Craig Cramer is Professor of Organ and Artist in Residence at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He also serves as organist at St. David of Wales Episcopal Church in Elkhart, Indiana. He holds degrees from Westminster Choir College and the Eastman School of Music where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance. The Eastman School also awarded him the prestigious Performer's Certificate in Organ. He has studied with Russell Saunders, William Hays, James Drake, David Boe, and André Marchal (Paris). Cramer has been named the winner of several important competitions.
One of the most traveled organists of his generation, Cramer maintains an active recital career across the country and in Europe. He has performed in forty-four of the United States as well as in Canada. Regularly invited to play some of the most important historic organs in the world, Cramer's European concerts have included performances in Germany on the 1727 König organ in Steinfeld, the 1748 Gottfried Silbermann in Nassau, and Schnitger organs in Norden, and Steinkirchen. In the Netherlands he has performed on the 1725 Hagerbeer/Schnitger in Alkmaar, the 1727 Müller in Leeuwarden, the 1643/1814 Bader/Timpe organ in Zutphen, the 1696 Schnitger organ in Noordbroek, the 1770 Hinsz organ in Midwolda, the 1756 Van Deventer organ in Nijkerk, the 1756 Müller organ in Beverwijk, the 1768 Bätz organ in Woerden and the 1726 Vater organ in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. He recently performed in Denmark on the Compenius and Marcusson organs in the Frederiksborg Slotskirke in Hilleröd and the Lorentz/Marcusson organ in Roskilde Cathedral. In Sweden he performed in Buxtehude's church Sancta Maria in Helsingborg and on the new (2000) North German Organ built by GoArt in the style of Schnitger in the Orgryte nya kyrka in Göteborg. He has also performed in Austria, France, Switzerland, Finland and Poland.
Dr. Cramer was instrumental in the installation of a new organ hall and organ built by Paul Fritts on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, which he dedicated in January of 2005 by performing a series of ten different recital programs. This organ was the focal point of an AGO National Pedagogy Conference on the subject of Buxtehude given in September 2005. In honor of the 300th anniversary of the death of Dieterich Buxtehude in 2007, Dr. Cramer presented Buxtehude's complete organ works in a series of nine concerts on this organ. During the 2011-12 season, he again performed the complete organ works of Buxtehude in a series of 6 concerts on the organ by Paul Fritts in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Columbus, Ohio. Cramer performed the complete organ works of Bach during a series of eighteen concerts using a distinguished set of mechanical-action organs in the state of Indiana. He was a featured performer at the 2008 EROI Festival in Rochester, New York. Cramer has performed for conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society and ALCM, as well as for many AGO Chapters across the country. He was one of the featured organ soloists at the AGO National Convention in Boston in 2014, of which Jonathan Ambrosino wrote in Choir and Organ Magazine, “Craig Cramer presented a dense and fascinating contrapuntal programme (sic), concluding with Reger’s Second Sonata, brilliantly and fearlessly played". He has also appeared as a soloist with a number of different orchestras.
Dr. Cramer's performances are frequently heard on American Public Media's program, "Pipedreams" (www.pipedreams.com). He has fifteen CD recordings to his credit including releases on the Arkay, Dominant, Dulcian, Motette-Ursina, Organeum and JAV labels. He has recorded three CDs for Naxos, including a recording of works of Buxtehude on the Fritts organ at Pacific Lutheran University. JAV Recordings has released Cramer's premiere recording of the Notre Dame Fritts organ as well as his recording on the new Fritts organ at St. Joseph Cathedral in Columbus, Ohio. JAV will shortly release two more Buxtehude recordings performed on the new Taylor and Boody organ at Goshen College (Indiana). The University of Notre Dame recently recognized Cramer with a Kaneb distinguished faculty award.
Craig Cramer is represented by Penny Lorenz Artist Management.
“Craig Cramer presented a dense and fascinating contrapuntal programme, concluding with Reger’s Second Sonata, brilliantly and fearlessly played"
--Jonathan Ambrosino wrote in Choir and Organ Magazine (Oct. 2014) of Craig Cramer’s recital for the AGO National Convention in Boston, June 2014,
"To this rich intertextual organ landscape, Craig Cramer brought excellent technique and musicianship, as well as a highly original and well-chosen program......The work [Fauchard Le mystère de Noël] was always executed with great perspicacity by Cramer, whose registrations were always exactly right and whose sense of phrase, tempo, and rhythm were quintessentially French.....The final piece on the program, Reger’s Second Sonata in D minor, op. 60, was an exhilarating conclusion to an excellent recital. Cramer made the entire work accessible, communicating the music rather than simply presenting it. The recital ended on a most satisfying high note, as it were.....Cramer is an empathetic, gifted registrant and an admirably conservative and well-grounded artist. Kudos to Craig Cramer for presenting one of the highlights of the convention."
--The Diapason, Jonathan Hall, (November 2014) about Craig Cramer's recital for the AGO National Convention June 2014
"...at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, Cramer played a number of Concours pieces, chorale preludes and the Passacaglia of Bach, and Reger's massive Sonata II. Having heard this organ played in recital regularly, I wish to state that Dr. Cramer's performance of Bach was one of the most vital and uplifting heard in a long time. The Reger Sonata and the French pieces were bold and exciting."
- The Diapason
"Superior and tasteful Bach interpretation…technically flawless."
- Mainz, Germany
"...Bach's Prelude and Fugue shimmered in festive G major, and we experienced an impressive and striking performance of the dance-like, animated rhythms."
- Rothenburg, Germany
"...in Craig Cramer's performance of the (Bach) Trio Sonata No. 1 in E-flat Major at Palmer, they encountered organ playing at its finest. The organ sounds he chose were light and buoyant. He made the technically difficult music seem disarmingly easy. By the audience's applause, his dancing rhythms and sparkling playing refreshed and elevated the spirits of everyone."
- Houston Chronicle
External Video/Audio Links
- Craig Cramer at University of Notre Dame, Indiana
- Craig Cramer plays two Fritts organs
- Craig Cramer & John Thiesen, music for trumpet and organ