Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, organist and composer Alfred V. Fedak attended the Pingry School and graduated from Hope College in 1975 with degrees in Organ Performance and Music History. He subsequently earned a Master’s degree in Organ Performance from Montclair State University and has done additional study at Westminster Choir College (church music), Eastman School of Music (harpsichord continuo), the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, Austria (music history), and in England at the first Cambridge Choral Studies Seminar at Clare College, Cambridge. He studied organ with Prudence Curtis, Roger Davis, Roger Rietberg, and Jon Gillock; his harpsichord studies were with Arthur Haas. A Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, Mr. Fedak also holds the Guild’s Choirmaster Certificate, and from 1995 to 2000 served as Director of the AGO’s national Professional Certification Committee. Since 1986 he has been a member of the guild’s national Board of Examiners: his own grade of 95% on the AGO’s Fellowship paperwork remains the highest score ever achieved on that demanding, seven-hour examination since the founding of the Guild in 1896.
A widely-published and well-known composer of church music, Mr. Fedak has over 300 choral and organ works in print, and more than 100 of his hymntunes appear in hymnals and collections throughout the US, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan. Four anthologies of his hymns have been published by Selah Publishing Company: The Alfred V. Fedak Hymnary (1990), Sing to the Lord No Threadbare Song (2001), God of the Future (2009), and Stones Unthrown (2014). A review of God of the Future in The Hymn (the journal of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada) called Fedak “the finest composer of hymn tunes working today,” and Harvard University recently described him as being “widely regarded as one of the greatest living composers of original hymn tunes.”
Mr. Fedak has earned many awards in organ performance and composition, including the AGO’s prestigious S. Lewis Elmer Award, as well as grants and prizes from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Hymn Society, and the John Ness Beck Foundation, and has received ASCAP composition awards annually since 2001. In 1995 he was named a Visiting Fellow in Church Music at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. More recently, he has received additional honors from institutions as diverse as the Pingry School (his alma mater), the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, The Presbyterian Association of Musicians, the Casimir Pulaski Society, and the Historic Albany Foundation. In 2019 he was admitted to membership in the Guild of Scholars of the Episcopal Church.
Mr. Fedak served on the editorial committee for Sing! A New Creation, a hymnal supplement prepared jointly by the Reformed Church in America, the Christian Reformed Church, and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and most recently served as a member of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (the committee which assembled GLORY TO GOD, the new hymnal of the PCUSA), overseeing the work of its music subcommittee.
Recently called “one of the country’s leading church musicians” by The American Organist, Mr. Fedak has performed and lectured widely throughout the US, including at national and regional conferences of the AGO, the Organ Historical Society, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, and the Hymn Society (of which he is a Life Member). In addition to his many solo appearances, he has performed with numerous choral and instrumental ensembles, including Albany Pro Musica, the New York Catholic Chorale, Saratoga Chamber Singers, Octavo Singers, the Schenectady Choral Society, the St. Rose Masterworks Chorale, the Siena College Choir, the Clare Ensemble, Battenkill Chorale, Mohawk Valley Chorus, Oneida Area Civic Chorale, Burnt Hills Oratorio Society, Hudson-Mohawk Chorale, Germany’s Harmonic Brass, Chicago’s Foster Street Brass, the Catskill Brass, the North Star Trombone Quartet, the Catskill Chamber Players, the Catskill Symphony, the Empire State Youth Orchestra, Musicians of Ma’alwyck, the St. Cecilia Chamber Orchestra, the Franciscan Chamber Orchestra, Music from Salem, and two Grammy-winning ensembles: the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Brass. He also appears regularly in concert as harpsichordist and organist with the Capitol Chamber Artists. As a soloist, accompanist, or church musician, he has performed in Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, and Anguilla.
He has composed music on commission for numerous churches, cathedrals, schools, colleges, individuals, community choruses, the Hymn Society, the Organ Historical Society, and for chapters of the AGO and Choristers Guild. His choral and organ works have been heard on national television broadcasts, including The Joy of Music and The Hour of Power, on the syndicated radio programs Sing for Joy and Pipedreams, and on WNYC-FM’s Studio 360. He has written articles and reviews for The American Organist, The Hymn, Reformed Worship, and Music in Worship. His highly-reviewed CD, Come, Creator Spirit, was released in 2008 and features nearly 80 minutes of his original organ music.
Mr. Fedak has served as organist and choir director for churches and synagogues in the East and Midwest. Since 1990 he has held the position of Minister of Music and Arts at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Capitol Hill in Albany, where he plays a recently-restored four-manual, 1929 E. M. Skinner pipe organ. In 2014 he was reappointed Organist/Choir Director of Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany, a position he had previously held from 1991 to 2001. He has taught organ and keyboard harmony at the College of St. Rose, and is now a member of the adjunct music faculty at SUNY Schenectady. Mr. Fedak is a Past Dean of the Eastern New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and from 2000 through 2017 served as Chapel Organist at Emma Willard School in Troy, New York. He and his wife Susan are the parents of two grown sons: Peter and Benjamin.