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Harriette Slack Richardson (b. July 3, 1920 – d. August 8, 2006). Young Harriette began piano lessons with Jessie Lawrence Brownell of Springfield, Vermont before she started grade school. By the time she was eleven, she became the organist at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Springfield, Vermont and remained in that position most of her life. She received no formal training in the organ until college. Her undergraduate degree was earned at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York in 1941, studying with Harold Gleason. She was the valedictorian of her high school class and her undergraduate degree. She also earned a master of music degree and was the first organist to earn an artist’s diploma in organ performance from the Eastman School of Music.


During the course of her professional life she held teaching positions at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H., Southeastern Louisiana University, Dartmouth College, and Vassar College. Dr. Richardson was a prizewinning composer who began composing relatively late in life. Most of her compositions are for organ. Her “Little Suite” received recognition from the Vermont AGO Chapter in 1960. “Jerusalem,” a prizewinning work in the AGO Regions I and II Composition Competition was performed in June 1986 at the AGO Regional Convention in Springfield, MA.


Harriette Richardson joined the AGO in 1940 as a student member at the Eastman School of Music. She became a member of the Vermont Chapter in 1949 and in 1989 she was designated Dean Emerita and Member for Life at their May meeting. She was named “Vermont’s First Lady of the Organ” at the AGO Regional Convention in Burlington, Vermont in July 1993.

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