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About Jillian Gardner

Jillian Gardner is the Director of Music at First United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Alabama where she serves as primary organist and oversees ensembles for adults and children. She is also the adjunct instructor of organ at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), the only college in the state of Alabama that offers a degree in organ or church music. Previously, she finished a 7-year term as the Councillor for Young Organists on the American Guild of Organists National Board. In the last year of the position, 2022, she ushered in a program that brought over 1,200 new young organists into the Guild as well as creating and executing a new organ scholar program for young professionals to continue learning from highly regarded church musicians.


Praised for being “solid and satisfying…the program was carefully considered and well-performed; it had something for everyone” (The Dessert Wind), Gardner strives to make the organ accessible to everyone by including much variety in her selections. She is regularly invited to be an artist at venues and conventions around the world. Gardner has worn her signature pink organ shoes in concert in venues across the United States from New York City to San Francisco as well as several venues in Canada and the United Kingdom. Highlights include concerts at Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Cadet Chapel in West Point, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. She has been honored to be a featured artist on the radio show Pipedreams, at Organ Historical Society Conventions, American Guild of Organists Conventions, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, and also called on to guest teach/give workshops, most recently at the Baylor University summer organ institute.


Gardner has a wide range of solo repertoire from the Baroque period up to the 21st century including her own transcriptions and commissioned works. Her transcription of “Grande valse villageoise” from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet is published with ECS Publishing and “would make a fun recital piece” (Mark Quarmby). She is highly sought after as a collaborator and accompanist and has enjoyed performing concerts of brass and organ music, voice and organ music as well as being a featured soloist with chamber ensembles, choirs, and symphony orchestras.


A graduate in the top of her class of Oberlin College and Conservatory (B.M.) and Baylor University (M.M. and A.D.), Gardner’s primary teachers include Dr. Isabelle Demers, James David Christie, Marie-Louise Langlais, and Stephen Best. As an award-winning organist, she has taken many top prizes and awards including the Regional Competition for Young Organists, the Arthur Pointer Competition, and was selected as one of the nation’s 2015 inaugural “Top 20 under 30” organists in the nation by The Diapason magazine for her achievements.


Gardner advocates for wellness outside the organ loft, believing that a healthy mind and body contribute to high artistic quality. For more information and to connect please visit JillianGardner.com. 

Private lessons and coachings: 

It is a teacher's job to understand that every student's needs are different. Each lesson and student are approached with flexibility in order to help each student thrive and reach their full potential. Skills will include performance and interpretation, technical facility, and body awareness. We will use exercises, solo repertoire, and sight-reading as a basis to build on these skills. 

Private lessons are offered in half-hour and full-hour increments on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Coachings are available as needed in the areas of organ repertoire and church repertoire, hymn playing, choir accompaniment, transcriptions, and registration.

College study:

Jillian is the organ instructor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). UAH is the only school in the state of Alabama that offers a degree in organ or church music. Visit here for more information and to apply: https://www.uah.edu/ahs/departments/music

Purchase music:

Jillian is published by E.C. Schirmer Music Company. Her music can be viewed and purchased here: https://www.canticledistributing.com/composers/g/jillian-gardner.html

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