As one of Canada’s more active and versatile organists, Vancouver Civic Organist Michael Dirk is equally at home offering solo concerts, accompanying the many fine choirs/ensembles of the region, improvising an entertaining accompaniment to a silent film, or serving liturgically in various worship styles. During his BMus program at UBC, he studied organ with Ed Norman and Denis Bédard. Michael then continued as graduate assistant with full scholarship, to the eminent teacher, Clyde Holloway, at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University of Houston, Texas, where he received his Master’s degree. Subsequent studies include the Cavaillé-Coll organs of Paris, as well as the Fr Willis organs and Cathedral choir school systems of London.
Michael has performed for national festivals of the Royal Canadian College of Organists for which he serves as Vancouver Centre’s co-president and Education officer, as well as the Association of Anglican Musicians national conference. Since 2012, Michael has been the Music Director/Organist of St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church. He is frequently invited to showcase the Orpheum’s historic Mighty WurlitZer for the VSO and VCT, having studied with Robert MacDonald (Radio City Concert Hall NYC) and Charlie Balogh (Organ Stop Pizza, Mesa). A sought-after clinician, Michael has offered numerous workshops for the RCCO and British Columbia Music Educator Association, as well as articles for Organ Canada Journal. Recently, with the help of Canada Council for the Arts grant, he was invited to help introduce the pipe organ to Rwanda by means of tele-midi.
Michael is on faculty at the UBC School of Music and VSO School of Music, as well teaches K-7 music full time for VSB’s Shaughnessy Elementary. Away from the classroom and organ bench, Michael can be found ballroom dancing with his wife, percussionist/educator Annabelle Ip, and teaching their daughter how to sail around English Bay.