Kola Owolabi is appointed to the faculty of the Department of Music and Sacred Music at Notre Dame University this fall as professor of music and head of the graduate organ studio. Owolabi will replace Craig Cramer, who is retiring at the end of the academic year. Owolabi leaves the faculty of the University of Michigan, where he has taught courses in organ performance, improvisation, and sacred music since 2014. Before that, he taught at Syracuse University, beginning in 2006.
Owolabi earned a Master of Music degree from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York. He has performed at venues across the United States and internationally, including the Klosterneuburg Abbey in Austria; Église du Bouclier in Strasbourg, France; and the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica. He has also performed as an organist and harpsichordist with the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire and the Firebird Chamber Orchestra, based in Miami. He has released two solo recordings, Sacred Expressions: Twentieth-Century Music for Organ and Jacques Boyvin: Four Suites from the Second Livre d’Orgue (1700), both available from Raven (ravencd.com).
Owolabi, a native of Canada who spent part of his childhood in Nigeria, has also been commissioned by the Old Salem Museum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to compose a piece inspired by the African-American tradition to celebrate the life of Peter Oliver, a freed slave who served as a “bellows treader” for a local Moravian organ at the turn of the 19th century.
For information: www.kolaowolabi.com.