Cherry Rhodes

Adjunct Professor


Cherry Rhodes is the first American to win an international organ competition (Munich, Germany). During her brilliant career she has toured extensively throughout the major music capitals of America and Europe with recitals in cathedrals, churches, and concert halls,  including Lincoln Center (New York City), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), the Performing Arts Center (Milwaukee), Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), Royal Festival Hall (London), International Performing Arts Center (Moscow), Philharmonic Halls of Berlin, Dortmund, and Luxembourg, the Organ and Architecture Symposium,  and the renowned International September Music Festival of Montreux-Vevey (Switzerland). Other international festivals include those of Paris (Notre Dame and St. Eustache), Munich, Freiburg, Nurnberg, St. Albans, Luxembourg, Vienna, Bratislava, Presov, Gdansk and Warsaw.

As one of the first organists to perform on the organ in the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Rhodes premiered Concierto de Los Angeles by James Hopkins, with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Subsequently, she played the monumental Symphonie Concertante by Joseph Jongen on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Subscription Series and a solo recital sponsored by Toyota.

At age seventeen, Rhodes made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra and later performed many times under the baton of Eugene Ormandy as well as numerous guest conductors.  Since that time she has performed as soloist with orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic (with conductors Simon Rattle and Edo de Waart), the Phoenix Symphony, the Pasadena Chamber Orchestra, the South German Radio Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the French National Radio.

From 1972-1975, Rhodes taught organ at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.  During this time she was Artist-in-Residence at All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, D.C., where she gave recitals and frequently premiered new music.  Numerous composers have written and dedicated works to her, and she has edited several compositions as well.  These include Ascent by Joan Tower (Associated Music Publishers, Inc.), Prelude and Variations on “Old Hundredth” by Calvin Hampton (Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc.), Meditations onSalve, Festa Dies” and Chorale, Diferencias and Glosas on “Puer Natus in Bethlehem” by Joseph Walter (Composer’s Library), and Larry King — The Organ Music for solo organ and organ and tape (Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc.)

Rhodes has recorded for Columbia Records with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Everyone Dance, her critically acclaimed solo recording on the Pro Organo label, has been hailed by The American Organist as “A joyous celebration of unrivaled artistry!”   She has been featured on the CDs Pipedreams Live! (Minnesota Public Radio), Comes Summertime (JAV Recordings), Historic Organs of Boston (The Organ Historical Society), Jean Guillou — Colloques (Augure), Cherry Rhodes…Live (Pro Organo), Cherry Rhodes in Concert and Cherry Rhodes at the Kimmel Center (Delos Productions, Inc.). Many of her performances have been broadcast throughout North America and Europe.

Rhodes is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Dr. Alexander McCurdy.  She received Fulbright and Rockefeller grants for studies in Munich with Karl Richter and in Paris with Marie-Claire Alain and Jean Guillou, who invited her to be his assistant for two years at St. Eustache.

Rhodes, Adjunct Professor of Organ, has taught at the Thornton School of Music since 1975.  Many of her students have won awards, grants, and top prizes in competitions in the United States and Europe. A sought-after musician, she gives master classes and frequently serves as adjudicator for competitions in North America and Europe.

Professional experience

Career Highlights:

  • Debut at age 17, soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Solo recital, Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
  • Three solo recitals, Royal Festival Hall, London
  • One of the first organists to perform on the new organ in Walt Disney Concert Hall, with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, July 2004 (American Guild of Organists National Convention)
  • Recital: Moscow International Performing Arts Center: Featured classical organist in the final concert of the Music Series, “Hammond Meets Klais” performed on the largest pipe organ (2004) in Russia, 2007
  • Soloist, Symphonie Concertante by Joseph Jongen, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (subscription series) during the inaugural season of the new organ,  Walt Disney Concert Hall, April 2005
  • Recital: new Philharmonic Concert Hall: Etablissement public Salle de Concerts, Grande-Duchesse Josephine-Charlotte, Luxembourg, Luxembourg, 2008
  • Recital: Dortmund Konzert Haus, Dortmund, Germany, 2011
  • Recital: Berlin Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany, 2011

