Diane Meredith Belcher
Biography & Publicity Information
Organist Diane Meredith Belcher brings to the music world performances of rare artistry; her stirringly expressive, dazzlingly clear, and astoundingly virtuosic playing has thrilled audiences throughout the United States, in Europe and Canada since her solo debut at age fifteen. Among her many recital credits are Grace Cathedral, San Francisco; the opening concert of The Wanamaker Organ's 100th anniversary, Philadelphia; Saint Thomas Church, New York; The Oregon Bach Festival; Woolsey Hall, Yale University; The Cleveland Museum of Art; West Point Cadet Chapel; Spivey Hall, Morrow, Georgia; Girard College, Philadelphia; The Wildwood Festival, Little Rock; Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago; Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City; First Congregational Church, Los Angeles; The Auditorium, Independence, Missouri; Ned Rorem's 80th birthday celebration, Philadelphia; Portland City Hall, Maine; and the Crystal Cathedral, Los Angeles. In 2006 she performed solo recitals at all three of the major new American concert halls with pipe organs: Disney Hall, Los Angeles; Verizon Hall, Philadelphia; and Benaroya Hall, Seattle, as well as the 50th anniversary convention of the Organ Historical Society, and the national convention of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
Ms. Belcher's orchestral appearances are numerous, and include the Philadelphia, Hatfield (England), Syracuse, Memphis, Wichita, Columbus, Georgia, and Curtis Symphony orchestras, and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Recently she made a return appearance with the Jacksonville Symphony in a special program featuring the organ throughout, and also performed the world premiere of Roxanna Panufnik's Love Abide with the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia. She is an avid orchestral and chamber musician, and has collaborated with conductors Fabio Mechetti, Rossen Milanov, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Alan Balter, George del Gobbo, and William Smith, and such noted artists such as Joseph Alessi, trombone, Soovin Kim, violin, Adriana Zabala, mezzo-soprano, Rob Roy McGregor, trumpet, and Jacqueline Horner, soprano.
Among her several recordings is the premiere CD of the stunning Glatter-Gotz/ Rosales organ in Claremont, California, which won The Absolute Sound's Golden Ear Award, as well as fervent reviews from publications such as Germany's Orgel International, which proclaimed, "Gigantic! Diane Meredith Belcher's playing is exemplary in every respect." Her performances and interviews appear often on radio and television interviews and shows, such as American Public Radio Media's PIPEDREAMS, and she is often featured in newpapers and music magazines, such as a recent article in the English journal "Choir and Organ." She is the organist for WHYY TV's broadcast/podcast of the spectacular new Fred J. Cooper Memorial organ, built by the Dobson organ company, at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall in Philadelphia.
Ms. Belcher studied organ with David Spicer, John Weaver, Clarence Watters, David Craighead, and Wilma Jensen; she graduated from The Curtis Institute of Music, and earned her master's degree at The Eastman School of Music. A laureate of both the Saint Albans (England) and Chartres (France) international organ competitions -- two of the world's most prestigious such events -- she also took top prize in the American Guild of Organists' professional certification examinations. For a time she was an assistant organist at the Grand Court Organ in Philadelphia's John Wanamaker Store, performing twice weekly on the world's largest organ. Her debut recording, made at age twenty-three on the famed Girard College organ, was hailed by American Record Guide as "...glowingly brilliant, rhythmically vibrant, consistently expressive, and full of both atmosphere and personality - in short, everything that artistic organ playing should be."
In demand by her colleagues, she is a frequent performer at music conferences; her third appearance at a national convention of the American Guild of Organists culminated in a thunderous standing ovation from the nearly-three thousand member audience. Of her recent concert in Nova Scotia for the Royal Canadian College of Organists, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald praised her "musical elegance, clarity, projection and mastery of style' an amazing display of musical virtuosity of the highest order."
Diane Meredith Belcher has been a church musician and choral conductor for over 30 years, having served churches in Philadelphia, Memphis, Syracuse, and Rochester, NY, and was the founding director of the Memphis Concert Chorale. In recent years she has served as Organist/Choirmaster at Old St. Paul's Church, Baltimore, Old Christ Church, Philadelphia, and Saint Mark's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia. Ms. Belcher is often invited to lead workshops and master classes, and to sit on the jury of music competitions. She has taught organ extensively, and has served on the faculties of the University of Memphis, Westminster Choir College, and the University of Pennsylvania. Her present post is Director of Music and Organist at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Beverly, Massachusetts, where she plays a 1908 Hook-Hastings pipe organ with a new console commissioned from Dobson Pipe Organ Builders (2013), directs the semi-professional St. Mary's Choir, and oversees a staff of seven professional cantors. Also a composer, she has written a small body of organ and choral music.