David Crean, university organist and adjunct professor, may have just joined the Wittenberg faculty last fall, but he already has big plans for an organ revival at Wittenberg.
While in the past, Wittenberg had a highly acclaimed Lutheran church music scene, but in recent years, the organ program has not been as popular. Currently Crean works with one organ student while Trudy Faber, professor emerita and adjunct instructor, works with another.
“Organ is a tough sell right now,” said Crean. “Unless you go out of your way to get exposed to it, you won’t be.”
Even so, Crean is optimistic.
“There’s a lot of potential here: supportive alumni, receptive students, and generous scholarship money for new and current students,” he said. He would ideally like to see “six, seven organ majors” and “a really vibrant program.”
Crean is more than qualified to bring students back to the organ. As a doctoral student at the Juilliard School, Crean will receive his Doctorate of Musical Art, “the terminal degree for performance,” this May.
“Juilliard is a pretty incredible place,” said Crean.
In addition to receiving his doctorate degree from one of the most competitive music conservatories in the country, Crean will also be going on his second musical tour in Australia. While his first tour in June of 2012 was just 10 days, his tour this March will be from the 12 to the 31.
During his tour, which is underwritten by the American Embassy in Australia, Crean will be premiering an American piece by composer Henry Martin. Crean will have “more performances” in “more higher profile venues” compared to his first tour.
“It’s going to be great,” said Crean. There’s something “familiar” about Australia, he said.
When he returns from his tour, he is planning to start recruiting students to come to Wittenberg for its organ program, as well as performing as much as possible. Crean will have a spring concert on Mar. 6 at 7:30 p.m., before he leaves for his Australian tour.
Crean would like to do one performance at Wittenberg each semester. “It keeps me focused,” he said. It also gives the campus an opportunity to hear music that is typically only heard in church services.
In addition to the organ, which he practices for three to four hours a day, Crean also teaches an Understanding Music course, and works with the choirs on campus. Since coming to Wittenberg, he has also written more music which he plans to use with the Chapel Choir.