FROM THE CRITICS

“Organist Christopher Houlihan has world-class chops and the kind of passion that most people who tackle playing the king of instruments have in abundance. Houlihan’s strength is that he’s able to communicate that passion, not just with fingers and feet, but by engaging the audience with plenty of insight into both craft and history. The organ world needs more ambassadors like him.”
(Alan Young, Lucid Culture, June 2015)

“Christopher Houlihan Adds Shine to a Restored Organ at Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph [Brooklyn, NY]. For a Roman Catholic church, an organ is much more than an instrument. It has an almost sacramental power. At the dedication ceremony and concert this past weekend, the gifted young organist Christopher Houlihan proved that the family firm charged with the overhaul, Peragallo, has done an immaculate job. The temptation, for Mr. Houlihan, must have been toward ostentation in showing off their work. Though a rumble here and a tweet there prompted modest smiles on the builders’ faces, he mostly resisted. Saint-Saens’ Fantasy in E-flat was as densely perfumed as the incense what hung in the nave from an earlier Mass. In Vierne’s Fourth Symphony, Mr. Houlihan’s elegant singing of clarinet and flute lines in the Romance movement, over lush clouds of air, would have pleased any conductor of Debussy.”
(David Allen, The New York Times, September 2015)

 “Christopher Houlihan presented a personality-filled and passionate recital. We gasped…at Houlihan’s pillars of sound, produced for Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E minor. Indeed it will not be heard so well realized again.”
(Charlene Baldridge, November/December 2015 issue, American Record Guide)

Mr. Houlihan was attuned to these shifts in mood, bringing a sensitive touch to the misty Romance in the Fourth and carnivalesque brilliance to the twinkling Scherzo of the Second. He phrased with flexibility and clarity through the works’ knottiest chromatic wanderings. And in the jubilant, even maniacal finales—like that of the Sixth, bathed in B major brilliance—Mr. Houlihan’s playing had a glamorous sheen appropriate to Vierne’s music.”
(The New York Times, 2012)

“A rising young American organist…displaying a virtuoso’s technical prowess, an architect’s grasp of structure and a torch singer’s ability to convey emotions….Songful expressivity…Dazzling performances. He captured the ominous undertone of the Fourth’s opening prelude, as well as the surging dram of its manic conclusion. And his deft footwork on the pedals throughout the concerts prompted one listener to dub him “the Fred Astaire of the pipe organ.”…In Mr. Houlihan’s hands, the organ delivered plenty of firepower and juicy, well-blended chords, like a homogeneous string section in a fine symphony orchestra. His recitals have proved an excellent match between performer and composer [Vierne], worth hearing by anyone who enjoys virtuosic organ works. Indeed, his expressive music-making made me like Vierne’s organ symphonies better than before.”
(Barbara Jepson, The Wall Street Journal, 2012)

“Houlihan’s ‘Vierne 2012’ is a major surprise of the summer, a true revelation….He is an eloquent musician. His rhythmic sense is clear-cut American. His feet elegantly tap dance on the pedals. Everything he plays is sharply and smartly delineated. His tempos were on the satisfyingly quick side, yet so naturally that nothing felt rushed or unduly showy. In fact, more than four hours’ worth of punishingly gnomic organ writing proved in Houlihan’s hands ever graceful of shape and full of life….Houlihan revealed another, more ingratiating side to Vierne’s symphonies, that of the highly unconventional sonic and structural daring of Berlioz along with the uniquely French bizarreness of, say, Charles-valentine Alkan or even Erik Satie….Most [of the audience] listened to emotionally and musically challenging, unfamiliar pieces with riveted attention….Houlihan gave [the third symphony] a feisty grandeur…Houlihan’s most remarkable feat may have been to find a glimpse of luminosity in the desolate Fifth [symphony] that revealed great insights into the human condition….Concentrated and unsentimental, Houlihan ended the cycle with an unnervingly honest and direct performance, astonishing for so young a performer. The Houli fans can give themselves high fives. They’ve helped launch a major career.”
(Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 2012)

“The instrument was lavishly displayed by Christopher Houlihan, a young American organist of formidable skill and considerable flamboyance….Dispatching those notes with such authority and élan was a major accomplishment. Constantly, and deftly, shifting and nuancing sonorities…added to the amazement.”
(Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News)

“Organist Christopher Houlihan, a brilliant young virtuoso…This current Vierne tour has brought universal praise from critics in every city where he has appeared. He already has a fanatical following of  ‘Houli fans,’ much like a rock star. Some other organists sniff a little at all of this hoopla, but ‘Houli’ is bringing a lot of attention to an instrument that is badly in need of it. Organ concerts are routinely ignored and poorly attended. He packs ‘em in.”
(Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, TheatreJones.com)

“An incredibly gifted performer and leader among professional organists of his generation…demonstrably virtuosic.” [Awarded five of five stars]
(Examiner.com, Orlando FL, 2013)

“HARTFORD SYMPHONY’S SEASON OPENER A SMASHING SUCCESS: Houlihan is an intense player who unleashed an extraordinary technical arsenal [showing] that an organ soloist can have the charisma and energy of a major soloist.”
(The Hartford Courant, 2008)

“HOULIHAN GLORIOUSLY PASSIONATE ON ORGAN WITH PSO: Houlihan performed with charisma [leaving] the audience both enthralled and eager for more.”
(The Morning Call, Allentown, PA, 2010)

“Vibrant, youthful star power”
(The American Organist, New York, 2011)

“One of the hottest, brightest, rising stars in a new generation of American organists.”
(The Fairfield Weekly Reader, IA, 2011)

“ORGANIST’S STAR RISES HIGH, QUICKLY: Organ phenom who has already been called one of the brightest stars in the new generation of American organists….rising star of the organ world who already has his own fan club.”
(Cincinnati Enquirer, 2009)

“A major talent.”
(The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville)

“Christopher Houlihan is one of the hottest young organists to emerge in recent years.”
(Pioneer Press, St. Paul, MN, 2014)

“Enormous talent…an amazing musician and performer….the audience should be prepared to be mesmerized.”
(The Republican, Springfield, MA, 2009)

“Rare talent was prominent throughout the performance…. No wonder there is a growing number of ‘Houli Fans’ throughout the world eager to embrace his refreshing perspective of the concert organ repertoire.”
(James R. Barry, Classical Voice of New England, 2010)

“Houlihan has rekindled excitement about the age-old instrument among people of all ages….I predict he will be one of the major performers of the 21st century.”
(The Catholic Observer, Springfield, MA, 2009)

 “A new prince for the king of instruments.”
(The Recorder, Greenfield, MA)

“Profound and disarming natural empathy for Vierne is evident in his performing….His sense of registration is wonderful: deeply grounded in historic practice, not wedded to historical canons but rather to his musicality….with musicians like Christopher Houlihan in our midst, the slopes of Parnassus will not grow grassy nor will Apollo want for company.”
(The American Organist, 2012)

FROM THE PRESENTERS

“Your performance last night was wonderful and showed off the organ so beautifully. You made me quite proud of this organ with the great variety of color you used and the sensitivity of your program and playing.”
(Nelson Dodge, Church Keyboard Center, Monrovia, CA, January 2016)