Workshops & Masterclasses

Performance | Improvisation | Interpretation

In the first workshop, Dr. Labounsky will discuss and demonstrate AGO/NPM certification repertoire and keyboard-skill requirements (e.g., sight-reading, transposing etc.). Dr. Labounsky will also explain how the skills are graded, and how to prepare. Certification requirements provide a clear set of goals that every organist should strive for, whether you take certification exams or not. In the second workshop, Dr. Labounsky will suggest and play excerpts from the works of Langlais that are most suited to the liturgical year. Dr. Labounsky will conclude the afternoon with a masterclass on selected works of Langlais. The program is scheduled on a holiday Monday to make it as easy as possible for most organists to attend. Why not make a New Year’s Resolution to improve your skills?

Previous Workshops & Masterclasses

Attendees at Dr. Ann Labounsky´s Workshop on Improvisation at St. Paul´s Episcopal Church in Greenville on Saturday, February 27th.

Improvisational Workshop
February 27, 2010 | Greenville, North Carolina

On February 27 Dr. th Ann Labounsky, FAGO, presented a workshop on improvisation for a rapt audience of eager students and experienced church musicians at St. Paul´s Episcopal Church in Greenville. Dr. Labounsky, Chair of Organ and Sacred Music Studies at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, had presented a concert of mostly French organ music the night before at the same location featuring many spirited and spiritual works by Langlais, Tournemire, Vierne, Barraine, and Franck.

The one piece not from the French oeuvre was J. S. Bach´s Fantasy and Fugue in g minor BWV 542 but Dr. Labounsky played it in the manner of instruction she received as a student of André Marchal. The concert concluded with a improvisation using the submitted tunes Panga Lingua and Eventide, and an encore. The wonderful and inspiring improvisation left us with great anticipation for what we would learn in the workshop the next morning. We were not disappointed as she led us through the basics of improvisation and the concept of using form and models first then jumping into the improvisation. The workshop started out using chant since it was easier than metrical hymns as we quickly learned.

The concepts of phrase extension using Panga Lingua again, was the first concept covered quickly followed by through composed interludes, ritornello, ternary form, rounded binary form, toccata and variations. Dr. Labounsky stressed the fact that the colors (sounds) must be selected first and then follow the suggested forms. She also suggested that we all review harmonizing ascending and descending scales as well as the church modes. She also suggested that we practice playing the theme with constant variation of harmony (chords) as well as contrasting it with playing it in the dominant key. Dr. Labounsky covered simple toccata figure construction with broken chords in ascending patterns and sequential usage while the pedal gets to use motivic development of the theme. Many attendees were given the opportunity to tryout the different techniques and forms and their efforts were warmly received by their peers.

Dr. Labounsky offers suggestions and encouragement to a workshop attendee during an improvisation exercise. Dr. Ann Labounsky is shown with her former pupils, Andrew Scanlon (left) and Mark Gansor (right). Andrew is the Organist- Choirmaster at St. Paul´s Episcopal Church in Greenville and Mark is the Organist at Lakeside Baptist in Rocky Mount.

Celebration Messiaen at Duquesne University
November 30-December 3, 2008
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Celebration Messiaen, honoring the life and music of Olivier Messiaen in the centennial year of his birth, was held at Duquesne University Nov. 30 – Dec. 3, 2008. Some of the composer´s former students and foremost interpreters came together for four days of concerts, master classes and scholarly presentations. Clinicians Gerald Levinson, Susan Ferré, Dan Politoske and Donald Wilkins were joined by special guest artist Jon Gillock, who performed the complete Livre du Saint Sacrement. Click for full details or a selection of photos by Andrew Scanlon.

Langlais Celebration at Austin
January 20, 2007
Austin, Texas

Ann Labounsky was featured at a Sacred Music Workshop at The University of Texas at Austin on January 20, 2007. The theme was “Happy 100th Birthday, Maestro Jean Langlais!” and the event included an all-Langlais recital on the four-manual Visser-Rowland organ. (Click photo to enlarge.)

“Thanks again for an absolutely fabulous weekend. I can’t begin to tell you how your brilliance and radiance made for the very best workshop we’ve ever had!”

- Dr. Gerre Hancock, Professor of Music at The University of Texas at Austin School of Music

  1. Books

    Jean Langlais, The Man & His Music

    by Ann Labounsky

    Religious and sensual, selfish yet humble, a loyalfriend with a competitive streak, Langlais (1907-1991) was a complex and sometimes contradictory personality who was one of the glories of 20th-century French music. As scholar, organist, and a favorite pupil of her subject, Ann Labounsky provides the biography of this famous blind organist and composer, for 40+ years the organist at St-Clotilde in Paris, maintaining the deeply spiritual musical legacy of his predecessors Franck and Tournemire. 392 pages hardbound.

    Available at:

  2. Information About Jean Leanglais

    Life and Music of Jean Langlais

    Celebrating the centenary of Langlais´ birth, the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Guild of Organists has produced this documentary featuring Ann Labounsky, student of Langlais and author Jean Langlais: The Man and His Music. The program makes use of many original materials including photos, maps, music scores and performance excerpts of Langlais´ music. Langlais himself is heard speaking in both French and English.

    Available at:

  3. Recordings

    The Complete Organ Works of Jean Langalais

    Ann Labounsky, organ

    The Complete Organ Works of Jean Langlais, a collection of 26 CDs with accompanying book. The definitive recordings made under the direct supervision of the composer by Ann Labounsky, leading American disciple and author of his biography and DVD.

    Available at: