The first time I heard Dr. Damin Spritzer’s CD volume 2 organ music of Rene Louis Becker I was absolutely enchanted. You can literally hear the angels sing when she plays the Pipe Organ. It got me wondering, who was this incredible talent, and why aren’t the classical music stations like 89.9 here in Portland, Oregon playing her music? As it turns out Damin is graduate of Portland’s Catlin Gabel High School, and grew up here before leaving to go to conservatories.
If organ music is something that’s new to you, we strongly urge you and everyone you can think of to take a listen to the YouTube clips below. She is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met both inside and out with a sense of humor and smile that can light up a room.
Damin earned her doctorate of musical arts from the University of North Texas and also studied at Oberlin and Eastman for her previous degrees. She has been praised by critics and audiences for her “enormous sensitivity and musicianship.” And Classical Music Sentinel said, “Both volumes belong on the shelves of all organ music enthusiasts.” Choir & Organ magazine gave her first two discs five and four stars, respectively, and they are heard all over the world on organ radio programs. Some of her recent performances have been in the countries of Brazil and France, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, and all over the US.
Dr. Spritzer is currently an Assistant Professor of Organ at The University of Oklahoma, one of comparatively few women to hold such a post.
With a busy concert schedule for 2017 that will take her from California all the way to Germany (www.daminspritzer.com for updates) and a third album scheduled by her label (www.ravencd.com) to be released, we were grateful or the opportunity to learn more about one of America’s most talented Organists and learn a little more about her with these 15 questions:
1. What is your favorite word? “Crucible,” because it has an amazing feel in your mouth. Like “crucifixus,” because Latin is so wonderful to sing. Though “ravalement” is one of the best French words ever. We organists get a little excited when we encounter one, they are pretty rare.
2. What is your favorite color? Black. Vantablack. Fuligin. But also red.
3. What is your favorite city? Oh, I love Paris, France! I love Europe and that’s one of the most fabulous things about being a concert organist: traveling to incredible cities and playing instruments that have been part of history that are still stunning to play and hear today.
4. What is your favorite season? I love fall, but I love winter almost as much. And spring is beautiful. But summer can go hang.
5. What is your astrological sign? Scorpio/Sagittarius. Water and fire. Doubtless much to the chagrin of my beloveds.
6. Who has been the most positive influence on your life? I have been gifted with incredible people who have shaped and molded me, but I would have to say my parents. And musically, that goes back to kindergarten, when the teacher called them and said she thought they needed to know that their tiny little girl wouldn’t leave the classroom piano alone, and could they consider purchasing one for their home for her?
7. What trait do you find most attractive in other people? That’s a double-sided coin. I would say passion, combined with compassion. We need vision and drive, but also empathy and each other.
8. What is something most people don’t know about you (hobby or secret talent)? I play the violin and sing soprano. And I read science fiction voraciously.
9. What inspires you creatively? Music. History. Love. And my students are incredibly inspiring.
10. What is your favorite swear word? Oh my, can you print that? Well, it starts with a voiceless labiodental fricative!
11. What sound do you love? The ocean, I miss it. For my 16th birthday I asked only to be taken to the beach to walk in the November storms. And I love the sound of my name being called across a room by someone who can’t wait to see me.
12. What is your favorite food? Red wine. I mean, rare steak. I mean, sushi. But I love cheese, too.
13. What is your favorite beverage? Champagne. I mean, red wine. Closely followed by gin.
14. What was career plan B? I can’t say there ever was one that didn’t involve music, not really. I thought being a left-handed female conductor might have been unique once. And being a violinist was the goal for quite a while, until I first sat down at a huge organ console! When I was little I was curious about being a judge and my father arranged a lunch for me with a prominent woman judge in the area. That was pretty exciting and inspiring. But music was always first in my heart and memories.
15. What would you like to hear the angels say when you arrive at home on the other side?
“What are YOU doing here?” No, not really. Maybe something like, “You loved and were loved. The world is a better place because of it.” Or, “You lived every moment of it! And death is not the end…”
If you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift this holiday season any music lover will be gleeful to receive one or both of Damin’s CD’s currently available at (they are selling fast on Amazon):
*Images courtesy of Dr. Damin Spritzer and ravencd.com