Ernest May.PNG

Dr. Ernie May is Professor Emeritus of Organ and Musicology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where, in addition to teaching, he served as Chair of the Department of Music and Dance (1988-2000) and Secretary (Head) of the Faculty Senate (2000-2015). Beginning as a boy chorister at Calvary Episcopal Church in Summit, N.J. in the 1950s, he has served in varied organist/music director positions from the age of 12, including St. George’s English Church, Paris, France; the Princeton University Chapel (assistant to Carl Weinrich); St. James’ Episcopal Church, Greenfield MA (1976-84); and South Congregational Church, Springfield, MA (1984-2006), prior to his appointment at All Saints’ in South Hadley (2018). He has presented organ recitals locally, in Germany and New York City, and produced a CD—Music for Trumpet and Organ--with trumpeter Walter Chesnut. As a musicologist with concentrations in 18th-century music and postmodern music, he is recognized for his expertise in the music of Bach (see J. S. Bach as Organist: His Instruments, Music and Performance Practices (Indiana University Press [1986], co-edited by Ernest May and George Stauffer). As a choral conductor, he has conducted performances of Bach Cantatas #80 and 192; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Magnificat; Handel’s Messiah; Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Mass in C Minor, and Requiem; Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Rossini’s Stabat Mater; Brahms’s Requiem; Bruckner’s Te Deum; Poulenc’s Gloria; and Rutter’s Gloria, Magnificat, and Requiem. He is also co-organizer (with Dr. Erinn Knyt) of the international Bach Symposia presented at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015, 2017, and 2019. His academic degrees are an A.B. from Harvard (1964) and Ph.D. from Princeton (1975). In addition, he studied organ with Andre´ Marchal and theory/conducting with Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1964-1966). Dr. May resides in South Amherst with his wife Mary (also an organist/music director, at Center Church in Brattleboro VT) and two labs, Brandy and Casey. He is the father of seven children, grandfather of eight, and great-grandfather of one.