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Halloween Organ Concert

Monday, October 30, 2023 - 7:30pm
Stephen Price, UW organ faculty

It’s Alive! The ever-popular Halloween Organ Concert rises from the dead with the arrival of Dr. Stephen Price, the UW’s inaugural Paul B. Fritts Faculty Fellow, who joins with friends to host a program of spooky organ classics and Halloween fun. With Melia Watras, Wyatt Smith, Trey Wheeler, Karen Haining, Emily Chua, and Stephen Price. 


Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Wyatt Smith 

In The Hall of the Mountain King (from Peer Gynt Suite) – Edvard Grieg (b.1843-1907)
Salamanca (from 'Trois Préludes Hambourgeois') Guy Bovet (b.1942)
Stephen Price

Hebräisches Wiegenlied, Op. 35, No. 2 (Hebrew Lullaby) – Joseph Achron (1886-1943)
Après un rêve, Op. 7, No. 1 (After a dream) – Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Lied for Viola and Organ, Op. 2, No. 5 – Toivo Kuula (1883-1918)
Improvisation – Watras/Price
Melia Watras, viola and Stephen Price

From 24 Pièces en style libre, Op.31 – Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
Karen Haining

From 24 Pièces en style libre, Op.31 – Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
Emily Chua

*Pumpkin Carol: “The Twelve Days of Halloween”
"Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from Les Miserables, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Alain Boublil & Herbert Kretzmer.
Trey Wheeler
*Audience Participation

Selections from Star WarsJohn Williams (b. 1932) Arr. by Tony Esposito
Stephen Price

Präludium in f-sharp minor, BuxWV 146 – Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
Wyatt Smith


Emily Chau

Emily Chua is in her final year at the UW, completing her studies in music and math. Her primary instrument is the piano; besides performing, she teaches and accompanies other musicians. She is also a part of the School of Music Student Advisory Council, which works to improve student quality of life and promote student collaboration with school leadership. Emily's interest in music extends beyond the applied, and she has taken classes in music education and music law.
Most recently, Emily has performed with the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra, Music for Charity at UW, at University Chorale's annual cabaret, and at the UW's annual Undergraduate Composers Concert, encompassing a variety of genres. She anticipates continued performances and collaborations this year. In her free time, Emily enjoys transcribing or arranging pop music and OSTs for piano, or learning new instruments. This is her first performance on the organ.

Karen Haining

Karen Haining is a fourth-year student at the University of Washington working towards her B.M. Piano Performance and B.S. Computer Science. She currently studies piano with Dr. Robin McCabe and recently began studying organ with Dr. Stephen Price. In the past, Karen has received top prizes at local piano competitions, including the Chopin NW Festival, the Russian Piano Festival, and more, and has performed live on Classical King FM. Outside of solo works, Karen enjoys playing in chamber ensembles and as a collaborative pianist. Karen loves trying new things and is excited for the opportunity to venture into the world of organ!

Wyatt Smith

Hailed as a performer with “nuance, polish, and personality” (Michael Barone, APM Pipedreams), Wyatt Smith is an American concert organist appearing in both solo and collaborative performances throughout the United States and Europe, performing repertoire spanning from old masters to major works by living composers. Wyatt has performed in 28 states of the USA, along with Germany, France, and England.
An advocate of new music for the organ, Wyatt has commissioned and premiered works by Emma Lou Diemer, Margaret Sandresky, Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra, Carson Cooman, Craig Phillips, Kurt Knecht, and more. These commissions include works based on chants and chorales, programmatic pieces, and chamber music.
Wyatt Smith holds degrees in organ performance from the University of Washington (DMA), Yale University (MM), and the University of South Dakota (BM). His primary mentors include Dr. Carole Terry, Dr. Martin Jean, and Dr. Larry Schou. He is represented by Seven Eight Artists.

