Marilyn Keiser to Be Honored in New York City at AGO Receital and Gala Benefit Reception

Celebration of the Her Lifetime Achievements Will Benefit the AGO Endowment Fund.

The American Guild of Organists (AGO) will sponsor a Recital and Gala Benefit Reception honoring Marilyn Keiser on Friday, April 5, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. Dr. Keiser will perform a solo recital featuring works by Alec Wyton, Herbert Howells, Margaret Sandresky, Josef Rheinberger, and Louis Vierne. The gala benefit reception will follow in the Cathedral’s St. James Chapel.

Recital and Gala Benefit Reception Tickets are $100 ($75 tax deductible) and can be purchased online at or by calling 212-870-2311, ext. 4308. Gala ticket holders will be offered preferred seating in the Great Quire with a view of the performer. The names of those who purchase their tickets by March 15 will be printed in the commemorative program book. Tickets for the recital only ($25) can be purchased at the Cathedral immediately prior to the recital; general seating will be provided in the Crossing and Nave.

Display advertising is offered in the commemorative program book for an inside cover ($1,500 and includes four gala tickets), full page ($1,000 and includes two gala tickets) and half page insertion ($500 and includes one gala ticket). Advertising orders can be placed online at E-mail for further information. The advertising deadline is March 15. The publication will become a part of the American Organ Archives.

Those unable to attend the Recital and Gala Benefit Reception can make a contribution to the AGO Endowment Fund in honor of Marilyn Keiser online at These names will also be published in the program book; all contributions received by March 15 will be included. All proceeds will benefit the AGO Endowment Fund in Dr. Keiser’s honor.


Marilyn Keiser is Chancellor’s Professor of Music Emeritus at Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., where she taught courses in sacred music and applied organ for 25 years. Prior to her appointment at Indiana University, Dr. Keiser was organist and director of music at All Souls Parish in Asheville, N.C., and music consultant for the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, holding both positions from 1970 to 1983.

A native of Springfield, Ill., Marilyn Keiser began her organ study with Franklin Perkins, then attended Illinois Wesleyan University where she studied organ with Lillian McCord, graduating with a bachelor of sacred music degree. Dr. Keiser entered the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she studied organ with Alec Wyton and graduated summa cum laude in 1965 with a master of sacred music degree. Her sacred music doctorate from Union Theological Seminary was awarded in 1977. Upon graduation from Union Seminary, Marilyn Keiser became assistant organist of the Riverside Church in New York City, and one year later was appointed associate organist and choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a position she held from 1966 to 1970.

In constant demand as an organ recitalist and workshop leader, Dr. Keiser has appeared throughout the U.S. in concerts sponsored by churches, colleges and AGO chapters. She has been a featured artist at AGO Regional Conventions and at the AGO National Conventions in Dallas and in Washington, D.C., where she played with orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, she has appeared as featured artist for the International Congress of Organists in Cambridge, England; in concert at the Royal Victoria Hall with the Singapore Symphony; at the American Cathedral in Paris, the Southern Cathedrals Festival in Winchester, England and the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

An active member of the AGO, Dr. Keiser has been a member of the national council, has served as national registrar, a member of the national nominating committee and dean of the Western North Carolina chapter. She holds AGO Associate, Choirmaster, and Fellowship certifications.


The Great Organ was completed in 1911 by Ernest M. Skinner, and enlarged and rebuilt in 1952 by G. Donald Harrison of the Aeolian Skinner Organ Company. The Great Organ has several extraordinary features which immeasurably heighten its tonal effect, including the famous high-pressure State Trumpet at the West End, the magnificent high-pressure Solo Tubas, a battery of Bombard reeds, and remarkably effective 32′ voices. The organ pipes are divided between two large chambers above the floor of the Great Quire on the north and south sides. The console is located in the gallery above the South Choir stall.

On December 18, 2001, the Great Organ and the other two Aeolian-Skinner organs in the side chapels were heavily damaged by smoke from a devastating fire that broke out in the unfinished portion of the North Transept. All three organs were silenced until they could be cleaned and restored. In 2005, the Great Organ was removed for cleaning and repair by Quimby Pipe Organs. It was brought home to the Cathedral along with a new four-manual console with solid state combination action, replicating the style of the original 1911 Skinner shell and the console interior as rebuilt on location by Aeolian-Skinner. Today, the Great Organ has 151 ranks of pipes, 118 speaking stops, and 8,514 pipes on 7 divisions spread over 4 manuals and pedals.