Celebrating the “King of Instruments” on the Presenting Series

By DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, September 6, 2019 Arts at ND, News & Announcements

[About a 7 MIN read]

When Craig Cramer, Professor of Organ at the University of Notre Dame, began curating guest organists to perform on the DeBartolo Performing Art Center’s Presenting Series, the Center made a lasting commitment celebrating the organ and the range of music composed for the instrument, from powerful symphonies to delicate toccatas. For a decade, these recitals have proven the “King of instruments” reigns supreme at Notre Dame in both educational and artistic contexts.

In a relatively short period of time, we can count the acquisition of the 17th-century Italian chamber organ installed in the Center’s Reyes and Organ Choral Hall and performances by dozens of prominent organ faculty and church musicians from the U.S. and around the world. The Center also was the site of the 2017 conference, Reformations and the Organ, 1517–2017, held just months after the dedication of the Murdy Family Organ at the Basilica of the Sacred at Notre Dame.

This season, guest organists once again showcase Notre Dame’s grand instruments in the Basilica and the Center’s Reyes Organ and Choral Hall, which is also home to the Fritts Organ. Events at the Basilica are free but ticketed and begin shortly after Vespers. Events at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center are $10 for regular tickets and have an intimate capacity of 80 on church-style pews.

2019–2020 Organ Recitals


Danie SansoneDaniel Sansone ’97
Sunday, September 22 at 8 p.m.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Daniel Sansone received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Organ Performance from the State University of New York at Fredonia, studying with Dr. John Hofmann. Daniel also holds a Master of Music Degree in Organ Performance and Literature from the University of Notre Dame. While at the University of Notre Dame, he was a student of Dr. Craig Cramer. Daniel has performed organ recitals throughout the United States, including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., St. Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh, and has appeared as guest organ soloist with the Peabody Concert Orchestra, the United States Naval Academy Brass Ensemble and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He was recently appointed Director of Music and Organist a First (Scots) Presbyterian Church in Charleston.


Stefan EngelsStefan Engels
Sunday, November 10 at 4 p.m.

Stefan Engels was appointed Professor of Organ and Leah Fullinwider Centennials Chair in Music Performance at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, in 2014, where he is also head of the Organ Department at the Meadows School of the Arts. The position is the first Endowed Centennial Chair in Meadows. Engels joined SMU from one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious musical institutions, the University of Music and Performing Arts “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” in Leipzig, Germany, where he had served as professor of organ from 2005 until 2015. Prior to that, he was Associate Professor of Organ and Chair of the Organ Department at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey (1999–2005).


Damin SpritzerDamin Spritzer
Sunday, January 26 at 4 p.m.

Dr. Damin Spritzer, a native of Washington and Oregon, is Assistant Professor of Organ at the University of Oklahoma and Artist-in-Residence for Cathedral Arts at Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Dallas. She has performed in Israel, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Norway, France, and throughout the U.S. She has released five critically-acclaimed CDs for Raven Recordings recorded in France, the U.S., and England. Her Doctor of Musical Arts degree is from the University of North Texas, her MM in Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and her BM in Organ Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.


Michel BouvardMichel Bouvard
Sunday, March 1 at 8 p.m.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart

One of today’s leading French concert organists, Michel Bouvard enjoys a multi-faceted career as a concert artist and master teacher which has taken him to more than 20 countries.

Born in Lyon, France, he began piano study at an early age in Rodez, followed by organ study with Suzanne Chaise-Martin in Paris; he was then accepted into the organ class of André Isoir at the Orsay’s Conservatory, and the classes of Harmony, Counterpoint and Fugue at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique (Paris Conservatory). He later perfected his studies with Michel Chapuis, Francis Chapelet and Jean Boyer while serving as deputy organist at Saint-Séverin Church.

Currently, he serves as Professor of Organ at the Paris Conservatory where he teaches with Olivier Latry. He is also Organist Titulaire of the historic Cavaillé-Coll organ at the Basilique Saint-Sernin, in the city of Toulouse, and is one of four organists serving the Royal Chapel at the Palace of Versailles. He is frequently invited to adjudicate the world’s most prestigious organ competitions. In 2013 he received the distinction of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the Minister of Culture in France and served as a Visiting Professor of Organ for one semester at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester New York. In 2016 he was a featured performer at the American Guild of Organists national convention in Houston, Texas.