J. David Williams, Accompanist
J. David Williams was born in the small west Tennessee town of Paris. He was exposed to music from the very beginning, owing to the fact that his mother, Peggy, is a church musician, choir director, and singer. He studied piano with Larue Lowe, then Rae Shanklea student of of Allison Nelsonand later with Nelson herself, who had been part of the world renowned two piano team Nelson & Neal. Williams was fascinated by the thick, sonorous orchestral sound of the organ in his church. He began self-study of the organ in junior high school, due to a lack of organ teachers in the area. Later, he took lessons with Maxine Clark, and then Ondra Farmer, who he succeeded as organist at First Christian Church in Paris at age 15.
Williams received his Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance at the University of Cincinnati Williams College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied with David Mulbury and Roberta Gary. Subsequently, he relocated to New York to begin the Master of Music program at The Juilliard School, where he studied organ and improvisation with Gerre Hancock. He went on to the Manhattan School of Music for a Doctor of Musical Arts in organ, where he studied performance with John Walker and improvisation with McNeil Robinson.
Williams has a keen interest in improvisation. He was a finalist in the St. Albans International Improvisation Competition in 1987, and a semi-finalist in the 1998 National Improvisation Competition of the American Guild of Organists. He has made recordings with the Boys Choir of Harlem, the U.S. Air Force, Pro Organo records and Sony/EMI.
Early in his career, Williams was Parish Musician at Christ-St. John Lutheran Church in West New York, New Jersey and Associate Organist at The Riverside Church. Currently, in addition to accompanying the Holy Apostles Community Chorus (which he has since its founding), he is Director of Music and Organist at The Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, and Organist at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan.