Clara Gerdes, from Davidson, North Carolina, is a 2021 graduate of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music where she studied with Martin Jean. She recently graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Alan Morrison, also receiving diplomas in Early Music and Improvisation. She received first prizes in the Albert Schweitzer, AGO-Quimby Mid-Atlantic Regional and UNCSA School of the Arts organ competitions; was the recipient of the 2020 Baker Prize in Organ Performance and the 2021 Julia Sherman Award for Excellence in Organ Playing from Yale; and received the first annual Pogorzelski-Yankee scholarship from the American Guild of Organists
This season, Clara will be performing around the eastern and Midwestern US, with highlights including giving the dedication concert of the new organ at Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral and closing recital at the East Texas Pipe Organ Festival in New Orleans, LA. She has been a featured performer at the 2021 AGO National OrganFest, 2018 AGO National Convention, 2017 AGO Regional Convention and the 2019 National Conference of the Church Music Association of America, as well as at Spoleto Festival USA, Oregon Bach Festival, Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts and the Uncommon Music Festival in Sitka, Alaska. Clara has given recitals at a variety of churches and cathedrals around the country, most notably the Cathedral of St John the Divine and Washington National Cathedral. Pre-Covid, Clara served as Assistant Organist at Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Park Avenue in New York City and was previously Organ Scholar at Saint Mark’s Church, Locust Street in Philadelphia. She now serves as Director of Music at Most Holy Redeemer and Nativity Parish in Manhattan, New York, where her responsibilities include overseeing the restoration of the parish's 1891 Roosevelt organ.