Douglas Major's Biography:
Born in 1953 in Berwick, Pennsylvania, Douglas Major studied organ at Webster College earning a Bachelor of Music degree in 1977. While in the St. Louis area he studied under distinguished composer Ronald Arnatt and served as his assistant at Christ Church Cathedral. In 1974 he was appointed by the late Paul Callaway as assistant organist at the prestigious Washington (DC) National Cathedral, when Major was just twenty-one years of age. He succeeded Richard Wayne Dirksen as organist and choirmaster at the Cathedral in 1988, where his first career as a church musician continued to 2002, conducting daily choral services, playing for presidents, kings and queens, and administering one of the countryís largest church music programs and concert schedules, frequently televised nationally.
As an internationally recognized organ solo artist, Douglas Major has toured throughout North America, Europe and the Far East. Dr. Major plays many recitals and concerts each season, as well as concerts with the Empire Brass Quintet (now defunct) and as accompanist for Elizabeth Von Trapp. During the last 30 years, his appearances have taken him all over the United States, from California to Maine, and Florida to Washington and Canada. He has toured as organ soloist with the Orchestre National de France and Lorin Maazel, and toured in Japan in 1992 and again in 2002 with the Empire Brass Quintet. In November of 2005, Major played a concert tour in China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. In May of 2001 and again in 2004 he participated in the American Organists' Festival in Kiev, Ukraine, playing recitals to standing-room-only audiences. By popular demand, he returned to Bermuda in April, 2006, for his third organ concert appearance there. During the last ten seasons, Major has toured the US with Elizabeth Von Trapp and the Empire Brass Quintet, playing in over 45 American cities. In 1995, he was awarded the honorary Doctor of Music degree by Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary.
Dr. Major's solo recordings include eight organ compact discs, recorded on the Washington Cathedral's magnificent 186-rank Skinner organ. With the Empire Brass of Boston, Major has recorded A Bach Festival for Angel/EMI, the all-time best-selling brass and organ album. Two recent recordings include organ music by Bach and a second of music by Widor and Franck, demonstrating the incredible versatility of the Washington Cathedral Great Organ. With Richard Watson, trumpeter, he recorded the CD Hope at the magnificent Methuen Memorial Music Hall.
In addition to his concert schedule, he composes a considerable volume of music for organ, synthesizer, choirs, and chamber ensembles, and has recently retired as Music Director of St. Michaelís Church in Marblehead after 16 years of service there. His recent compositions include Love Poem to God, which was commissioned by the American Guild of Organists; Requiem in C Minor, a large-scale work premiered in Atlanta in October of 2005, and a suite for organ entitled Cape Ann Portraits, based upon locations along the Massachusetts coastline. His compositions include many sacred works, masses, anthems, psalm settings and organ music. Douglas Major now lives in Salem, Mass.
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