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Episode No. 9: Alan Terricciano, UCI Composer and Dance Professor      

Every music lover wishes they could go back in time and ask the great composers like Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven what inspired their music and the stories behind every piece. Today, we are lucky enough to ask exactly those questions of a

living composer, Alan Terricciano, Composer and Professor of Dance at University of California – Irvine. Listen to the composer himself not only introduce and describe his own music, but also improvise music off-the-cuff at the piano.

Discover the vast, emotional gamut of local composer Alan Terricciano’s music – from the playfulness of a hoedown for solo violin, to the spontaneous music improvised at a piano, and finally to the passionate work Ash in remembrance of

the events of 9/11 that brought the world together.


Episode No. 8: The Music of Candlemas – the End of Christmas       

Remembering the old tradition of keeping our Christmas decorations up until “Candlemas”, this last episode of the Christmas season explores the music inspired by the texts and themes of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, AKA

“Candlemas”. The luminous theme evoked by the sacred scriptures of this sacred feast have been inspiring composers and poets alike for centuries. Hear some of the choral classics including settings of the Canticle of Simeon (Nunc

Dimittis), Lux Aurumque (“Light and Gold”), and even movements from Handel’s Messiah, with some special recordings from the Boris Ord days of King’s College Cambridge, and the incredible Emma Kirkby singing the fieriest movement

from Handel’s Messiah. Experience the organ sparkle with brilliant performances of some of her own radiant music by Diane Bish herself, and an equally brilliant setting of “This little light of mine” by living composer Calvin Taylor played by

Raymond Nagem, Cathedral Organist at St. John the Divine, NYC.


Episode No. 7: Everyone Dance!              

Join us for EVERYONE DANCE! Featuring guest organist Dr. Emma Whitten, Associate Director of Music and Organist at Mission San Luis Rey Parish in Oceanside, California, the largest of the 21 California

missions. Dr. Whitten just recently recorded a program for the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Guild of Organists consisting of organ music influenced by many forms of Dance, old and new.

As a complement to her Los Angeles performance, Sounds from the Sanctuary Host David Ball and Dr. Emma Whitten discuss the centuries-old relationship between dance forms and organ music, and even explore Dr. Whitten’s own

unique background of both math and music degrees.


Episode No. 6 Christmas favorites 2020                

As we celebrate Christmas during this time of the Covid Pandemic, David Ball and Guest Daniel Ficarri guide us through some of their favorite Christmas Carols and Choral works – familiar music of the season

during these strange times. While most live Christmas music is on hold following safety guidelines, we can at least listen to cherished arrangements and performances of Carols usually sung all over the world,

including so many classics from David Willcocks, John Rutter, and even Mr. Candlelight himself, Dr. John Romeri. Also during this year that Pope Francis has declared a Year of St. Joseph, discover The Cherry

Tree Carol, one of the only carols to tell a story featuring Joseph.

A safe and Merry Christmas to all!


Episode No. 4 The Music of Beethoven Pt. 1

Born 250 years ago, Ludwig van Beethoven is a household name, known for composing the hymn “Ode to Joy” AKA “Joyful, Joyful”, the famed 4-note fate theme of his Fifth Symphony, the haunting “Moonlight” Sonata and “Für Elise for piano. These gorgeous pieces, though, are only a sampling of this legendary composer’s life’s work. In the first of this two-part series, Host David Ball is joined by Brooklyn-based composer and organist Ryan Dodge in an exploration into the inspired works of Ludwig van Beethoven – featuring not only his most well-known pieces, but also highlighting some of his lesser-known, but most well-crafted pieces. With the guidance and perspective of composer Ryan Dodge, learn about Beethoven and why this composer is still remembered, loved, and celebrated 250 years later. Part I features music from his solo piano works and string quartets!

