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UT Honors Alumnus Organist, Composer

Published: April 29, 2009
The University of Tampa will present Kurt Knecht, renowned organist and composer, with the 2nd Annual Outstanding Music Alumni Award on Saturday, May 2, following a free 4 p.m. concert of his music at the Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church, at 3501 W. San Jose St. in Tampa.

He will play a selection of his compositions, which have been described as “funky” and “joyous” by The Washington Post . Another concert will take place on Sunday, May 3, at 3 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown Tampa at the corner of Florida Ave. and Twiggs St.

A doctoral student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Knecht is majoring in composition with a minor in organ performance. Knecht received the Bachelor of Music degree from The University of Tampa in 1993 with concentrations in piano performance and theory and the Master of Music in Composition from Southern Methodist University.

The American Record Guide called him a “fresh voice,” and his compositions have become a staple of modern choral festival literature, having been performed on All State and ACDA concerts in more than 15 states. Recent performances of his works include international festivals and concerts in Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Canada and Mexico, and a performance at the Kennedy Center by the Grammy Award-winning Washington Chorale.

Knecht is regularly commissioned and publishes with Walton Music. He has received the ASCAP Plus award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. As an eclectic performer, Kurt has been a featured soloist with groups ranging from Smokey Robinson to The Florida Orchestra. Recent solo performances have been in Florida and Nebraska. He has been an organ student of Christopher Marks, Robert T. Anderson and UT professor of music and composer-in-residence Dr. David Clark Isele. Knecht is currently the organist and music director at St. Mark’s on the Campus in Lincoln, NE.