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Larry Palmer

Professor Emeritus of Harpsichord and Organ

Larry Palmer has been on the faculty of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University since 1970. He is currently professor and head of organ and harpsichord, and university organist. Educated at Oberlin College Conservatory and the Eastman School of Music, Dr. Palmer is internationally known as performer, scholar, and teacher. His biography appears in The New American Grove Dictionary of Music, Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th-Century Classical Musicians (edited by Nicholas Slonimsky), Who’s Who in America, and, since 2009, Who’s Who in the World. He is the author of Hugo Distler and his Church Music (1967), Harpsichord in America – A 20th-Century Revival (1989/1993), both cited as works indispensible for Music Libraries, as well as a 2006 book of memoirs: Letters from Salzburg—A Music Student in Europe 1958-1959. He has written more than 150 articles, many of them for The Diapason (Chicago), for which he has been harpsichord contributing editor since 1969. Two solo recordings for The Musical Heritage Society and 11 compact discs for Encore Performance/Limited Editions and SoundBoard Recordings comprise his discography. Known for his stylish performances of baroque music, he is also committed to contemporary works: more than 50 new scores for harpsichord, organ and choir have been written for him.

Since his solo harpsichord debut in Austria at a 1959 festival celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of composer Paul Hofhaymer, Palmer has played hundreds of recitals; conducted the Duke Ellington Orchestra, as well as opera and choral performances; and taught a large number of students, both at SMU and in two previous university appointments in Virginia.

Palmer has appeared as soloist with SMU’s Meadows Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and I Palpiti Ensemble; as organist and harpsichordist with the Dallas Symphony; played solo recitals at Harvard, the University of Oklahoma, in Neuf Brisach (France), and in Alvito (Portugal); and at the Handel House Museum in London. He presented the Winesanker Memorial Lecture in Musicology at Texas Christian University and has been seen nationally in the PBS television documentary Landowska: Uncommon Visionary. He has organized 18 summer harpsichord and organ workshops for SMU, 13 of them at the University’s Fort Burgwin campus near Taos, plus additional ones in Alsace, London, Washington D.C., Denver and Santa Fe. During the 2009-10 academic year he gave his 40th consecutive annual faculty recital at SMU, and is scheduled to give a lecture for a Wanda Landowska Symposium in Berlin, as well as recitals and workshops in New Mexico and Oregon.


M.M. and D.M.A., Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, N.Y. B.M., Oberlin


Studio organ and harpsichord; related major classes; MUHI 5100; MUHI 6320; MPED 5114


Three books; 11 CDs


Biography in most standard musical dictionaries; Who’s Who in the World since 2009 edition.

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