T ypographer and wordsmith, organist and liturgist, conductor and teacher, I interpret texts, articulate structures, and clarify meaning for readers, writers, musicians, audiences, and worshipers, joining modern questions, insights, expectations, and capabilities to the richness, beauty, and wisdom of tradition.

To the shaping of words and music I bring the architect’s feel for space, pace, and proportion; the translator’s ear for sense, style, and analogue; the sommelier’s taste for occasion, overtone, and combination; the scientist’s head for intuition, theory, experiment, analysis, and the well-judged and generous use of the bin. To the sharing of knowledge I bring the evangelist’s heart as well.

Thus as Staff Designer for the Concordia University Press for ten years, in text and illustrated books of history and biography, study texts and Festschriften, fiction, poetry, and music, I’ve worked closely with writers, editors, and translators to see that an author’s voice or a people’s story speaks authentically and attractively on the page. Clear and quick communication with a strong sense of style characterizes the countless occasional pieces I’ve also designed, and often written or edited – newsletters and annual reports, posters and brochures, liturgical and devotional booklets, concert programs, a website – as sometime Director of Communications for the Church of the Good Shepherd, in the course of other professional duties, and in volunteer roles with arts and advocacy organizations, over a span of twenty-five years.

The designer’s way with typefaces mirrors the organist’s art of registration; assembling a recital is like editing a collection of texts. With much the same approach to both, I’ve been recognized for elegant, exciting, and intelligent musical programming and interpretation, and when invited to serve as Adjunct Lecturer in organ at the University of Texas, I set out to help my students achieve the same. Praised in the past for my playing of major symphonic organ works including those of Elgar, Reubke, and above all Franck, I’ve focused more and more on solo keyboard music 1540–1700, Bach, and the twentieth-century neo-Baroque, savoring the contrapuntal mastery and occasional bizzarery of – and the physical and acoustical immediacy of the instruments best suited to – this literature.

Much of the organ repertory before 1700 belongs to the liturgy rather than the concert hall. Accordingly, to provide a setting for this literature; and moreover to propose a reassessment of the role of the organ and chant in living liturgy; to highlight the importance of the Daily Office; and to celebrate the great feasts of the Church, I established a series of Organ Vespers featuring late- and post-Renaissance liturgical keyboard polyphony in its native habitat, interspersed with the chant upon which it is based. My esteemed partners in this project are the friends-and-colleagues who make up Schola Aliquando.

Organ Vespers is informed by the twenty years’ study of the liturgy I’ve undertaken alongside my work as a musician in large Episcopal parishes (St David’s and Good Shepherd, Austin), where other concerns and duties – conducting and accompanying choirs in sacred concert works large and small; prodding congregations to attend and to sing; fulfilling the wishes of the betrothed and bereaved; launching and directing recital series; mooting remodelings of buildings, instruments, and services – have always been more to the fore.

T oday, building on a foundation in graphic communications, church music, organ performance, and liturgy acquired at the University of Houston, Baylor University, and the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, much of my creative work deals with ritual text and its oral, scribal, and typographical performance and reception; English prosody, verse, and translation; modal monophony and its elaborations; sacred time and space. But what I discover thereby, learn from medieval and modern examples, and glean from scholars in chant, ethnopoetics, orality, typography, manuscript and textual studies, information design, and other disciplines, applies to many kinds of books and music.

If any of the foregoing suggests a commission, collaboration, or conversation, please drop me a line at

e m e l l e n b r u c h  a t  g m a i l