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  French on the Flentrop

J. Melvin Butler


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J. Melvin Butler has been Organist/Choirmaster of St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle since 1992.  At St. Mark’s he is responsible for the entire music program which includes directing three choirs and playing the four-manual Flentrop organ.  He is also Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington where he teaches organ improvisation.  From 1972 through 1991 he was Organist/Choirmaster of the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY.  During that time he was also Associate Professor of Church Music at the Eastman School of Music, a violist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and Music Director and Conductor of the Rochester Bach Festival Chorus.  From 1968 to 1972 he was violist with the U. S. Navy String Quartet and Organist of the First Congregational Church in Washington, DC.                

As organist, Dr. Butler has performed extensively in the United States and Great Britain; his New York City debut was in 1971, and his London debut was in 1989 at St. Paul's Cathedral. Butler has also performed as baroque violist and harpsichordist with the Genesee Baroque Players in Upstate New York.  Also a published composer, his works have been performed throughout the United States.  In 1983 he was awarded a Winston Churchill Traveling Fellowship by the New York City branch of the English-Speaking Union for choral conducting study in England and Scotland.  He often presents master classes and lectures on various aspects of church music, choral conducing, and hymn playing and has been a featured performer/lecturer at several AGO conventions.  Originally from Burlington, NC, Butler received the Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music as an organ student of Garth Peacock, and the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Eastman School of Music where he studied organ with David Craighead.




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