To enhance patrons’ musical knowledge and listening experiences, pre-concert talks are offered before selected Spivey Hall performances. Informative and entertaining, these pre-concert talks last approximately 45 minutes, begin one hour prior to the concert, and are free to all ticket-holders. Spivey Hall’s pre-concert talks feature three speakers of high distinction: Kurt-Alexander Zeller, Sam Dixon and Richard Morris.
Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller
Director of Vocal Activities and Opera, Clayton State University
Tenor Kurt-Alexander Zeller is Director of Vocal Activities and Opera at Clayton State University and has performed in opera and musical theatre, oratorio, early music, and recital throughout North America and much of Europe. He holds degrees in voice performance and in theatre from Southern Methodist University and a doctorate, with major studies in voice performance, musicology, and opera directing, from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. Dr. Zeller is an active writer and lecturer on music, leads pre-concert talks for Spivey Hall and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and is program annotator for the Salem (OR) Chamber Orchestra.
Organist-in-Residence, Spivey Hall
Richard Morris is one of a very small number of organists to have appeared as soloist in Carnegie Hall. Other prestigious New York concert halls which have hosted his phenomenal performances include Town Hall and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. He has also appeared three times on NBC’s Today Show, and has performed on four occasions at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C, including the special concert series celebrating the inauguration of former President Jimmy Carter. He is head of the Organ Department at Clayton State University, and is the Organist-in-Residence at Spivey Hall. In November of 1992 and August of 1996, Mr. Morris performed live broadcasts of National Public Radio’s Performance Today on the Ruffatti organ at Spivey Hall. He has recorded for Klavier Records, New World Records, Crystal Clear Records (direct-to-disc with the Atlanta Symphony Brass and Percussion Ensemble), T&F Records, Gothic Records and R&R Records.
Richard Morris began his performing career in his native Atlanta at the age of twelve as piano soloist with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, performing the Grieg Piano Concerto at the Fox Theatre before an audience of 5,000 people, and was twice soloist in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Concerts during his high school years. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in piano at Rollins College under Thomas Brockman, and also studied the organ with Catherine Crozier. Grants from the French government enabled him to study in France with the late Nadia Boulanger. Following his studies in France, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the Academy of Music in Vienna as a pupil of Richard Hauser. Upon his return to this country in 1965, he earned the degree of Master of Divinity from Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin and spent several years in the parish ministry.
He began his career as a concert organist in 1973, largely through the influence and encouragement of the late Emilie Spivey and Virgil Fox, with whom he coached repertory. For the past 25 years, Mr. Morris has performed an average of 50 concerts a season for Columbia Artists and the Community Concert Associations of the United States and Canada, as well as for national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, and as a soloist with orchestras throughout the country. Mr. Morris served as consultant on the tonal design of Spivey Hall’s Albert Schweitzer Memorial Organ. He is also Organist / Choirmaster at St. Peter and St. Paul Episcopal Church in Marietta, Georgia.
Mr. Morris’ recording from the Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles in February of 1997, contains tracks recorded with the world’s largest digital/pipe combination organ. The CD contains J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541, Franz Liszt’s Fantasia & Fugue on B-A-C-H and Charles Callahan’s Aria. Reviewed by Andrew Quint in the January / February 1998 edition of Fanfare Magazine, the recording was lauded as “exemplary” and Mr. Morris in particular “is a supremely musical player…(who) can handle himself in the more flamboyant corners of the organ literature.”
His most recent release entitled "Heavy Organ: A Tribute to Virgil Fox" was recorded live at Spivey Hall in 5.1 surround sound DVD with kaleidoscopic abstract visuals, a first in the industry, and was given a 4-star rating by Audiophile Audition.