Born in 1991 in New York, John Walthausen began his musical studies with the piano at the age of eleven and discovered the organ several years later. After working with McNeil Robinson at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, he entered Oberlin college, studying the organ with James David Christie and the harpsichord with Webb Wiggins. Upon obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree, he was elected to Pi Kappa Lambda, the national honor society for musicians.
In 2011, he gained admission to the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris, where he studied the organ with Olivier Latry and Michel Bouvard, earning a Master’s with highest honors (“mention tres bien”) in June 2013. In 2015, he recieved a Master’s in historical keyboards from the Schola Cantorum of Basel, Switzerland, where he studied harpsichord with Jörg-Andreas Bötticher and organ with Lorenzo Ghielmi.
An experienced performer, he has played recitals throughout Europe and the United States in cities including Paris, Chartres, Poitiers, Milan, Innsbruck, Basel, New York, Boston, Cleveland, Albany, and Washington D.C. A versatile musician with an extensive repertoire, his performances of baroque and contemporary music have drawn particular attention. Deeply drawn to the organ’s unique rhetorical and expressive possibilities, he is most interested in music that explores the limits of the instrument.
In 2012, he then won first prize at the Pierre de Manchicourt International Organ Competition in Béthune, France, a competition devoted mainly to North German music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, featuring an international jury chaired by Micheal Radelescu. In 2009 he was awarded first prize in the American Guild of Organists’ Regional Competition for Young Organists.
John’s interest in the music of today has lead to him to study and perform extensively the music of many recent and contemporary composers including Xavier Darasse, Benoît Mernier, Grégoire Rolland, Thomas Lacôte, and Jean-Louis Florentz, whose masterpiece “Debout sur le Soleil” he performed for his Master’s recital at the church of Saint Eustache (Paris) and later at the Cathedral of Chartres.
In both France and the United States, he has been welcomed at many different classical music festivals. In 2012 he and seven other organists were invited to perform for the “Nuit de l’Orgue,” the grand finale of the festival Toulouse Les Orgues in honor of Xavier Darasse, recorded and broadcast on Radio France Musique. In 2013, he was organist in residence at the Festival de la Chaise Dieu in Auvergne. He has additionally presented recitals at the Oberlin Messiaen Festival, the Pacific Baroque Festival, Paris-des-Orgues, the Toul Bach Festival, and Internationale Meisterorganisten in Innsbruck.
John is also an active harpsichordist. After first discovering the harpsichord in 2009 at Oberlin College with Webb Wiggins, John continued private harpsichord studies in Paris with Lisa Goode Crawford. In 2014, he co-founded with Lillian Gordis the ensemble “Les Ramoneurs”, a two harpsichord ensemble devoted to French dramatic and instrumental music of the mid-eighteenth century. Les Ramoneurs were finalists in the 2014 Early Music America Baroque Competition.
From 2015 to 2016, John served as Organist in Residence at Sapporo Concert Hall in Hokkaido, Japan. In this role, he presided over the hall’s four manual Kern organ, performed in concert halls around the country, and collaborated with local musicians and composers. In 2016, Sapporo Concert Hall released his debut disc, “De Fil en Aiguille.”
From 2016 through 2017, John served as Assistant Director of Music of the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware, a non-profit organization for choral music in the city of Wilmington.