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Richard Purvis (Composer)

Born: August 25, 1913 - San Francisco, California, USA
Died: December 25, 1994 - San Francisco, California, USA

Richard (Irven) Purvis was an American organist After early studies in the piano and the organ he entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 1934, studying the organ with Alexander McCurdy and conducting with Fritz Reiner. Further studies were with Josef Levine in New York, Dr. Edward Cuthbert Bairstow in England, Marcel Dupré in France and, after his graduation from Curtis in 1940, with Charles Courboin and Charles Heinroth.

During World War II, while serving as a bandmaster with the 28th Infantry Division, Richard Purvis was captured and held as a prisoner of war for six months. After the war an appointment to St Mark's Lutheran Church took him back to his native city, and in 1947 he was appointed to Grace Cathedral, where he helped to form a cathedral school for boys, thus continuing the all-male choir tradition. Purvis's long and distinguished career was marked by elegant service playing, conducting and composition. After his retirement in 1971 he continued to perform and compose. His compositions include a concerto for organ and orchestra, a partita on Christ ist erstanden, Four Prayers in Tone for organ and The Ballad of Judas Iscariot for choir and orchestra.


Source: Grove Music Online © Oxford University Press 2006 (Author: Charles Krigbaum)
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (February 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Partita for organ on Christ ist erstanden

Christ ist erstanden

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