Douglas Major's Biography:
Born in 1953 near Scranton, Pennsylvania, Douglas Major studied organ in St. Louis under distinguished composer Ronald Arnatt and was appointed by the late Paul Callaway as assistant organist at the prestigious Washington (DC) National Cathedral in 1974, 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. 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.
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. His two most 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.
In addition to his demanding concert schedule, he composes a considerable volume of music for organ, synthesizer, choirs, and chamber ensembles, and also serves as Music Director of St. Michaelís Church in Marblehead. 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 Rockport, Mass., with his wife and three children, where his hobbies include baseball and model railroading. One of his latest endeavors is a new appointment as "Composer-in-Residence" for the Rockport "Precision Lawn Chair Drill Team", a renowned group of once-per-year fun-loving people who march in the annual Rockport Fourth of July Parade! He also serves on various advisory boards, including the historic Methuen (Mass.) Memorial Music Hall and the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ at Lord & Taylor in Philadelphia, PA - the largest organ in the world.
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