Organ Music for Special Occasions

Hampson Sisler


World Premiere Recordings



“Sisler is not adverse to interweaving traditional hymns and folks songs within his original works. He manages to do this without sounding forced, partly due to the fluency and textural discretion of his organ-writing... Michael Koenig's excellent articulation and assiduous registrations help to make the best case for this repertoire.”
Jed Distler, Gramophone [November 2018]
[ * * * * ] “There is [excellent] balance between interest in performer and music... The titles of the movements in both suites point more toward the everyday than toward the religiously elevated; but interestingly enough, Sisler never trivializes any of the dates and in fact never truly becomes playful or entirely lighthearted in exploring any of the material. There is an underlying seriousness and thus meaningfulness to every one of these days in Sisler’s handling of them, and that requires an organist to find just the right balance between solemnity and lighter (if not light) expressiveness throughout both the suites. Michael Koenig does just that, producing sensitive and very involving world première recordings of both the suites, drawing listeners into Sisler’s sound world and his foundational solemnity without allowing any movement in either suite to drag or become dull... Sisler’s music is well and carefully constructed and reflects a consistent worldview in which, even in our modern age, the sacred and the profane coexist at all times; and Koenig brings forth Sisler’s vision and his careful, thoughtful exploration of organ sonorities and capabilities to very fine effect.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [August 2018]
“Despite the composer’s assurance in his booklet notes that “developments are jaunty, cheerful, almost ‘spoofy,’” there is a complexity underlying the music that is most satisfying, while harmonies, particularly towards the end, move towards a sense of security that is surely associated with all good mothers... Organist Michael Koenig plays with great warmth and respect to the score; the recording is exceptional, making the performance a joy in purely sonic terms... This is a fascinating disc, beautifully recorded and splendidly played throughout.”
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [September/October 2018]
Austrian-born and Copenhagen-based concert organist Michael Koenig has a busy schedule of international performance activities, both as an organ soloist and as a collaborative musician. His has appeared in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Spain, China, Kenya and in the United States. In his programs, Koenig is always keen to include contemporary music, and owing to his collaborations with distinguished composers from around the world, he has given the premiere performances of more than a dozen new works over the last 15 years. Besides playing concerts, Koenig is active worldwide as a pedagogue. An avid member of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), he is a member of the guild’s Committee of the New Organist, which has been installed to assist musicians both inside and outside the United States who are seeking to become organists. Currently, Koenig is organist and director of music at St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Copenhagen. At the same time, he is performing research on the role of Western church music in colonial Kenya at Copenhagen University. Before moving to Denmark, Koenig held positions at major churches in Austria. He also served as the conductor of Innsbruck University’s Symphony Orchestra from 2002 to 2005 and worked as a recording producer for the Austrian National Broadcasting Corporation from 2002 to 2015. Koenig holds degrees from Vienna University of Music, where he studied organ with Michael Radulescu: MA in Organ Performance, MA in Music Education and BA in Church Music. He won prizes at numerous organ competitions, both national and international. After leaving university, his organ mentors included Eric Lebrun in Paris and David Enlow (organ department, The Juilliard School) in New York.

Hampson Sisler is a highly prolific composer, with a growing catalog of more than one hundred works for solo instruments, organ, voice, choir and orchestra. His music has been performed in the continental United States and Hawaii, and internationally in Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Israel, Portugal, Russia and Ukraine, under the direction of conductors including Marlon Daniel, Arkady Leytush, Kirk Trevor and Samuel Wong. Born in Yonkers, New York, in 1932, Sisler began to show a prodigious talent at an early age and by age five was able to play keyboard by ear. By age 12, he was taken under the tutelage of David McKinley Williams (1887-1978) and Norman Coke-Jephcott (1893-1962) and began performing professionally on organ, and conducting choral ensembles. He earned a licentiate in Organ and Related Subjects from the Trinity College of Music in London at age 16 and achieved the fellowship rank in the American Guild of Organists at age 17 – the youngest ever for this distinction. Today, in addition to composing, Sisler maintains a career as an organist and choral director. He has held positions at 17 churches, most notably the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, New York, where Abraham Lincoln was an occasional attendee, and the Central Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, where Charles Ives served in the same position in the early 1900s. Currently, Sisler is co-organist at Smithfield Presbyterian Church in Amenia, New York. The highly successful premiere of Faiths, Cohabiting in Rishon LeZion, Israel, in 2012 resulted in a commission for a new piece, which resulted in the Israeli-American Festival Overture. At the premiere performance, Sisler was presented with a bronze plaque, stating a message of appreciation for his compositions on behalf of the State of Israel. His music is published by H.W. Gray Co., Jos. Fischer & Co., Belwin Mills, World Library, Laurendale Press and Morning Star Music.
Mother’s Day
Father’s Day
Celebrate the Children
A Salute to Grandparents

At Candlemas - Winter’s End, Gopher’s Out (February 2nd)
Saint Valentine (February 14th)
Saint Patrick (March 17th)
Nature’s Saint Francis of Assisi
All Saints’ Day / All Hallows’ Day (November 1st)

MSR Classics