Frederick Swann is past President (2002-2008) of the American Guild of Organists, an organization of over 20,000 members in chapters throughout the United States and several foreign countries. He is Organist Emeritus of the Crystal Cathedral and of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles and is currently Organ Artist-in-Residence at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, California. Mr. Swann is also University Organist and Artist Teacher of Organ at the University of Redlands.
One reviewer noted that in his 65-year career, Mr. Swann has probably presided over more ranks of pipes and stopknobs than any other organist in history. This is perhaps true, given the size and prominence of the instruments with which his career has been notably associated… Riverside Church in New York City (1957-1982), The Crystal Cathedral (1982-1998), and First Congregational Church of Los Angeles (1998-2001).
Mr. Swann holds degrees from Northwestern University and the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York, each granted “with distinction”. In addition to his prominent church positions, he was Chair of the Organ Department at the Manhattan School of Music for ten years and served on the faculties of Teacher’s College of Columbia University and the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Mr. Swann has performed nearly 3,000 recitals in major churches and concert halls throughout the United States, Austria, Australia, Denmark, England, Germany, Korea, and Russia. He is the recipient of numerous awards in performance. In 2004, he was selected by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to perform the inaugural solo organ recital on the spectacular new organ in The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he played the inaugural recitals on the organs in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and Davies Hall in San Francisco.
In June of 2008, Mr. Swann performed two Preview Recitals on the William J. Gillepsie Concert Organ in the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and he has recorded the first CD on this major new Fisk instrument (released March 2009 by Gothic Records). His most recent (and final) recording, on the Casavant organ in Memorial Chapel at the University of Redlands was released by Gothic Records in January 2010. Although officially “retired”, Mr. Swann continues to perform on a reduced schedule of solo recitals and in concert with orchestras and choral groups.