As a renowned church organist, conductor, composer and improviser, David Cherwien brings creativity to hymns of various traditions and styles. He has won national acclaim as a leader of congregational song with hymn festivals that are always inspiring. With innovative merging of organ, piano, instruments and voices, his music enfolds the participants and transports them to an encounter with the sublime. Through this expression of faith, Mr. Cherwien bears witness that music is a glorious give of God.
Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Fine Arts Series 1997, Indianapolis, IN
David Cherwien is currently serving as Cantor at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Mn. and in 2002 was appointed Music Director for the National Lutheran Choir, also based in the Twin Cities. He has also held full-time parish music positions in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Chicago, Seattle, and Berlin. During the 2000-2001 academic year, he served as Organist/Cantor of Christ Chapel and Visiting Instructor of Music at Gustavus College, St. Peter, MN. While in Chicago, he served as Teaching Associate in Service Playing and improvisation at Elmhurst College. He completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance, and the Master of Arts degree in Theory and composition, both from the University of Minnesota. His undergraduate work was in organ performance and music education at Augsburg College, Mpls., where he was honored as distinguished alumni in the fall of 2000. Following his undergraduate work, he studied for two years at the Berlin Church Music School in Berlin, Germany. There he studied improvisation with Renate Zimmermann, organ Literature with Karl Hochreither, and composition with the late Ernst Pepping. He has also studied organ with Christian Baude in Aix-en-Provence, France, and with Paul Manz, Heinrich Fleisher and Earl Barr in this country, and is a Fellow with Melodious Accord, studying composition with Alice Parker.
He has published an extensive amount of choral music, and liturgical music for choir, organ and congregation with AMSI, Abingdon, GIA, Morningstar, Concordia, Augsburg/Fortress and Chrositer’s Guild. He is the author of the book Let the People Sing, a practical guide for those who lead the congregation in song, published in 1997 by Concordia. He has produced CD’s of choral music with the National Lutheran Choir, as well as congregational hymns, organ arrangements, and entire hymn festivals. Cd’s are available for purchase through www.nlca.org, and www.mountolivechurch.org.
Dr. Cherwien has distinguished himself among American organists by his ability to play an entire church service: including prelude, postlude, liturgy, and hymns; with very little reference to printed music. In the European tradition of church organists, going back to the time of Bach and before, he composes or improvises much of the music he plays in a worship service. The music is based on the lessons and liturgy appointed for the day and even on the texts of the hymns to be sung.
David is a founding member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians serving in its leadership in a variety of capacities, including National President from 1993 to 1997. He is also active in the American Guild of Organists, and Chorister’s Guild.
His workshops on church music, service playing and improvisation, and his hymn festivals and other worship leadership roles have brought him to many parts of the country.