Learn more about this episode’s cohost Ryan Dodge:


Episode No. 1 Celebrating 150 Years of Louis Vierne

Sounds from the Sanctuary celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Louis Vierne, French composer and famed organist of Notre Dame in Paris, with a playlist of some of his greatest hits. Featuring recordings of American organists Dr. David Crean, Christopher Houlihan, George Baker, and Diane Bish; and historical recordings of Pierre Cochereau, Virgil Fox, Richard Morris, Stephen Cleobury, Vierne himself, and a never-before-heard recording of André Marchal.


Episode No. 80 Marian Music for the Month of May

 Guest Host David Ball takes us on a musical journey of Marian Music – from some of the oldest written hymns to classic Romantic-era solo works to well-known choral settings. Joining David is composer and friend of the show Daniel Ficarri. A recent graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, Daniel Ficarri speaks from the heart of a composer about the inspiring nature of Marian texts, and shares with us his own Ave Maria – a radio premiere and exclusive to Music from the Tower! Featured alongside Ficarri’s stunning new Ave Maria are classics including the Schubert, Bach-Gounod, and Biebl settings; and some lesser-known, yet equally gorgeous settings by living composers Anna Jacobs, Cecilia McDowall, James Biery, and John Rutter.


Episode No. 70 Saturday, October 12, 2019 Stephen Tharp, Concert Organist

“Stephen Tharp is the best organist in America.”  The Diapason 

This fantastic episode is with the most active concert organist in the world, Stephen Tharp.
Having played more than 1600 concerts across over 53 tours worldwide, Stephen has built one of the most well-respected international careers in the world, earning him the reputation as the most traveled concert organist of his generation.  He has been given the 2011 International Performer of the Year Award by the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists. In May 2015, he was given the Paul Creston Award which recognizes artistic excellence by a significant figure in church music and the performing arts.
His list of performances since 1987 includes such distinguished venues as St. Bavo, Haarlem; Notre-Dame de Paris, St. Eustache, Paris; Notre Dame de Chartres; The Hong Kong Cultural Centre; the Town Halls of Sydney and Adelaide, Australia; Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow; the Duomo, Milano, Italy; the cathedrals in Berlin, Köln, The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas; Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles; The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia; The Riverside Church, New York City; Rice University, Houston; and Spivey Hall, Atlanta.
Stephen Tharp remains an important champion of new organ music, and continues to commission and premiere numerous compositions for the instrument. The first such piece was Jean Guillou’s symphonic poem Instants, Op. 57, which Tharp premiered at King’s College, Cambridge, England in February 1998.  Works dedicated to him include composers George Baker, David Briggs, Samuel Adler Thierry Escaich and Anthony Newman.  Himself a composer, Tharp was commissioned by Cologne Cathedral, Germany to compose for Easter Sunday, 2006 his Easter Fanfares for the inauguration of the organ’s new en chamade Tuba stops, as well Disney’s Trumpets, composed in February 2011 for the organ at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, where it was premiered by the composer the following month.
In April 2008, Stephen Tharp was named the Official Organist for the NY visit of Pope Benedict XVI, playing for three major events attended by more than 60,000 people that were broadcast live worldwide
His 15 solo organ recordings can be found on the labels Acis Productions, JAV Recordings, Aeolus, Naxos, Organum and Ethereal, and are available from the Organ Historical Society (, JAV Recordings ( and Amazon (
Stephen Tharp earned his BA degree, magna cum laude, from Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL and his MM from Northwestern University, Chicago, where he studied with Rudolf Zuiderveld and Wolfgang Rübsam, respectively.  He has also worked privately with Jean Guillou in Paris.
Music all performed by Stephen Tharp and is available on i-tunes.
“I vow to Thee, my country”. (Thaxted) Album: Great Church Hymns Traditional and New.
Fugue in D Major, BWV 532 Johann S. Bach Album: Stephen Tharp Plays the Organ at St. Bavo, Haarlem.
Station IV Jesus meets His Mother   Album: Marcel Dupré: The Stations of the Cross, Op. 29
Danse Diabolique  George Baker Album: Stephen Tharp: The St. James’ Recital.


