Welcome to The LDS Organist Blog

The purpose of this blog is to help pianists learn to become true organists. Many individuals believe that if you play the piano you can play the organ, but the instruments differ greatly. While this blog is specifically geared towards members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, much of the information shared can be utilized by all. I hope that the information I share here will help you become an effective organist in your ward, stake, or other congregation.

Feel free to browse and search this blog. It was started in January 2010 and while new posts aren't added very often, this blog contains a wealth of information and is a wonderful resource for all organists. If you're a new reader, you can find the first lesson here: Before We Begin: Acquiring the Essentials. Also, please "like" the corresponding facebook page, which is updated more often. A link is provided on the right sidebar, or you can click here.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

UCLA Organist Christoph Bull

In recent weeks I've shared information about the three full-time Mormon Tabernacle Organists. I found a video of UCLA organist Christoph Bull that I thought was interesting, so I thought I'd highlight this unconventional organist today.

According to his UCLA bio, Christoph Bull likes organ music, rock music and rocking organ music. He hails from Mannheim, Germany, and has been University Organist and organ professor at UCLA since 2002. He’s also Principal Organist at First United Methodist Church in Santa Monica and concertizes internationally. Most recently he inaugurated the new organ series at Segerstrom Hall (Pacific Symphony) and Villa Aurora. He also completed the premiere recording of the pipe organ at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

He improvised his first tunes on the piano at age five and started playing church services, organ concerts and rock shows at age twelve. He’s been at home in the worlds of classical and rock ever since practicing the organ in the choir loft and with his first rock band in the basement of the same church.

In L.A., he has performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Royce Hall, and First Congregational Church, but also at the Whisky A Go Go, the Viper Room, the Roxy, Cinespace and Hotel Café.

With violin player Lili Haydn he opened up for Cindy Lauper, with Sitar player Nishat Khan he performed in India. He has played the pipe organs at the Catholic Cathedrals of Los Angeles, Salzburg, Saint-Denis and Moscow.

In 2004, Dr. Bull was a featured recitalist and workshop presenter at the National Convention of the American Guild Of Organists. Since then, he’s performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles as a solo performer and with the L.A. Master Chorale.

He has also accompanied Silent Movies on the pipe organ and collaborated with Interpretive Painter Norton Wisdom and videographers Benton C. Bainbridge and S-Video. In 2006 and 2007, he received an ASCAPlus Award for innovative concert programming.

He has worked with the L.A. Master Chorale and Grammy-Award-winning Southwest Chamber Music, but also with Bootsy Collins and George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic.

Outside of music, Christoph has run the L.A. Marathon three times and won the German youth championship in baseball with this team, BC Tornados Mannheim. Other accomplishments include reading the whole Bible, watching all Star Wars movies in a row in chronological order of the story line, and listening to all songs released by Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr.

In this video, UCLA organist Christoph Bull talks about his legacy at Royce (he's only the fifth UCLA organist in history), how to make beautiful music on such a complicated music machine, playing Disney Hall, and why his concerts mix the Beatles with Bach:

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