Harry L. Huff
Minister of Music
Harry was called as Minister of Music and Organist at Old South in September 2007. He plays the 1921 E.M. Skinner organ, op. 308 of 115 ranks, conducts the Old South Choir, and supervises the church’s extensive music program, which includes a jazz ministry, the Old South Ringers and numerous concerts. He is currently also Music Director and Lecturer on Ministry at the Harvard Divinity School and Chapter Organist in The Memorial Church, Harvard University, as well as an Associate in the Music Department and an Affiliate of Lowell House at Harvard, and an Artist Associate of the St. Botolph Club in Boston.
From 1984 until 2004 Harry was Director of Music for Calvary Episcopal Church, and from 1986 until 2004 he was Organist and Artist-in-Residence at Union Theological Seminary, both in New York City. His other New York positions have included Adjunct Organist in St. Paul’s Chapel, Columbia University, Organist of Temple Shaaray Tefila, Director of Choral Activities at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, CUNY and Artistic Director for the St. George’s Choral Society.
Harry was born in Sevierville, Tennessee. During his studies in the 1970s at the North Carolina School of the Arts and later at Yale University, he was the winner of organ competitions sponsored by the American Guild of Organists, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, the National Society of Arts and Letters and the Music Teachers' National Association. He has been a guest artist at the Aspen, Spoleto, Mostly Mozart, Copenhagen and Avignon summer festivals, and has appeared as soloist with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the American Composers' Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the New York Pops and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Before moving to Boston in 2004, he enjoyed a 26-year varied career as a keyboard artist and conductor in New York City, collaborating with such celebrated performers as classical singers Jessye Norman and Håkan Hagegård, pop singers Judy Collins and Art Garfunkel, and choreographers Bill T. Jones, Lar Lubavitch and Meredith Monk. His discography includes collaborations with soprano Jessye Norman, performance artist Meredith Monk, soprano saxophonist Anders Paulsson, English hornist Thomas Stacy and guitarist Nicolas Goluses, as well as recordings of the organ music of the late composers Calvin Hampton and Chris DeBlasio, for whom he serves as musical executor.
Harry’s recent solo organ performances have included the E. Power Biggs Celebrity Series Recitals in Busch Hall at Harvard, Peter Schickele’s "PDQ Bach" concerts in Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Busoni's Doktor Faust. He presented the American premiere of Philip Glass's Voices for Organ and Didgeridoo in Alice Tully Hall for the 2001 Lincoln Center Festival with Aboriginal didgeridoo player Mark Atkins, and he appeared with the Paul Winter Consort on the newly restored Massey concert organ at the 2003 Chautauqua Summer Festival.
Harry describes his ministry at Old South by saying, “Old South is the dream position of my life. Everything I’ve experienced in my life thus far has prepared me to fulfill the musical requirements of this marvelous community of faith. Within the structure of weekly worship at Old South, I feel that I can present the pomp and majesty of high Anglican worship, mixed with a little down-home East Tennessee mountain Baptist zest, blended with the time-honored great tradition of Lutheran music, and perhaps even a little Middle Eastern/Eastern European spice that I’ve gleaned from my years as an organist in Jewish temples and synagogues, as well as a touch of gospel, jazz and Broadway. I believe that all of these ingredients can come together to make a delectable feast of music in our glorious worship space in Copley Square!”