Tolton Organ: Inaugural Recital

Tolton Organ: Inaugural Recital

John Tuttle
Organist, St. Thomas’s Anglican Church

University of Toronto
University Organist
Adjunct Associate Professor of Organ, Faculty of Music
Conductor, Hart House Chorus (1981 to 2006)

Conductor, Exultate Chamber Singers (1981 to 2011)

at the console of the recently installed
Phoenix PD-351 ‘Digital Pipe’ Organ

JOHN TUTTLE graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied organ with Alexander McCurdy. Following graduation he served in the United States Army as Organist and Choirmaster of the Post Chapel at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, and then returned to Philadelphia to serve as Dr. McCurdy’s successor at the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia in 1971.

In 1975 he left the United States for Toronto, Canada to become Organist and Choirmaster of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, where he remained until accepting the post of Organist and Choirmaster of St. Thomas’s Anglican Church in 1989.

In 1979 he was appointed Organist to the University of Toronto, where he also teaches organ for the Faculty of Music.  In 1981 he founded the Exultate Chamber Singers, a twenty-voice ensemble that has gained a national reputation for superb choral singing.  From 1981 to 2006 he conducted the Hart House Chorus.  From 1985 to 2000 he was Music Director of the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus, which commissioned numerous operas for children, and toured throughout Canada and the USA.

In 2005 he accepted the post of Organist and Choirmaster of Trinity College Chapel at the University, where he trains the Trinity Chapel Choir for weekly services, works with the Bevan Organ Scholar, and coaches the Divinity students in liturgical music.

He holds the Fellowship Diploma of the American Guild of Organists, and holds honorary Fellowship diplomas from the Royal College of Organists (UK) and the Royal Canadian College of Organists, of which he was National President from 1986 to 1988.

In addition to his many duties in Toronto he manages to play concerts and teach master classes in organ-playing, and choral conducting and singing techniques throughout Canada and the USA.


Tuttle’s is invigorating artistry. He chooses his organ colors with the finesse of a master painter, always with an ear toward defining clear musical lines, rarely indulging in sumptuous sound for its own sake. He couples lucidity with rock-steady rhythmic controls and tempos on the brisk side, and the results are remarkable for their forward thrust and architectural rightness.

Roger Parris, Buffalo, NY

He spun the demanding Poulenc Concerto into a tour de force of unlabored facility, articulating the touches of humor and even stylistic parody that characterize one of the most vivid secular works ever revised for the organ.

Tuttle demonstrated his rare (even among organists) facility for seeming to completely “adopt” instruments other than his own and appear instantly at home with their individual colors and mechanisms.

Pauline Durichen, Kitchener- Waterloo Record

The long, winding lines of Hindemith’s First Sonata (1937) were handled skilfully. The Phantasie was flamboyant, while the final Rondo had a delicately simple, songful quality.

John Charles, The Edmonton Sun

…his playing is world-class by the toughest standards. He approaches the music in a flamboyantly virtuosic manner that is at the same time deeply, reverently musical.

Nancy Raabe, Milwaukee Sentinel

Cesar Franck’s “Grande Pike Symphonique” enjoyed a reading of good proportion and delineation, both as to detail and the larger picture. Tuttle’s choice of soft stops in contrasting sections was felicitous. Here, as elsewhere, he displayed a rock-ribbed manual and pedal technique.

Samuel Singer, The Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA

…It is this thrill in musical performance – the experience of hearing music not as something literal, but as something conceptual – for which audiences return again and again.

James Frederick Brown, Brantford Expositor


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