Performing “Welkinharmonie” at the Church of the Epiphany, Washington, DC


"One of the most impressive examples I’ve come across of musicians helping people in need is Voices Rise: A Baltimore Choir of Hope in Southwest Baltimore organized by Peabody Conservatory alums, Douglas Buchanan and Benjamin Buchanan."

— Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

Douglas Buchanan, performer


Uniting a “sense of creative imperative” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) with the “ability to get under the skin of [the music’s] core material,” (The Scotsman), Douglas Buchanan cultivates cross-disciplinary careers as performer, conductor, educator, and composer. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, he teaches as composition faculty at Dickinson College, music theory and musicology faculty at the Peabody Conservatory, and serves as Artistic Director of the Maryland Choral Society and Choirmaster and Organist at St. David’s Episcopal Church.  

As an organist, Buchanan specializes in new music, Baroque repertoire, and improvisation. He recently performed his completion of J.S. Bach’s Die Kunst der Fuge at both the Baltimore Bach Marathon and the Washington, D.C. Bach Marathon, and has been a featured organ recitalist at the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, the Church of the Epiphany (D.C.) Concert Series, Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia, and at the Washington National Cathedral. As pianist, he performed a tour of the East Coast, Midwest, and Southwest of his virtuosic piano cycle Colonnades, a recipient of a Morton Gould Young Composers Award and funded by a grant from the Presser Foundation. He has performed lecture-recitals at meetings of the College Music Society, the Ecomusicologies conference, and at SUNY Fredonia, among others.

Before his appointment to St. David’s, he served as Organist and Director of Music at Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where he conducted the St. Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys, the second oldest choir of its kind in the nation during his tenure. Prior to that, he served as Organist and Director of Music at St. Mark’s-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church. He has conducted the opening performance of the American Choral Director’s Eastern Division Conference, and has been named three times as Music Director for the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. In demand as a clinician, he has led workshops for ACDA Voices Unites, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and was recognized by the American Prize for his choral conducting.

As a choral conductor, Buchanan elicits “assured, nuanced singing” from the ensembles he leads. Through his programming he particularly supports emerging composers, and advocates for an increasingly diverse body of repertoire through commissioning and recording. Through a Dean’s Incentive Grant from the Peabody Conservatory, he and his brother founded Voices Rise: A Baltimore Choir of Hope, a choir particularly inviting to those experiencing homelessness and financial distress.

Recognized for composing “clear, personal music” that is “filled with terrific orchestral color and weight, not to mention feeling“ (The Baltimore Sun), Buchanan has been the recipient of the Sackler Prize, grants from New Music USA and from TACA for his residency with the Dallas Chamber Symphony, an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, and a Symphony in C Young Composers Award. He is fortunate to have many opportunities to sing with and accompany his wife, Kelly, a mezzo-soprano, and also enjoys microtonal interspecies improvisation with his black lab, Grover.

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Douglas has performed as organ soloist, oratorio accompanist, and church musician across the Midwest, along the East Coast, and in the Southwest. He currently holds the position of Director of Music Ministries (Organist/Choirmaster) at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland. He has formerly served as Director of Music at St. Mark’s-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church in Pikesville, Maryland, and Choirmaster and Organist at Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where he conducted the Choir of Men and Boys, the second oldest ensemble of its kind in the nation under his tenure. In the fall of 2015 he was featured organist at the National Cathedral Organ Recital Series, where he performed the suite from his organ cycle, Welkinharmonie; he was also the featured organist at the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Conference in 2014.

©Shawn Sweeney

Mandala of the Unquiet Earth, from Welkinharmonie, by Douglas Buchanan

Sanctus, from Requiem, by Maurice Duruflé

Improvisation on Hildegard von Bingen's ecstatic chant, "O ignis spiritus."

Benedicta et venerabilis es, by G.F. Sances


Douglas began formal piano study at age 7 with teacher Jerry Stephens, whose whole-hearted love of music quickly taught Douglas to embrace a variety of styles and idioms. In college, he began work with Juilliard Alumnus and Fulbright Scholar Brian Dykstra, with whom he collaborated in duo-piano performance. During his last year at Wooster he studied with composer-pianist Peter Mowrey. Douglas has performed concerts and recitals in the Midwest, Southwest, and along the East Coast.

©John Heredia 2013


In 2001 Douglas received the gift of a set of Great Highland Bagpipes from his grandfather; a fascination and love of traditional Scottish music followed. While living in Texas, Douglas studied piping with Don Shannon, whose credits include piping for Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family, as well as for the group The Chieftains. While at the College of Wooster, Douglas continued studying both ceol beag and ceol mor piping with Jon Maffet, and played in the College of Wooster Marching and Symphonic Pipe Bands, serving as Seconds Captain.

Ri Marannan (“Concerning Waves”), by Douglas Buchanan