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Pamela Decker


Pamela Decker is Professor of Organ/Music Theory/Composition at the University of Arizona in Tucson and organist at Dove of Peace Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Tucson.  Her works for various instruments and/or ensembles are published by Wayne Leupold Editions (The Leupold Foundation), C.F. Peters, Oxford University Press, Hinshaw, Augsburg Fortress, World Library Publications.    

Pamela Decker holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stanford University.  She also studied both organ and composition as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany.  At the 2018 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), Pamela Decker received the 2018 AGO Distinguished Composer Award; this is a biennial award that is the highest honor that is conferred on a composer of organ literature. She has won prizes in national and international competitions as both performer and composer.  In 2004 she was awarded the Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize for Research/Creative Activity at the University of Arizona, and in 2000 she was awarded the College of Fine Arts Award for Teaching Excellence.


As both recitalist and composer, Pamela Decker has been active in the United States, Europe, the Baltic Region, and Canada.   She has been a featured recitalist in many conventions and festivals, including the American Guild of Organists (AGO) National Convention (twice), three AGO regional conventions, the Annual Conference on Organ Music at the University of Michigan, the Twice Festival, the Redlands Organ Festival, Tallinn International Organ Festival, and the Festival International d’Orgue de Monaco, and new music conferences and festivals in the United States, Canada, and Europe.  Her compositions have been performed in at least nineteen countries and recorded commercially on the Loft Recordings, Gothic, ReZound (Loft), Albany, Raven, Pro Organo, MSR Classics, Arkay, and Arktos labels.  Leading performers such as Faythe Freese, Douglas Cleveland, Janice Beck, Christa Rakich, Jonathan Rudy, Margaret Martin Kvamme, and Andrew Peters have recorded major works by Pamela Decker on recordings that have received excellent reviews in many journals.  Of the Loft Recordings disc entitled Decker Plays Decker:  Desert Wildflowers (LRCD 1076), a Gramophone review referred to Decker as “an organist noble in the Bach line…as a composer-performer she falls clearly into the lineage from which Bach and Duruflé are but two points on a long and distinguished timeline.”

Pamela Decker’s list of works includes choral, vocal, orchestral, and chamber music, as well as organ, piano, and harpsichord works.  Elegy and Dances, her concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra (also in a version for alto saxophone and organ; both versions published by C.F. Peters) was premiered in the Great Hall of the Moscow-Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow by saxophonist Frederick Hemke and organist Douglas Cleveland, both of whom have enjoyed illustrious careers at both national and international levels.  El Tigre, her concerto for organ and orchestra, was premiered at the Eastern Music Festival under the baton of Gerard Schwarz, long-time conductor of the Seattle Symphony and the Director of the Eastern Music Festival; concert organist Edie Johnson was the soloist. In July of 2018, Douglas Cleveland presented the world premiere performance of Decker’s 40-minute work titled The Seven Last Words and Triumph of Christ, a nine-piece cycle of solo organ works commissioned by the American Guild of Organists in recognition of her selection as 2018 AGO Distinguished Composer; the premiere was a featured evening program as part of the 2018 AGO National Convention in Kansas City.  On the occasion of this premiere, the performance was enhanced by interpretive dance, choreographed by Dallas choreographer and dancer Kaley Jensen.    

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