Clara Gerdes, from Davidson, North Carolina, is a recent graduate of the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music where she studied with Martin Jean. Prior to Yale, Clara received her bachelor's degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she studied with Alan Morrison. Clara received the Baker Prize and the Julia R. Sherman Award for Excellence in Organ Playing from Yale, and was the recipient of first prizes in the Albert Schweitzer, AGO-Quimby Mid-Atlantic Regional and UNCSA School of the Arts organ competitions. She was also the recipient of the first annual Pogorzelski-Yankee scholarship, awarded by the AGO. She has performed around the United States at a variety of events, including the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Regional and 2018 National Conventions of the American Guild of Organists, and was featured as recitalist at the 2019 Annual Colloquium of the Church Music Association of America. She has performed at the Spoleto Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts held at the Kimmel Center, Charleston Bach Festival and most recently the Uncommon Music Festival in Sitka, Alaska.
Clara currently serves as Music Director at Most Holy Redeemer and Nativity Parish in New York City. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, she was Assistant Organist at Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Park Avenue in New York City and as co-music director for Berkeley Divinity School Choir at Yale University. Previously, she worked at Saint Mark’s Church, Locust Street and at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. Clara has taught at the Curtis Summerfest and two AGO Pipe Organ Encounters, maintains a small private studio, and enjoys transcribing works for organ and playing harpsichord.