Concert and recording artist Christa Rakich performs widely throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. She is Visiting Professor of Organ at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio through the academic year 2019-2020. Near her home in Connecticut, she maintains two Artist-in-Residencies: St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford and the Congregational Church of Somers. Past Artist-in-Residencies have included the University of Pennsylvania and First Lutheran Church in Boston.
As a Fulbright Scholar, Christa Rakich studied with renowned Bach interpreter Anton Heiller at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Organ and German from Oberlin College (Phi Beta Kappa). After receiving her Master’s degree with honors from New England Conservatory, she joined the faculty there, teaching for many years, and serving ultimately as department co-chair. She has also served on the faculties of Westminster Choir College, Brandeis University, and the University of Connecticut, and as Assistant University Organist at Harvard.
An avid collaborator, Christa Rakich frequently performs with her colleague Susan Ferré at the Big Moose Bach Festival in New Hampshire. With flutist Wendy Rolfe and gambist Alice Robbins, she is a founding member of the Marion Baroque Ensemble, based in Massachusetts, and was for many years keyboardist for the Fanfare Consort, a Connecticut-based ensemble that included baroque trumpet, strings, lute, organ, and harpsichord. With cellist Kathleen Schiano, Rakich commissioned and premiered a Sonata for Organ and Cello by Dutch composer Margaretha Christina de Jong.
One of her recent concerts for the Boston Clavichord Society, an organization she also serves as Vice-President, included a performance with clavichordist Erica Johnson of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony on 2 clavichords.
A prizewinner at international organ competitions, Rakich has received particular acclaim for her interpretations of the music of J.S. Bach. She has recorded his Clavierübung III, Leipzig Chorales, and Trio Sonatas. Other organ recordings include:
- Deferred Voices: Organ Music by Women Composers
- Transcriptions from St. Justin’s
- Live from St. Mark’s Cathedral
- From the Ashes: Richards-Fowkes Opus 21 in Somers
- A Tribute to Yuko Hayashi: Richards-Fowkes Opus 14 at Duke University (release in 2019).
Aaron Tan is a Canadian organist, pianist, and materials scientist. His primary musical tutelage has been under John Tuttle, David Palmer, and Joel Hastings. His musical upbringing began on the piano and later on the violin. Receiving his Associate (ARCT) diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada at the age of twelve, he went on to earn his Licentiate (LTCL) and Fellowship (FTCL) diplomas in Piano Performance from Trinity College of Music (London, England) at 13 and 15 years, respectively. When he was 18, he also completed his ARCT diploma in Violin Performance.
In 2004, under the auspices of the Barwell Scholarship (awarded to pianists interested in learning the organ), he began organ studies with John Tuttle while concurrently entering as a freshman in Engineering Science at the University of Toronto. Since then, he has gone on to complete both Associate (ARCCO) and Fellowship (FRCCO) diplomas in organ from the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO). In addition, he has also won numerous noteworthy contests and scholarships including the Toronto RCCO Young Organists Competition, the Osborne Organ Competition of the Summer Institute of Church Music (Ontario), the RCCO's National Organ Playing Competition, the Charlotte Hoyt Bagnall Scholarship for Church Musicians, the Lilian Forsyth Scholarship, the West Chester University Organ Competition, the Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition, and the Sursa American Organ Competition. In July 2018, he received both first and audience prizes in the prestigious AGO National Young Artists (NYACOP) competition.
Aaron moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2007 to pursue a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. During his time in Ann Arbor, he had the opportunity to study the organ with Marilyn Mason, University Organist. After graduating in 2012 he began work as a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Michigan's Laboratory for Complex Materials and Thin Films Research, studying the dielectric and thermal properties of polymer thin films. After an eleven-year hiatus, Aaron returned to playing the piano in 2012. He was a participant in the Poland International Piano Festival that summer, and received first prize in the festival's competition. He regularly performs on both the piano and organ.
Aaron recently completed a four-year position as Organ Scholar at St. John's Episcopal Church in Detroit, Michigan, working with Huw Lewis. He was soon afterwards appointed Artist in Residence at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit, and currently serves as Assistant Organist at Christ Church Cranbrook. More information about Aaron's musical interests and activities can be found at www.AaronTan.org.