David von Behren, the new Assistant Organist and Choirmaster, Memorial Church of Harvard University. Courtesy photo
Acclaimed organist David von Behren is joining the staff of the Memorial Church of Harvard University as Assistant University Organist and Choirmaster. His appointment is scheduled to begin in August, prior to the Fall Term.
Current associate organist Thomas Sheehan is leaving the Memorial Church at the end of this Spring Term to take a position at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
“We are delighted to announce that David is joining the staff of the Memorial Church,” said Edward Elwyn Jones, Gund Organist and Choirmaster. “One of the most gifted organists of his generation, David is a well-rounded musician and a delightful person. I eagerly await our work together.”
Von Behren earned his Master of Music degree at Yale University’s School of Music/Institute of Sacred Music, studying organ with Martin Jean and improvisation with Jeffrey Brillhart. He is also a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance and music theory (double degree), pursuing organ studies with Todd Wilson.
Awarded the 2018 Mary Baker Prize in Organ Accompanying, von Behren served as organ scholar at Trinity Church on the Green in New Haven, Conn., under the direction of Walden Moore, working with the Trinity Choir of Men & Boys and Choir of Men & Girls. Prior to his appointment at Trinity on the Green, he served four years as organ scholar at Plymouth Church UCC in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Von Behren is the first organist to receive the Cleveland Institute of Music’s prestigious Darius Milhaud Award, given each year to a student “who displays qualities of unusual talent and creativity, sensitivity, expressiveness, strong love for and dedication to the musical arts, outstanding musical accomplishment, and evidence of academic excellence.” He also was named one of The Diapason’s “20 Under 30” Class of 2016. The winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award on National Public Radio's (NPR) From the Top, David’s live radio performance has reached over half a million listeners.
A native of Falls City, Neb., von Behren actively advocates for introducing and exciting younger audiences about classical music. In 2013, he began “The Little Stars Summer Program,” a music program for children in Falls City, in association with NPR’s From the Top and The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. As a recitalist, David continues to concertize extensively throughout the United States and Europe.