Trey Wheeler

Trey Wheeler is currently in his senior year at UW and come June he’ll graduate with Bachelor of Music in both Music Education and Vocal Performance. Currently, Trey is anticipating an upcoming show he’s involved with called ‘Let’s All Drink and Do Broadway”. In March he will have his Senior Voice Recital, singing works by Schumann, Ravel, Sondheim and more. Trey will finish his educational career by student teaching full-time in a high school choir classroom. He is also excited about the many opportunities to come after college.

Artist in Residence Stephen Price, Organ

Stephen C. Price recently joined the music faculty at the University of Washington (Seattle) as the inaugural Paul B. Fritts Faculty Fellow and Artist-in-Residence in organ performance beginning in September 2023.

Dr. Price previously held the position of Assistant Teaching Professor in music (organ) at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. In his previous post, he maintained an organ studio including undergraduate and graduate students, and also taught church music, music history, and music theory courses. His former organ students have obtained church positions throughout the United States and are active within the profession.

Dr. Price is a native of Buffalo, New York. He served as Assistant Minister of Music at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church and Organ Scholar during his senior year of high school at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, where he studied with Andrew Scanlon. Subsequently, he attended Western Connecticut State University, under the direction of Stephen Roberts, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree and served as Organ Scholar at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on the Green in Norwalk, Connecticut, serving under Director of Music, Vince Edwards. Following his undergraduate career, Dr. Price received a Fulbright Scholarship to Toulouse, France, where he studied "Historical and Modern" performance practices of French Organ Music under the guidance of Michel Bouvard and Jan Willem Jansen. Dr. Price then attended the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, receiving the Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees. During his graduate studies, Dr. Price competed and garnered awards in several international competitions, including the Franz Schmidt Organ Competition (Austria), André Marchal Organ Competition (France), and the Canadian International Organ Competition (Montreal). While at Indiana University, he studied under the mentorship of Dr. Janette Fishell.

After completing his coursework at Indiana University, Dr. Price accepted a full-time position as Associate Director of Music and Organist at First United Methodist Church, San Diego, California, serving from 2015-17. In 2019, Dr. Price was a performer and served on the jury for the Regional Competition for Young Organists at the Northeast Regional American Guild of Organists Convention in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Price presented for the OrganFest 2020 virtual PipeTalk series titled "A Discussion for New Organ Teachers: Where to Start and How to Proceed?" In the fall of 2020, Dr. Price participated in a webinar series on teaching, presenting the topic "Building an Organist Artistry through Literature Choices," sponsored by the AGO's committee on continuing professional education.

In addition to his teaching duties at Ball State, Dr. Price served as the coordinator for the Sursa American Organ Competition for High School and Pre-Professional organists hosted at Ball State. He also served on the Organ Historical Society's Advisory Membership Committee and the American Guild of Organists Education Committee. Upon invitation, Dr. Price served as an adjudicator for the First Presbyterian National Organ Playing Competition (Fort Wayne, IN); and the Strader Organ Scholarship Competition (University of Cincinnati). While residing in Indiana, Dr. Price served at Plainfield United Methodist (Plainfield, IN), as choir director and organist; Holy Trinity Lutheran ELCA (New Castle, IN), and as Organist at High Street United Methodist Church, Muncie, Indiana, where he initiated the church's first organ scholar position to inspire and train future church musicians in East Central Indiana.

Recent appearances include the 2022 Organ Historical Society Convention (Columbus, OH); St. Ita's Roman Catholic Church (Chicago); Zion Lutheran Church (Fort Wayne, IN); St. John the Divine (New York City); and First Presbyterian Church (Buffalo, NY). Additionally, Michael Barone has featured recordings and live performances on the Pipedreams Broadcast on NPR.

