|Born||December 17, 1934|
|Origin||Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|Years active||1945 – present|
Word Records 1959 – 1994|
Sparrow Records 1994
The American composer and arranger, Kurt Kaiser, studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and earned two degrees from Northwestern University. Born in Chicago on December 17, 1934, Kurt grew up performing throughout the city of Chicago. As early as twelve years of age, he was honing his improvisational skills playing piano and organ for live radio on WMBI. At fifteen Kurt spent more than a year in Billings, Montana, doing live radio on KGHL, accompanying musicians, and playing for revivals and church events throughout the Northwest United States. Kurt met his future bride, Patricia Anderson, during this period. They married in 1956. After his time in Billings, Kaiser spent a year and a half traveling with acclaimed basso Bill Carle before entering the American Conservatory of Music at age eighteen. He went on to earn two degrees from Northwestern University.
Kurt Kaiser joined Word, Inc. in 1959 as Director of Artists and Repertoire and later became Vice President and Director of Music. With more than 300 copyrighted songs, he has arranged and produced albums for many national and international artists, among them George Beverly Shea, Jerome Hines, Burl Ives, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Ethel Waters, Ken Medema, Joni Eareckson Tada, Anne Martindale Williams, Christopher Adkins & Stephen Nielson, Christopher Parkening, and Kathleen Battle. He has travelled to Europe countless times, as well as Tokyo, Mexico City, and Stockholm for recording. Kaiser has led innumerable choral workshops, performed concerts, and recorded eighteen solo albums at the piano. He received a Dove award for his piano album, "Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs" on the Sparrow label.
Kaiser's professional credentials are legendary in church music circles. For over fifty years he has influenced modern day church music and has helped usher in a new era in American Christian music. Crossing denominational boundaries, his compositions have found their way into many church hymnals. Kaiser and composer Ralph Carmichael co-wrote the first broadly popular youth musical, "Tell It Like It Is," sparking an explosion of popularity in this new genre of contemporary Christian music. Several other Carmichael-Kaiser musicals followed as churches, colleges, and universities recognized their value in conveying the Christian faith to a new generation. Kaiser has continued to achieve subtle trend changes by maintaining sensitivity to music already widely accepted by the church, while managing to move into new and unexplored areas that have broadened the realm of worshipful, sacred music. Best known for the songs "Pass It On" and "Oh How He Loves You and Me," Mr. Kaiser continues to compose traditional church music. His timeless compositions have helped insure that music in its purest form will continue to be embraced in the church worship experience. "The Lost Art of Listening" project has been hailed as one of the finest recorded works available today.
During the past five decades Kurt Kaiser has copyrighted more than 300 songs, one of the latest being a Christmas piece, "One Quiet Night," that was premiered by the Waco Symphony. In 1999 Kaiser traveled to Sweden at the request of the United States Ambassador to perform with a string quartet and soloist at a gala Christmas gathering of guests and dignitaries at the Museum of History in Stockholm. Kurt described the warm, yet festive atmosphere of the evening as, "Not like tinsel, but like candlelight."
In 1992 Kaiser was awarded a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for his contributions to the Christian music industry. In November 2001 he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and received the Faithfulness in Service award in 2003. He received an Honorary Doctor of Sacred Music degree from Trinity College in Illinois and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Baylor University. Baylor also presented him with the Pro Ecclesia award in 2017. Through the years Kurt has enjoyed his associations with the Baylor University music programs and the five years he conducted the Baylor Religious Hour Choir.
Kaiser served as president of the Waco Symphony Association and was a board member for the Christian Music Publishers Association as well as the Gospel Music Association. Kurt and his wife Pat reside in Waco, Texas, where they have lived since 1959. They have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.
- 1959: Kurt Kaiser Piano (Word W 3093-LP/WST 8035-LP)
- 1962: Preludes to Faith (Word W-3157-LP/WST-8095-LP)
- 1963: Hymntime Sing-Along (Word W-3176-LP/ WST 8110-LP)
- 1965: From London...Kurt Kaiser's Sweeping Strings (Word W-3301-LP/WST-8301-LP)
- 1965: Master Designer (Word W 3322-LP/ WST 8322-LP)
- 1966: Hymns of Prayer (Word W-3227/ WST-8327-LP)
- 1972: Kurt Kaiser: Pass it On (Word WST-8562-LP)
- 1975: An Offering (Word WST-8679-LP)
- 1979: Just For You: Loving Adventure with God (Word WSB-8728 LP)
- 1987: Alone with the Music (Word 701-90460196 CD)
- 1990: "Come Away" with Jenni Till (Kurt Kaiser Music)
- 1991: The Lost Art of Listening (Word 701-9329-609-CD)
- 1993: Christmas Favorites (Sparrow)
- 1994: Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs (Sparrow)
- 2005: Kaiser: Emmanuel, Fantasie for Violin and Orchestra (Kurt Kaiser Music)
- 2013 Legacy (Kurt Kaiser Music)
- Callaham, Mike : David Ewards: Patrice Eyries "Word Album Discographies"
- Hall, John "The Baptist Standard"
- Kurt Kaiser website
- Smith Creek Music[permanent dead link]
- Word Label Group
- Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music
- Alliance Music
- Bill Pearce interview
- Kurt Kaiser interview
- GMA Hall of Fame
- Article about Kurt Kaiser
- Kurt Kaiser Dove Award Source
- Scholarship set up in the name of Kurt & Pat Kaiser
- Credit to Bach Cantatas and Baylor University for much of this writing