Diane Meredith Belcher

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Diane Meredith Belcher (born 1960) is an American concert organist, teacher, and church musician.[1] She has given a large number of solo recitals throughout the United States and abroad, is a teacher, and serves as Music Director at Saint Thomas Episcopal Church,[2] and Lecturer in Music Theory & Organ at Dartmouth College,[3] both in Hanover, New Hampshire. Her concert career is managed by Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc.[4]

Education[edit]

Diane Meredith Belcher earned the degree of Bachelor of Music in 1982 from the Curtis Institute of Music,[5] and the degree of Master of Music in 1983 from the Eastman School of Music.[6] Her teachers include David Spicer, John Weaver, Clarence Watters, David Craighead, and Wilma Jensen (organ); Ford Lallerstedt (music theory, counterpoint and keyboard studies); Edward Aldwell and David Beach (music theory).

Early career[edit]

Belcher made her solo recital debut at age 15 at The Wayne Presbyterian Church in Wayne, Pennsylvania. While a student at Curtis, she was an Assistant Organist to Keith Chapman (organist) at the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia. At age 23 she was a featured recitalist at a convention of the American Guild of Organists for the first time, performing a full solo concert in Anaheim, California. The following year she made the first commercially available recording of the 1933 Ernest M. Skinner organ at Girard College, Philadelphia.[7]

She subsequently won Second Prize in Interpretation at both the 1985 St Albans International Organ Festival[8] and the 1988 Grand Prix de Chartres[9] international organ competitions. In 1987 she was named an Associate of the American Guild of Organists, having won the S. Lewis Elmer Award for Highest Marks in the Professional Certification Examinations.

Professional life[edit]

Belcher has given solo concerts throughout the United States and abroad.[10] Her numerous recordings include the premiere CD of the Glatter-Götz/Rosales at Claremont, which won the 2000 Golden Ear Award from The Absolute Sound.[11] She has appeared as a featured recitalist at four national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, as well as numerous chapter meeting and regional conventions. Performances with orchestra include the Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Syracuse, and Memphis Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra and Cambridge Concentus, and she has collaborated with such colleagues as trombonist Joseph Alessi, trumpeter Rob Roy McGregor, the Memphis Boychoir, the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, and the Buxtehude Consort. She was the founding director of The Memphis Concert Chorale.

Recital credits include Disney Hall, Los Angeles; Verizon Hall, Philadelphia; Benaroya Hall, Seattle; Grace Cathedral, San Francisco; the opening concert of The Wanamaker Organ's 100th anniversary, Philadelphia; The Memorial Church of Harvard University, Saint Thomas Church, New York; The Oregon Bach Festival; Woolsey Hall, Yale University; The Cleveland Museum of Art, West Point Cadet Chapel, Spivey Hall, Morrow, Georgia; Girard College, Philadelphia; The Wildwood Festival, Little Rock; Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago; Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City; First Congregational Church, Los Angeles; The Auditorium, Independence, Missouri; Ned Rorem's 80th birthday celebration, Philadelphia; Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine; and the Crystal Cathedral, Los Angeles.[12]

Previous church positions include Organist and Director of Music at Park Central Presbyterian Church in Syracuse, Christ Church Episcopal in Memphis, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, Christ Church, Philadelphia, Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Baltimore, Maryland), and St. Mary Star of the Sea in Beverly, Massachusetts. As a pedagogue, she has taught at the University of Memphis, Westminster Choir College, and the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to her private studio. She has given numerous master classes, and is a frequent judge at organ competitions, including the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival USA hosted by the First Church of Christ, Wethersfield,[13] where she was named a permanent judge in 2013. Belcher has composed a small body of organ and sacred music, including “Lutebook Lullabye”, which was written for Karen McFarlane.[14]

Personal[edit]

Belcher was married for twenty years to the American organist and choral director John Ayer. They have three sons.

Discography[edit]

  • The Missouri Jewel (2-CD set): Notable hymns and associated repertoire [JAV 183] [15]
  • Great Organs of America: The Glatter-Götz/Rosales at Claremont [JAV 115] [16]
  • Jongen: Symphonie Concertante for Organ and Orchestra, op. 81 [DTR 8804] [17]
  • The Great Skinner Organ at Girard College [DTR 8403] [18]
  • PIPEDREAMS Premieres, Vol. 2: Music of Libby Larsen (Aspects of Glory) [19]
  • The Memphis Boychoir: Our Dancing Day (composer of Lutebook Lullabye) [Pro Organo] [20]
  • The Memphis Boychoir: In Every Corner Sing [Pro Organo] [21]
  • The Memphis Boychoir: Shout the Glad Tidings [Pro Organo] [22]
  • The Memphis Boychoir: What Sweeter Music [Pro Organo] [23]

Reviews[edit]

  • CLEVELAND: “A formidable virtuoso, Belcher played ... with authority and zest.” The Plain Dealer
  • HALIFAX: “Belcher began with a Prelude and Fugue in A Minor by Brahms, boldly taking charge of the musical energy from the first chord, and playing with such command of imagery and design that Horowitz at the piano came to mind … an amazing display of musical virtuosity of the highest order.” The Chronicle Herald
  • LITTLE ROCK: “The Wildwood Festival imports many artists each season, but I doubt that any performer brought in for the festival has the artistic integrity and power that Belcher has. This is a performer who knows how to deliver the goods.” Arkansas Times
  • CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA: “Gigantic! A CD that is addictive! … Diane Meredith Belcher’s playing … is exemplary in every respect. She … masterfully expresses the essence of each composition as it unfolds.” Orgel International
  • PHILADELPHIA: “... whose playing is glowingly brilliant, rhythmically vibrant, consistently expressive, and full of both atmosphere and personality – in short, everything that artistic organ playing should be.” American Record Guide—from Karen McFarlane Artists website [24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Diane Meredith Belcher" (PDF). Karen McFarlane Artists Inc. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ "St. Thomas Church Music". Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Dartmouth College Diane Meredith Belcher". Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Karen McFarlane Artists". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Curtis Institute of Music Alumni". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Eastman School of Music Alumni Organ". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Great Skinner Organ at Girard College". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Past Prize Winners". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Lauréats concours". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Celebrity Organ Recital: Diane Meredith Belcher". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  11. ^ "The Absolute Sound". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Diane Meredith Belcher: Biography". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival winners to give concert in Wethersfield". The New Britain Herald. March 5, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Pipedreams:An American Organist's Christmas". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  15. ^ "The Missouri Jewel:Diane Meredith Belcher". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Great Organs of America:Diane Meredith Belcher". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Jongen&Poulenc for Organ and Orchestra". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Great Skinner Organ:Diane Meredith Belcher". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Pipedreams Premieres, Vol. 2". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Pro Organo:Dancing Day". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  21. ^ "In Every Corner Sing". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Shout The Glad Tidings". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Amazon:What Sweeter Music". Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Concertorganists.com:Karen McFarlane Artists" (PDF). Retrieved March 29, 2014. 

External links[edit]