Dr. Price's debut album, Paris Impact Organ Suites, has been released on the Raven recording label and is available for purchase at

Melia Watras (Photo: Michelle Smith Lewis)

Melia Watras has been hailed by Gramophone as “an artist of commanding and poetic personality” and by The Strad as “staggeringly virtuosic.” As a violist, composer and collaborative artist, she has sustained a distinguished career as a creator and facilitator of new music and art. The 2023-24 season includes the release of her new album Play/Write, which features her own compositions and works by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti and Frances White; the world premiere of Watras’s Fantasies in alto clef for viola ensemble, commissioned by the American Viola Society for their 2024 festival in Los Angeles; and the debut of Watras’s Sarabanda for solo viola, which will be premiered and recorded as part of Atar Arad’s project, Partita Party.

Watras’s discography has received considerable attention from the press and the public. Her album String Masks, a collection of her own compositions including the titular work which utilizes Harry Partch instruments, was praised for “not only the virtuoso’s sensitive playing, but also her innovative and daring spirit,” by the Journal of the American Viola Society. Her compositional debut album, Firefly Songs, was hailed for “distilling rich life experiences into strikingly original musical form” by Textura. Schumann Resonances was described by the American Record Guide as “a rare balance of emotional strength and technical delicacy.” The Strad called 26 “a beautiful celebration of 21st century viola music.” Ispirare made numerous Best of 2015 lists, including the Chicago Reader’s (“Watras knocked the wind out of me with the dramatically dark beauty of this recording”). Short Stories was a Seattle Times Critics’ Pick, with the newspaper marveling at her “velocity that seems beyond the reach of human fingers.” Of her debut solo CD (Viola Solo), Strings praised her “stunning virtuosic talent” and called her second release (Prestidigitation) “astounding and both challenging and addictive to listen to.”

Watras’s compositions have been performed in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Bloomington (IN), Columbus (GA), Denmark, Spain, Switzerland and Wales. She has been commissioned by the Avalon String Quartet, violinists Mark Fewer, Rachel Lee Priday and Michael Jinsoo Lim, cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, pianist Cristina Valdés, accordionist Jeanne Velonis, violist Rose Wollman, and has had works performed by artists such as violist Atar Arad, singer Galia Arad, pianist Winston Choi, Harry Partch Instrumentarium Director Charles Corey, violinists Tekla Cunningham, Manuel Guillén and Yura Lee, vocalist Carrie Henneman Shaw, percussionist Bonnie Whiting and the ensemble Frequency. Her music has been heard on National Public Radio’s Performance Today, and can be found on the albums Play/Write; String Masks; 3 Songs for Bellows, Buttons and Keys; Firefly Songs; Schumann Resonances and 26. Watras’s adaptation of John Corigliano’s Fancy on a Bach Air for viola is published by G. Schirmer, Inc. and can be heard on her Viola Solo album.

For twenty years, Watras concertized worldwide and recorded extensively as violist of the renowned Corigliano Quartet, which she co-founded. The quartet appears on 13 albums, including their recording on the Naxos label, which was honored as one of the Ten Best Classical Recordings of the Year by The New Yorker.

Melia Watras studied with Atar Arad at Indiana University, earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. While at Indiana, Watras began her teaching career as Professor Arad’s Associate Instructor, and was a member of the faculty as a Visiting Lecturer. She went on to study chamber music at the Juilliard School while serving as a teaching assistant to the Juilliard String Quartet.

Watras is currently Professor of Viola and Chair of Strings at the University of Washington, where she holds the Ruth Sutton Waters Endowed Professorship and was awarded the Adelaide D. Currie Cole Endowed Professorship, the Donald E. Petersen Endowed Fellowship, the Kreielsheimer and Jones Grant for Research Excellence in the Arts, and the Royalty Research Fund. Watras has given viola and chamber music classes at schools such as Indiana University, Cleveland Institute of Music, Strasbourg Conservatoire (France), and Chosun University (South Korea). She frequently returns to her alma mater, Indiana, to teach as a guest professor. She plays a viola made by Samuel Zygmuntowicz.