Episode No. 68 Saturday, September 21, 2019 Craig S. Williams, Organist/Choirmaster of the West Point Cadet Chapel

Craig Williams is the Organist/Choirmaster at West Point Cadet Chapel, Craig enjoys the distinction of playing one of the world’s largest church pipe organ. some 23, 511 pipes in all (Hazel has just over 17,000) He is the fourth organist to hold the position of Organist/Choirmaster at West Point, where he has given numerous VIP demonstrations for royalty, cabinet members, generals, members of Congress, and other international government and military figures.  He holds degrees from Westminster Choir College, The Juilliard School, and the University of Southern California. A native of Souther California, Craig has had extensive experience as a concert performer at major venues throughout the United States, including the Crystal Cathedral and the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts.

Mr. Williams earned a Master of Music in organ performance from Westminster Choir College of Rider University; Church Music Certificate with honors, Westminster Conservatory; M.M., piano, The Juilliard School; B.M., cum laude, piano, University of Southern California. Organ studies with Eugene Roan, conducting studies with Allan Crowell and Andrew Megill. First recipient of the Currin Scholarship (full graduate) in organ performance. Since August 2000 he has served as Organist and Director of Music, Cadet Chapel, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY; He is also adjunct professor of organ, Nyack College. Conservatory faculty since 1999.

Enjoy a fascinating visit with this very busy professional musician serving at this most prestigious post. All of the organ pieces on today’s show are performed by Craig. West Point Cadet Chapel Organ Recitals

MUSIC: Sonata No. 1 IV. Allegro assai Vivace Felix Mendelssohn (recorded on the Segerstrom Fisk Organ)
MUSIC: Christ Lag in Todes Banden Johann Sebastian Bach
MUSIC: Symphony No. 3 IV. Adagio Louis Vierne (recorded at West Point Chapel)
MUSIC: Symphony No. 6 V. Finale Charles Marie Widor (recorded at West Point Chapel)
MUSIC: Festal Flourish composed and performed by Craig Williams (recorded at West Point Chapel)


Episode No. 66 Saturday, August 24, 2019 Dr. Steven Ball, Concert Organist, Church Musician, Carillonnuer, Director of Sacred Music at the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales, St. Louis, Missouri.

Steven Ball has recently been named as Director of Sacred Music at The Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis, Missouri. The Oratory is famous for a unique and varied choral repertoire spanning several centuries and performed by numerous ensembles. The liturgies are conducted exclusively in Latin using the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the universal form of the Roman Catholic Liturgy before the changes which followed the Second Vatican Council. As such it provides a unique cultural and musical setting in which the music of some of the greatest composers for sacred choral and organ music can be heard in their original context.
A native of Michigan originally, Dr. Ball studied at the University of Michigan where he later went on to teach, serve as University Carillonneur, and the Director of the famous Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. He received his DMA in 2007 as a student of Marilyn Mason.   A former Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands, Steven Ball is also well known for his work in the world of campanology (the study of bells), improvisation, as an organ consultant, for silent film accompaniment and as a theater organist. He has traveled and performed extensively in both the United States and abroad including concerts in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Portugal, Ireland, England, Switzerland and Italy. He was inducted as a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (a Papal Knighthood) in 2017.

He comes to this position from New Jersey where he last served as Organist and Director of Outreach (now Emeritus) for the world’s largest pipe organ located in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. His time there also included a position at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, PA.  While serving on the faculty of the Organ Department at the University of Michigan, he also served as Cathedral Organist at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit and Senior Staff Organist at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor.

St. Francis de Sales Oratory is one of the largest and most important examples of gothic revival architecture in the nation. Tied for 6th tallest church tower in the United States, it is located on historic Route 66 and is open daily for visitors. Named America’s most beautiful church in a recent nationwide contest, the church is served by priests from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Today’s show is all about his work at the Oratory and the music for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (The Latin Mass).
MUSIC: Asperges Me Chant; Introit: Dignus est Agnus; Kyrie (Mass V); Gloria (Mass V); Gradual: Dominabitur; Credo (Mass V); Sanctus and Benedictus (Mass V); Agnus Dei (Mass V); Communion: Sedebit; March Gothique by Becker. Steven Ball Organist.