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Elizabeth Claar combines teaching, church work, and performance in a multifaceted musical career. An assistant professor of music at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, she teaches first-year theory. She also teaches organ at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since 2004 she has been the organist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids. Dr. Claar gives private organ and piano lessons to students of all ages, and she is passionate about introducing the organ to young people. She directed AGO Pipe Organ Encounters at Hope College in both 2008 and 2012, last year attracting 28 teenagers and 15 faculty members. From 2004 to 2009 she served as Dean of the Holland Area AGO chapter. Dr. Claar spent the 2006–2007 school year in Armenia, where she was immersed in Armenian culture and researched Armenian organ music. She performs frequently as a soloist, having given concerts in the United States and in Armenia, and as a staff accompanist at Hope College. Performance and research interests include the works of Charles-Marie Widor and cross-rhythms and hemiola in organ and harpsichord music.
Dr. Claar earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance at The University of Michigan, where she studied organ with James Kibbie and the late Robert Glasgow and harpsichord with Edward Parmentier. She also completed a certificate in music theory pedagogy. Dr. Claar received her Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Houghton College in New York. Her other organ teachers have been Huw Lewis, William Haller, Judy Congdon, and Susan Klotzbach.