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Dr. Mickey Thomas Terry at the organ of First Baptist Church-DC

Mickey Thomas Terry, Ph.D. (he/him/his)

Master Instructor – Organ, Howard Concert Choir Accompanist, Blacks in the Arts

  • Department of Music
  • College of Fine Arts


Mickey Thomas Terry, a native of Greenville, North Carolina, holds degrees from East Carolina University in Greenville, and a Ph.D. from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. His principal organ teachers were Clarence Watters, Charles Callahan, and Ronald Stolk (Improvisation).

Dr. Terry was the Second Prize winner of the 9th Annual Clarence Mader National Organ Competition (Los Angeles/Pasadena, 1986), and a finalist in both the Michigan International Organ Competition (Ann Arbor, MI, 1987), and the Flint International Competition (Flint, MI, 1989). He is currently the Organist of Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Virginia. Dr. Terry has concertized throughout the United States and the Bahamas, and has been broadcast several times on American Public Media's "Pipedreams," the official radio program of the American Guild of Organists. Dr. Terry was also a featured recitalist at the national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists. Moreover, he has presented masterclasses, lectures, and music workshops at various institutions around the country.  He has been a featured artist at Washington's John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and organ recitalist at the Piccolo-Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Dr. Terry has taught on the faculty of Georgetown University and has written several journal articles for The American Organist Magazine, The Diapason, and the British journal Choir and Organ, as well as The Musical Quarterly. There is also an article that appears in Volume IV of Essays in American Music (Garland Publishers, 1999). He is the former Sub-Dean and Program Chair of the District of Columbia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He has also served on the Advisory Board for the ECS/AGO African-American Organ Music Series published by E.C. Schirmer Music Company of Boston. Dr. Terry is the editor of a critically-acclaimed, multi-volume African-American Organ Music Anthology published by MorningStar Music Publishers of St. Louis.  He is the current recipient of a 2023-2024 Artist Fellowship from the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Dr. Terry serves currently as Organist of Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, VA.

Dr. Terry appears on the Albany Records label compact disc George Walker—A Portrait, playing the organ works of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Walker and on the American Public Media compact disc Pipedreams Premieres, Volume 2, playing an organ work of African-American composer Thomas H. Kerr.  He is recognized as the leading authority on the organ music of African-American classical composers.

Education & Expertise


Organ Performance and Pedagogy; African-American History; The Organ Music of African-American Classical Composers

MICKEY THOMAS TERRY--GEORGE WALKER - [1996 Pulitzer Prize for Music]: “A superb recitalist of unquestionable ability”....“Dr. Terry is a nationally known organ virtuoso”; JEAN GUILLOU - [Paris]: "His organ technique is easy and perfect ... his career in the organ world will reveal him conspicuously and in the best way.” PIPEDREAMS - Minnesota Public Radio:  “Playing with zeal and intelligence, with equal parts passion and poetry”; THE WASHINGTON POST [Reubke Sonata; 1997 AGO Region III Convention]; “Terry’s performance growled and pounded the walls to fine effect”; THE WASHINGTON POST [Marcel Dupre-"The Stations of the Cross"]: “Terry showed extraordinary skill in elucidating what in lesser hands can seem opaque ...”; THE AMERICAN ORGANIST MAGAZINE: “Terry played an impressive recital (from memory)”; THE WASHINGTON POST: [Organ concerto program]: “A precise performance ...”; THE AMERICAN ORGANIST MAGAZINE [Albany Records CD-Three Pieces for Organ by George Walker]: “ ... Elegantly played ...”; THE DIAPASON: “... An unusually fertile musical mind”; THE NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS [Raoul Abdul]: “…great technical skill and impeccable musicianship.”; THE AMERICAN ORGANIST MAGAZINE [2001 American Guild of Organists Region IV Convention]: “A rousing program…inspired”; THE WASHINGTON AFRO-AMERICAN: “[Terry] played brilliantly….”; THE NEWS SENTINEL [Knoxville, TN]: “Playing entirely from memory, Terry’s execution was crisp and energized…”;     THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER [John F. Kennedy Center-Washington, DC]: “Ending the recital was the Fantasia and Fugue on B-A-C-H by Franz Liszt.  For this showpiece, Terry flourished at the instrument, playing with remarkable virtuosity…dazzling pedal action”; THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE [Williamsburg, VA-The College of William and Mary Recital]:  "The large crowd enthusiastically applauded both Terry's virtuoso playing, and of course, the organ."



Blacks in the Arts; Applied Organ Instruction; Concert Choir

Blacks in the Arts is a course that is designed to provide students with general knowledge and understanding of the contributions of African-American artists and the interrelationship of their achievements with the world of art and culture.  It is hoped that students will profit from the integrated discussion and demonstration of three types of artistic expression: music, theatre, and visual art.  The course also provides a thorough grounding in the history of African-Americans as it pertains to the development of the arts.Concert Choir is a performance entity (for course credit) wherein students learn the music repertory of the choral literature.  This music includes works by traditional European Classical Composers such as Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, as well as African-American composers such as George Walker, Mark Fax, Thomas H. Kerr, and Adolphus Hailstork, all of who had affiliations with Howard University.  In addition to the study of music from the categories of oratorio, motet, cantata, and anthem, the choir also champions the Negro Spiritual. Applied Organ is offered as a major or minor concentration. It is also offered to non-music students. Auditions are required.




The Classical Music of African-American Composers



2023-2024 Artist Fellow

This fellowship is awarded by the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities for outstanding achievements in the Arts and Humanities.

2021-2022 Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts Dean's Distinguished Artist Award

2022-2023 Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts Outstanding Master Instructor Award