Colin MacKnight


  • Symphonic Organ Registration: “Tricking” the Ear
    1217 6th Ave
    July 7 @ 8:00 am
    Executing seamless crescendos and diminuendos is one of the principal challenges an organist faces in symphonic repertoire. The fundamental problem with this technique is that it is antithetical to one of the main aspects of the organ: the unambiguous nature of the instrument. Stops are either on or off, pipes are either speaking or silent, and keys are either depressed or not. To subtly affect dynamic change with stop changes, one must find ways to deceive the ear and conceal additions and subtractions. This workshop will be devoted to demonstrating the tricks and techniques that go into this style of organ playing, including:
    • Use of the expressive divisions and swell boxes
    • The order in which one adds or subtracts stops
    • Using range, contour, meter, and texture to mask stop changes
    • Console management: pistons and manual changes
    • The differences between fast and slow crescendos/diminuendos


Colin MacKnight, called “a stunning player of exceptional ability” by composer and conductor Bob Chilcott, is Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, Arkansas. At Trinity, he oversees a music program which includes among its offerings weekly choral evensong, a concert series, and a chorister program. Prior to Trinity, Colin was Associate Organist at Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, Long Island; Assistant Organist and Music Theory Teacher at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue; and Assistant Organist at Church of the Resurrection, NYC.

Colin’s received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School, studying organ performance with Paul Jacobs. For his dissertation “Ex Uno Plures: A Proposed Completion of Bach’s Art of Fugue,” Colin received the Richard F. French Doctoral Prize.

A frequent competition prize-winner, Colin’s first prizes include the 2019 Paris Music Competition, 2017 West Chester University International Organ Competition, 2016 Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition, 2016 Arthur Poister Competition, 2015 NYC and Northeast Regional AGO competitions, M. Louise Miller Scholarship, 2013 Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition, and Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship. Colin was also a laureate in the 2016 and 2019 Longwood Gardens International Organ Competitions.

Colin holds the Fellow and Choirmaster Certifications from the AGO, receiving the prize for top Choirmaster score, and was one of The Diapason’s “20 Under 30” in 2019. For more information, media, and a calendar of performances, please visit

Colin MacKnight is represented in North America by Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc.