About David Hurd

The only time the International Congress of Organists was held in the United States (Philadelphia 1977), a young organist from New York City was awarded the First Prize in Organ Performance by a panel of distinguished international judges. The next day, another panel of distinguished judges from around the world, again operating in the blind, awarded the First Prize in Organ Improvisation--and the winner was the same young American organist. David Hurd, then Music Director at the Church of the Intercession (Episcopal) in Harlem, within the space of a couple of days had walked away with the two most prestigious organ prizes in the world at the time.

Two decades later David Hurd is widely recognized as one of the foremost church musicians and concert organists in the country, with a long list of awards, prizes, honors and achievements to his credit. He studied both at the Preparatory Division of the Juilliard School and at Manhattan’s High School of Music and Art. Later he attended Oberlin College in Ohio, graduating with a music degree in 1971, and went on for further study at the University of North Carolina and, back in New York, at the Manhattan School of Music. His organ teachers have included Bronson Ragan, Garth Peacock, Arthur Poister, and Rudolph Kremer.

Since 1976, David Hurd has worked at The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City, first as Director of Chapel Music and later also as Professor of Church Music and Organist. In the late eighties, three other seminaries awarded him honorary doctorates for his contributions to church music. He also serves as Music director of the Church of the Holy Apostles in New York City. 

David Hurd is the composer of dozens of choral and organ works published by a number of major houses. He was Vice Chairman of the Standing Commission on Church Music of the Episcopal Church for a number of years.

As a concert organist David Hurd enjoys wide recognition both at home and abroad. He has performed throughout North America, and has been a featured artist at both national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists. In 1981 he was invited to perform at the Internationaal Orgelfestival Haarlem, which meets in Gouda, the Netherlands, during which he received the diploma for improvisation at the Stitchting Internationaal Orgelconcours.

For relaxation David Hurd may take a break from composing and from the organ, but not from music. He loves to play recorders, and is accomplished on instruments from sopranino through contrabass. Evenings, when not on the road performing, may well find him practicing with the Chelsea Winds, an ensemble he helped found in 1993.


“He shapes music with the structural insight of a composer and executes it with the boldness of an improviser....Hurd played with incisive rhythmic drive and imagination.” –The Boston Globe

“Every so often a performer comes along to remind us that the romantic impulse is not dead in music, that playing can be both intellectually rigorous and emotionally satisfying. Such a performer is organist David Hurd....It was an impressive display of virtuosity.”
–The Kansas City Star

“An immaculate performance by a major virtuoso...A player whose name will soar in prominence!” –The Diapason, Chicago

“David Hurd gave arguably the finest organ recital to be heard in the city for some time....One can only hope he comes again soon.” 

–The Calgary Herald, Canada

“Nothing was commonplace. Hurd paints his musical ideas with bold colorful strokes that emit an almost visceral electricity. Immediately striking was his use of dynamics, timbre, and melodic direction to create a shifting contour that flowed as mighty forces of nature. Whatever the emotional effect produced, Hurd seemed to live within it fully....wildly virtuosic.”  –The Blade, Toledo, Ohio