Aaron Tan, organist

Photo: Ema Suvajac

Concert organist Aaron Tan is a leading young artist in North America.   In October 2021 he was awarded First Prize at the 2021 Canadian International Organ Competition as well as several additional awards for performances of specific works at the competition (The Sir Ernest MacMillan Award for Canadian competitors, the award for best performance of a work by Marcel Dupré, and best performance of a work by a Canadian composer).  Originally from the Philippines and Canada, he is an organist and pianist who enjoys multi-faceted careers as a musician and a materials scientist.

Aaron’s primary musical tutelage has been with John Tuttle, David Palmer, Joel Hastings, Martin Jean, and David Higgs.  His musical upbringing started on the piano and later added the violin and organ.  He received his Associate (ARCT) diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada at the age of twelve and went on to earn his Licentiate (LTCL) and Fellowship (FTCL) diplomas in Piano Performance from Trinity College of Music, London, England, at 13 and 15 years of age, respectively.  When he was 18, he also completed his ARCT diploma in violin performance.

In 2004, under the auspices of the Barwell Scholarship (awarded to pianists interested in learning the organ), he began organ studies with John Tuttle while concurrently entering as a freshman in Engineering Science at the University of Toronto.  Since then, he has gone on to complete both Associate (ARCCO) and Fellowship (FRCCO) diplomas in organ from the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO).  In addition, he has also won numerous noteworthy competitions and scholarships including First Prize at the American Guild of Organists 2018 National Young Artist Competition in Organ Performance, the Toronto RCCO Young Organists Competition, the Osborne Organ Competition of the Summer Institute of Church Music (Ontario), the RCCO’s National Organ Playing Competition, the Charlotte Hoyt Bagnall Scholarship for Church Musicians, the Lilian Forsyth Scholarship, the 2012 Poland International Piano Festival Competition, the West Chester University Organ Competition, the Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition, and the Sursa American Organ Competition.

Having recently received both MM and MMA degrees in organ from Yale University, Aaron is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester New York.  Aaron also holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan and worked there as a postdoctoral researcher in the University’s Laboratory for Complex Materials and Thin Films Research, studying the dielectric and thermal properties of polymer thin films.

Aaron has served as Organ Scholar at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, Michigan, Artist in Residence at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit, Assistant Organist at Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Organ Scholar at the Church of the Resurrection, New York City, and currently serves as Director of Music at St. Alban’s Catholic Church in Rochester New York.

More information about Aaron’s musical interests and activities can be found at www.AaronTan.org.