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Carol Williams ’98AD is first American woman to serve as civic organist

First female civic organist broadens boundaries of organ performance
November 8, 2013

CWilliamsOrganist Carol Williams ’98AD has been the Seventh Civic Organist of San Diego since 2001. Williams is the first woman to hold such a position in the United States.

As Civic Organist, she plays weekly Sunday afternoon concerts. Her innovative programs attempt to redefine the organ’s appeal and help expose the instrument to larger audiences.

Williams is also the Organist in Residence of St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego and the Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society, which hosts an annual International Summer Organ Festival. At the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, she recently performed a twelve-hour marathon concert in aid of wounded war veterans and raised over $15,000. This December, she will test her endurance again with a five-hour benefit concert for the American Red Cross.

Carol Williams has concertized all over the United States and Europe. In addition to numerous recordings, she is the host of the TourBus DVD series about great organs of the world. In the latest release, “TourBus 9,” Ms. Williams visits the massive organ at the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles, a five-manual instrument that is the largest church organ in the world.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Spreckels Organ in 2015, Williams will commission works from leading composers on behalf of the Spreckels Organ Society.

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