Clara Gerdes, from Davidson, North Carolina, is a fifth-year student at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA where she studies organ with Alan Morrison and harpsichord with Leon Schelhase. (Her previous teachers have included Jane Cain and Jacqueline Yost.) She received first prizes in the Albert Schweitzer, AGO-Quimby Mid-Atlantic Regional and UNCSA School of the Arts organ competitions and was the recipient of the first annual AGO Pogorzelski-Yankee scholarship. She has performed extensively throughout the U.S, at venues such as the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York, St. Thomas Church, 5th Ave, the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Washington National Cathedral and at Harvard and Princeton universities. She has given recitals at the 2017 Mid-Atlantic and 2018 National conventions of the American Guild of Organists, and at Spoleto Festival USA, the Oregon Bach Festival, Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts and the Uncommon Music Festival in Sitka, Alaska. Her performances have been broadcast on Pipedreams and WDAV 89.9 plus other local stations in the Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre, PA area.
Clara is an enthusiastic chamber musician and collaborator, having played with Choral Arts Philadelphia, the Tenth Chamber Orchestra, Galim Dance and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Orchestra and 20/21 ensemble, as well as numerous chamber groups, on piano, harpsichord and organ. She has served at Saint Mark's Church, Locust Street in Philadelphia as organ scholar since 2015 and previously was organ scholar at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul (Philadelphia) and St Anthony of Padua parish (Mt. Holly, NC). Clara has been on the faculties of Curtis Summerfest and the 2018 Philadelphia Pipe Organ Encounter, and enjoys composing and transcribingin her free time, and is a Curtis resident assistant.