SOP Podcast #118: Angela Kraft Cross on recording organ works of Mendelssohn and the Germanic tradition
Welcome to Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast #118!
Today's guest is Angela Kraft Cross, San Francisco Bay Area organist, pianist and composer. She graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in 1980 with bachelor's degrees in Physics and Organ Performance. She then earned her Doctor of Medicine degree at Loma Linda University, where she subsequently completed her residency in ophthalmology.
In 1993, she completed her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the College of Notre Dame with Thomas LaRatta, with whom she continues to study. Her organ teachers have included Louis Robilliard, Marie-Louise Langlais, Sandra Soderlund, S. Leslie Grow, William Porter and Garth Peacock. In 2001, she was awarded the Associateship credential of the American Guild of Organists (AAGO) after passing rigorous playing and written examinations. She has studied composition with Pamela Decker in recent years.
Dr. Kraft Cross has performed extensively on both organ and piano, having given over four hundred concerts across the United States, in Canada, England, Holland, France, Hungary, Lesotho and Guam, including such venues as Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Sulpice and the Madeleine in Paris, Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., St. Patrick's Cathedral and St. Thomas Church in New York City, Methuen Memorial Music Hall and Trinity Church in Boston, E. Power Biggs' organ at Harvard, and Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral and Southwark Cathedral in London.
She has been featured soloist with local Bay Area ensembles; Master Sinfonia Orchestra, Soli Deo Gloria, Sine Nomine, Masterworks Chorale, Viva la Musica and the San Jose Symphonic Choir as well as Seattle's Philharmonia Northwest Chamber Orchestra and the Skagit Symphony in northern Washington. In May 2014, Masterworks Chorale premiered her new choral work Solomon's Love. In July 2011, she was a featured recitalist at the San Francisco AGO Region IX Convention.
She has released seven CDs; three with Arkay Records: two on organ (French Romantic and North German Baroque) and one on piano (Classical Piano Sonatas); and three with Compass Audio in Europe: (200 Years in the Germanic Tradition, the Majesty of Cavaillé-Coll and a 2CD set of Mendelssohn's organ works recorded on the 1801 organ of St Margaret's Lothbury, London).
Three of her organ albums have received critical acclaim in The American Organist magazine. Most recently she has released a CD of her organ compositions entitled Sharing the Journey, recorded at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. She has served as the organist of the Congregational Church of San Mateo since 1993, and is currently the Artist in Residence. She is also a staff organist at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
In addition to her musical career, Dr. Kraft Cross retired in 2011 having worked for 22 years as an ophthalmic surgeon at the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Redwood City, and now practices ophthalmology with the Peninsula Ophthalmology Group.
Dr. Kraft Cross is committed to the musical education of young people, and since 1997 has been instrumental in organizing an annual Organ Camp for young pianists headquartered at her church. She is the founding director of the San Francisco Peninsula Organ Academy, a nonprofit organization formed in 2014 to support young concert organists with scholarships on short intensive overseas study trips.
Dr. Kraft Cross also served as faculty and or performed in Pipe Organ Encounters in San Francisco 2005, San Diego 2012, and Stanford 2013. She is the Regional Coordinator for Education for Region IX AGO and a member of the executive board for the Junior Bach Festival in Berkeley. She is also a member of the Concert Artist Cooperative.
In this conversation, Angela is joined by her husband Robert who records her performances. They shares insights about her practice procedures, her challenges, her organ recordings, her passion for Mendelssohn organ works and Germanic organ tradition and about her future project recording organ symphonies of Vierne.
We have recorded our conversation at Vilnius University St. John's church before Angela's concert with San Francisco Viva la Musica choir and orchestra.
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