Campus News

Alumnus to reconnect to UB with evening of organ music


Published February 21, 2017

James Kosnik

James Kosnik

UB music alumnus and organist James Kosnik returns to his alma mater on March 3 for a recital on the university’s Fisk organ.

The Distinguished Alumni Concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus.

The program will feature works by Tunder, Froberger, DeGrigny, Bach, Vierne and Adolphus Hailstork, professor, eminent scholar and composer-in-residence at Old Dominion University, where Kosnik holds the title of University Professor of Music.

Kosnik also will perform the organ premiere of “Three Sea Nocturnes” by UB doctoral candidate Nathan Kelly.

Tickets are $15 for the general public; $10 for UB faculty/staff/alumni, seniors and non-UB students; and free for UB students with ID. Tickets may be purchased at the Center for the Arts box office, online at or one hour before concert time at the Slee Hall box office.

“UB for me has always represented the cutting edge of avant-garde music,” Kosnik says, noting he attended numerous concerts by Lukas Foss, Lejaren Hiller and John Cage, among others, while a student at UB during the late 1960s and early 1970s. “I thought it fitting and necessary to reconnect with that glorious tradition 50 years later.”

A Buffalo native, Kosnik was the organist for his parish, Assumption Church in Black Rock, from 1963-67 while a high school student at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. He went on to study at UB, earning a BA in piano and organ performance in 1971 and a MA in music history in 1973. He later earned a DMA in performance and literature (organ) from the Eastman School of Music in 1979.

After graduating from UB, he served as chair of the music department at Villa Maria College and director of music at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo. He joined the music faculty at Old Dominion University in 1982, serving as department chair from1986-92.

Kosnik also was a staff member at the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM), establishing the association’s first “school for organists” at Baldwin-Wallace College in 1989 and holding workshops at universities across the country.

He was featured frequently as a recitalist at regional and national NPM conventions, and at meetings of the American Guild of Organists. A former member of the Liturgical Organists Consortium, he has performed on the consortium’s recordings of noteworthy organ music.