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • Invited to perform in six American Guild of Organists National Conventions (Buffalo (1970), Atlanta(1992), New York City (1996), Philadelphia (2002), Los Angeles (2004), Nashville (2012)
  • Participant: Centennial Celebration Concert of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, 2010
  • Recital: Regional (III) Convention of The American Guild of Organists,  Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Baltimore, Maryland, first recital on the newly renovated instrument, 2007
  • National Convention of the American Guild of Organists Post-Convention Recital,
  •  Queen of All Saints Basilica, first recital on the new Berghaus Organ, July 2006. This recital was recorded live by Delos International, Inc. in CD format (2010)
  • Invited to premier Concierto de Los Angeles by James Hopkins, commissioned by the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Guild of Organists to be performed at the AGO National Convention with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall, July 2004
  • Invited to premier Joan Tower’s first organ work, Ascent, commissioned by the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists to be performed four times at the AGO National Convention, 1996
  • Jean Guillou’s Assistant:  1967-1969:  CR substituted for Jean Guillou on the Grand Organ when he was away on concert tours.
  • First American to win an international organ competition, XV Internationaler Musikwettbewerb der Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Munich, Germany 1966

Music Festivals:

  • Numerous Bach recitals throughout the USA and Europe
  • Recital: Festival de Musique Classique: Septembre Musical, Montreux/Vevey, 2010  The only organist to perform (solo recital) at this two week international festival
  • Recital: Walt Disney Concert Hall, sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales:  Final event of the 50th Anniversary of selling cars in the USA;  Los Angeles, 2007
  • Recital: Commemoration of Peabody Institute’s 150th Anniversary; Baltimore, Maryland, 2007
  • Recital: Verizon Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2007.  Inaugural season of the new organ: This recital was recorded live by Delos International, Inc. for CD (2010)
  • Recital: International Organ Festival, Bridel, Luxembourg, 2005
  • Participant: Virgil Fox Legacy concert, New York City, 2005
  • Faculty Member, Recitalist: Mount Royal College International Summer Academy, 2005
  • Adjudicator, Recitalist, Teacher: Performer of the Year 2000 International Organ Competition, Manchester, England, 2000
  • Recital: The Organ and Architecture Symposium, Chur, Switzerland: First full length recital on the new organ, 2008


  • Cherry Rhodes at the Kimmel Center, live performance, 2010
  • Cherry Rhodes – Live, (Queen of All Saints Basilica, Chicago, Illinois), live performance, Pro Organo, 2009
  • Jean Guillou – Colloques (Cherry Rhodes performs Colloques No. 2 with Jean Guillou), live performance,  Augure, 2009
  • Cherry Rhodes in Concert, live performance, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, Delos International, 2006
  • Historical Organs of Boston, live performance, Organ Historical Society, 2003
  • Comes Summer Time, live performance,  JAV Recordings, 1998
  • Pipedreams Live!, CD, live performance, Minnesota Public Radio, 1995
  • Everyone Dance, music of Calvin Hampton, Pro Organo, 1989
  • Participant: Segment of performance with Los Angeles Philharmonic and interview about the experience of playing the new organ at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, DVD – 2012


Performed world premieres, North American premieres, and European premieres of works by the following composers: Rayner Brown, Jean Guillou, Calvin Hampton, James Hopkins, Larry King, Clarence Mader, Daniel Pinkham, Frank Ticheli, Joan Tower, George Walker, William Grant Still and Fr. Joseph Walter.


  • Co-Editor: Larry King – The Organ Music for solo organ and organ and tape, (Includes Commentary by Cherry Rhodes), Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc, 2014
  • Editor: Chorale, Diferencias and Glosas on “Puer Natus in Bethlehem” by Fr. Joseph Walter, Composer’s Library, 2014
  • Editor: Meditations on “Salve, Feste Dies” for solo organ by Fr. Joseph Walter, Composer’s Library, 2001
  • Editor: Ascent by Joan Tower, Associated Music Publishers, Inc., 1999
  • Co-Editor: Variations on “Old Hundredth by Calvin Hampton, Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc. 1996
  • Author describes Cherry Rhodes’ performances on his organs throughout the world; includes numerous photos of her: Visionen by Glatter-Götz, (in German), 2013
  • Two lengthy anecdote contributions: Organ-isms, Anecdotes from the World of the King of Instruments by Jenny Setchell, 2008
  • One chapter interview with photos: A Forest of Pipes, The Story of the Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ by Jennifer Zobelein, 2007

Academic degrees

Other academic experience:

Five year study in Europe:

  • Performer’s Certificate, Hochschule für Musik, Munich, Germany, 1964-1967
  • Private Study in Paris, France with Jean Guillou 1967-1969, Marie-Claire Alain 1968-1969
  • Respondent: Inaugural Organ Conference, University of North Texas: The life and music of Maurice Duruflé, Denton, Texas, 2007

Studied with:

Dr. Alexander McCurdy, organ; Dr. Vladimir Sokoloff, piano; European organ studies with Karl Richter, Jean Guillou, Marie-Claire Alain