first American woman to record at the organ of Freiburg Cathedral in Freiburg, Germany. Her recordings include music for organ and orchestra, brass and organ, cello and organ, most of the great masterpieces for solo organ, original compositions and hymn arrangements.


Bish has published seven books and numerous solo pieces for organ, along with arrangements of various hymns including "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today".[21] Her compositions include:[22]

  • Festival Te Deum, for organ and orchestra
  • Lead On, O King Eternal, for organ and choir
  • Joy of Music, organ settings of hymns
  • Passion Symphony, for organ and narrator
  • Symphony of Psalms, for organ, choir, orchestra and soloist
  • Morning Has Broken, for organ, choir, orchestra and narrator.
  • German Carol Fantasy, for organ solo
  • Dance of the Trumpets, for organ solo
  • Introduction, Theme and Variations on "All Creatures of Our God and King", for solo organ


  1. ^ a b Smith, Tim (September 9, 1993). "Coral Ridge Presbyterian to launch 22nd concert season". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. p. 3. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  2. ^ a b Woodruff, Warren L., Diane Bish: First Lady of the Organ, 1993.
  3. ^ "Famous Aces". Wichita East High School. Wichita School District. September 2005. Archived from the original on April 8, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b The Joy of Music presents Hymns and Classics (CD). ARK. 1990. PB2184 ARK1006. 
  5. ^ "Harps saved from house fire; organ lost". The Herald-Times. November 1, 2002. 
  6. ^ Hersch, Valerie (January 7, 2000). "Coral Ridge Series Features Organ Virtuoso at 8 tonight". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. p. 3. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  7. ^ Smith, Tim (October 19, 1986). "Diane Bish's Faithful Interpretations with her Strong Belief in God". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. p. 1F. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  8. ^ a b Sherman, Robert (September 19, 1999). "Music; Recital Series Opens With 4 Solo Artists". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  9. ^ "Pipe Organ Inaugural Concert Series with Diane Bish". Marble Collegiate Church. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  10. ^ Aitchison, Diana (June 29, 1989). "Organist Finds Many High Notes". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. p. 8. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  11. ^ "Artistry of Diane Bish". Catalog Record. Library of Congress. LCCN 95785963. 
  12. ^ "Christmas Festival". Catalog Record. Library of Congress. LCCN 95782010. 
  13. ^ The Glory of the Organ (LP). SCM Records. 1980. SC803A-B. 
  14. ^ Great European Organs (CD). ARK. 1990. PB2183 ARK1005. 
  15. ^ "The Joy of Christmas". Catalog Record. Library of Congress. LCCN 95782009. 
  16. ^ Morning Has Broken (CD). Vogt Quality Records. 1989. VQR2041. 
  17. ^ Pipes and More Pipes (LP). SCM Records. 1978. SC783. 
  18. ^ "Praise to the Lord". Catalog Record. Library of Congress. LCCN 96791303. 
  19. ^ "The Passion Symphony". Catalog Record. Library of Congress. LCCN 95785962. 
  20. ^ "Sixty-six hundred voices of praises". Catalog Record. Library of Congress. LCCN 94755847. 
  21. ^ "The Easter Season Ushers In a Host Of Musical Events". The New York Times. April 7, 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  22. ^ "Bish, Diane (titles list)". Library of Congress Online Catalog. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 

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