Charles Tompkins is recognized as one of America's most outstanding organ teachers and concert organists. A member of the Furman faculty since 1986, his students have gained admission to major graduate schools in organ performance--including Yale University, Indiana University, and Florida State University--and may be found in significant church and university positions.
A graduate of the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan, Tompkins performs each year at universities and major churches throughout the United States. He has played recitals at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Piccolo Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, S.C. Tompkins has also performed at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, Association of Anglican Musicians, Music Teachers National Association, and the College Music Society. His performances have been broadcast nationally on American Public Media's PIPEDREAMS radio program.
An active church musician throughout his career, Tompkins has been organist of Greenville's historic First Baptist Church since 1997, where he presides over the largest organ in South Carolina, an 86-rank instrument by Casavant. He has served as consultant for a number of outstanding organs, including Furman's magnificent Hartness Organ, a 42-stop instrument by C.B. Fisk Organbuilders.
Russell Saunders (organ) and Lenora McCroskey (harpsichord)
Eastman School of Music
Robert Glasgow (organ)
University of Michigan
In my organ teaching, I seek to develop each student's technical and musical abilities to the fullest, and--in particular--to encourage each student's own unique musical personality to shine forth in their playing. Students in the Furman organ studio perform organ literature from all historical periods, and I seek to inculcate in their playing both stylistic faithfulness and strong musical communication. In addition to broad coverage of the historic organ literature, I also strongly emphasize practical service playing skills--hymn playing, choral and solo accompanying, improvisation, and conducting from the console--to prepare students for success in the area of church music. Each student receives a thorough grounding in organ design and construction, with an emphasis on developing the ability to comfortably perform on organs of many different styles and sizes.
MUS-562 Applied Organ
MUS-563 Applied Harpsichord
MUS-568 Introduction to Organ and Harpsichord
MUS-422 History & Literature of the Organ
MUS-452 Service Playing
MUS-111 Basic Musicianship: Written, Aural
MUS-112 Basic Musicianship: Written, Aural