From David Browder:I am pleased to announce that we have chosen an interim Director of Music for Saint Thomas’ Church and School: his name is Bryan Anderson, and he has accepted the position. He has a one-year appointment, and will be a candidate for permanent Director of Music. Bryan will join us in September.
When the position became open a couple of months ago, Dr. Jan Taylor, Chair of the Search Advisory Committee, and I decided that we needed to continue building on the successes we have had in our music program over the past few years. We decided on a plan that would include a professional interim Director of Music who could capture and continue the improvements we have seen.
The Plan for Music
Our long-term plan for music will be built on this foundation: the Music Department will facilitate and encourage congregational investment in parish worship. Participation is one thing — but investment is something much more powerful. This primary responsibility will lie on the shoulders of the Rector and Director of Music.
We will consider all aspects of the service, weighing beauty, message, efficiency, effectiveness, and flow of worship. There must be congruity with theology, pastoral concerns, tradition, new opportunities, and congregational context. Our choral advances will be upheld and showcased. Our hymnody and psalmody must not be too difficult for the congregation to participate in. It must foster investment, love of worship, and a desire to invite others.
We are also going to work at incorporating children’s choirs into our music. In the short-term, we are going to try and make this happen however we can. The school will be the obvious place to look. Bryan has done extensive work with children’s choirs so he understands their mechanics, pitfalls, and workings.
In the long-term, we hope to bring these ensembles together with the parish choir. This will not be watered-down or diluted music.
Bryan comes to us from St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Houston, TX, where he served as Associate Organist. He previously held the position of organ scholar at Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England, and held positions at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Tenth Presbyterian Church, both in Philadelphia. He has taken an active role in church music education, teaching children’s choirs in England and Houston, and working in various courses and events of the Royal School of Church Music in America.
Bryan received his Master’s Degree in organ performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in May 2018, where he studied with Ken Cowan. Bryan’s undergraduate work was completed at the Curtis Institute of Music, resulting in his Bachelor’s Degree in organ with Alan Morrison. He received an Artist Diploma in harpsichord.
As an organist, Bryan has performed at such venues as the Kennedy Center, Verizon Hall, Spivey Hall, Princeton University Chapel, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (NYC), and Woolsey Hall at Yale University. For several years, Bryan was an assistant organist at the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ in Philadelphia, performing concerts on a weekly basis. Bryan is a past winner of the American Guild of Organists’ Regional Competition for Young Organists (2011), and the Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition (2009).
The Diapason, which named Bryan to its “20 under 30” Class of 2017, called him “brilliant, yet quiet and unassuming.” Classical Voice of North Carolina described his playing as “simply first class.” He has been broadcast on American Public Media’s “Pipedreams;” other credits include performances on NPR’s “From the Top” and WWFM’s Curtis Calls. Having performed to acclaim at national conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society, Bryan’s reputation as a sensitive and facile musician is already well-established.
Bryan is married to Julia, and they have a one month old son, Wesley.
For more about Bryan, visit his website bryan-anderson.com.