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Curtis Mourns the Passing of John Weaver

Dr. Weaver (Organ ’59) was a member of the Curtis faculty for more than three decades, from 1971 to 2003.

John Weaver sits at organ console in Field Concert HallCurtis mourns the death of acclaimed organist, teacher, and colleague John Weaver, who passed away on February 1 at age 83. Dr. Weaver (Organ ’59) was a member of the Curtis faculty for more than three decades, from 1971 to 2003.

As a small child in eastern Pennsylvania, John loved to listen to his pastor father play the organ and piano. As a teenager, he studied organ with George Markey (Organ ’49), who encouraged him to apply to Curtis to study with Mr. Markey’s former teacher, Alexander McCurdy (Organ ’31).

After graduating from Curtis in 1959, Dr. Weaver was appointed Director of Music at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City, where he founded his famous Bach Cantata series with his wife, Marianne, a flautist.

After Mr. McCurdy retired in 1972, Dr. Weaver returned to Curtis to lead the organ department. In addition to several other teaching posts in his career, Dr. Weaver was chair of the organ department at the Juilliard School from 1986 to 2004. He also served as Director of Music at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church for 35 years.

L-R: Chelsea Chen, Ken Cowan, Marianne Weaver, Diane M. Belcher, Alan Morrison, and Michael Barone. Photo from 2012 at the Kimmel Center when John Weaver received the Distinguished Artist Award from the American Guild of Organists. Photo by Joseph Routon.Dr. Weaver was an active concert organist for many decades, playing throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Brazil, drawing on his large repertoire of memorized works from all areas of organ literature. He was named International Performer of the Year by the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists in 2005, served as president of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and held honorary doctorates from Curtis and Westminster College.

Alan Morrison, who was a student of Dr. Weaver and succeeded him as chair of Curtis’s organ department, said: “This is a great loss to all of us. John did it all and was monumental in so many ways: he was a leader in our field, a highly respected musician, a model of work ethic and professionalism, and an admired and well-liked colleague. John demanded the best from his students, and in return, gained their respect. He kept the great tradition of grand organ playing alive in his students, which yielded countless highly respected organ virtuosos, who have been at the forefront of the concert and church music platforms. Through his many students, his spirit will live on, for which we are all very grateful.”

The Curtis community extends heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends, and students of Dr. Weaver.

Read On: John Weaver was featured in a “Meet the Faculty” profile in the Spring 2003 issue of Overtones