"Students were astonished by the technical fireworks and the sheer beauty...brilliant performance."
(Pamela Decker, University of Arizona, presenter)
"Above and beyond his astounding technique, the performer had the gift of bringing to each of the works he played a convincing, communicative spirituality." (Argus de la Presse, Paris)
"A master organist, he approached every page with a penetrating sense of phrasing. No detail of registration was too tiny to be overlooked, yet his readings were somehow free of the fussiness many performers adopt when playing in full view of their audience."
(The Evening Star, Washington)
"An organist who is as virtuosic as he is sensitive, as brilliant as he is inspired, who excels in interpreting the elegance of these works which are so full of poetry and spiritual exaltation...his was the touch of the master."
(Le Bien Public, Dijon, France)
"Dr. Spillman is an artist and scholar who radiates a warmth and approachability that draws musicians and non-musicians alike. We feel enriched by this experience." (Jimmie L. Jackson, Peoples Baptist Church, Boston, Massachusetts)
Has extremely diligent in preparing for the recital and created a delightful and informative presentation for the AGO chapter." (David A. Gross, First United Church of Christ, Reading PA)
American concert organist Herndon Spillman has earned an international reputation for his interpretations of the works of the French composers. He is in demand as a recitalist both here and abroad, frequently touring in France where appearances include major festivals and recordings for radio broadcast. He was featured as a performer at the 1992 national convention of the American Guild of Organists meeting in Atlanta.
A protégé of Maurice Duruflé, Herndon Spillman is highly regarded as an interpreter of Duruflé's music. He studied with Duruflé for two years and his doctoral dissertation, The Organ Works of Maurice Duruflé, is regarded as an important reference source regarding the interpretation of this literature. Dr. Spillman was the first to record the complete organ works of Duruflé on an album which later received the "Grand Prix du Disque" in France.
His early musical studies took place in Huntsville, Alabama. Upon receiving the Bachelor of Arts in Music from Dillard University in New Orleans, he went to Indiana University as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. There he studied with Oswald Ragatz, earning his master's and doctorate degrees, as well as the Performer's Certificate. As a doctoral candidate, he was affiliated with the university's renowned Black Music Center where he assembled a collection of organ music written by black American composers. Further study took place with Marie-Claire Alain and André Marchal, in addition to his work with Duruflé.
Herndon Spillman is coordinator of the organ program in the School of Music at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He records on the Titanic label which has recently issued two new albums, A Diversity of Riches, which features 20th century American composers, and French Suites for Organ, which includes works of Clérambault, Messiaen, and Duruflé. Titanic has also re-released his award-winning Duruflé album on compact disc in addition to his popular 300 Years of French Glory.
In June 2006, the Indiana Organist United, an affiliate of the Indiana University Alumni Association awarded Dr. Spillman the Oswald Gleason Ragatz Distinguished Organist Alumni Award. The honor was also shared with Dr. William Entriken of New York City.