The LA AGO Podcast

Episode 13 (Dr. Frederick Swann: Celebrating 90 Years)

July 30, 2021 Host: Thompson Howell Season 2 Episode 10
The LA AGO Podcast
Episode 13 (Dr. Frederick Swann: Celebrating 90 Years)
Show Notes

RIP: July 30, 1931 - November 13, 2022

July 30, 2021 is the 90th birthday of American organ icon Dr. Frederick Swann who joined the American Guild of Organists at age 15 and was its president from 2002-2008.

This year marks not only Fred's 90th birthday but his 80th year of being a church organist and his 20th year as Artist-in-Residence at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, California.

Not one to seek the limelight or draw attention to himself, Fred spent most of his career in several very high profile positions that he says he never even applied for. He was simply in the right place at the right time.

Fred graciously took the time to speak with host Thompson Howell about a range of topics including why his plans to retire at age 70 didn't exactly work out; his enthusiasm for the younger generation of organists and his optimism about the future of the organ; the positive impact that newer concert hall organs have had on building the increasing popularity of the organ among the general public; the great influence of the radio program Pipedreams and its host, Michael Barone, in further showcasing and promoting the organ; the necessity of any successful organist to be a good "faker"; an update on when the final work on the restoration of the Hazel Wright Organ at Christ Cathedral (formerly Crystal Cathedral) in Garden Grove, California will be able to be completed; the physical challenges he deals with as he gets older that place limitations on his playing abilities; the gratitude he feels for having been blessed with a wonderful career and supportive friends and colleagues; and much more.

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The AGO Masters Series, Volume 3 featuring Fred Swann: