Morgan, George Washbourne
- N. Lee Orr
(b Gloucester, England, April 9, 1822; d Tacoma, WA, July 9, 1892). English organist, composer, and conductor, active in the United States. After serving as organist at St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London, Morgan immigrated to the United States in 1853 and was immediately appointed organist at St Thomas Church, New York; he shortly moved to Grace Church. Later he played at St Anne’s Church (RC) and at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. In 1857 Dwight noted in his Journal of Music that Morgan played a Mendelssohn sonata and Bach’s fugue in G minor at Boston’s newly rebuilt Tremont Temple. In 1863 he was among the organists who opened the grand Boston Music Hall organ and was recalled six times. He performed in 1876 at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia as well.
Morgan was one of the first professionally trained organists in America. His fluent pedal technique and skillful manual playing helped raise organ playing to a new level in the United States; Dwight considered his performances the finest playing ever heard in the country. Moreover, Morgan introduced original organ works by Bach and Mendelssohn to American audiences. His engaging personality and excellent playing led him to help give the premières of many of the large, innovative instruments built in Boston, New York, and New England during the 1850s and 60s....