Spotlight on Russell Weismann, Director of Music & Organist 

Russell Weismann has been with Georgetown University for five non-consecutive years, where he currently serves as the Director of Music and Organist in Catholic Ministry.

Weismann began playing music from a young age when he first started playing the piano. He was introduced to the organ when he began singing at his local Catholic church, figuring that the organ would “be a lot more fun than the piano.” Weismann joked that people often mistake the organ as being similar to a piano, and emphasized their many differences. While the piano and organ are both keyboard instruments, the piano relies on hammers to produce sound, whereas an organ produces sound by moving pressurized air through ranks of many pipes in the organ. The organ breathes, manifesting an anthropomorphic quality, which in turn suits it well to accompanying the human voice in song. 

Weismann hosts a late-night musical program in Dahlgren Chapel several times semester
called ‘Pipe Dreams: nighttime music for the soul.’

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Weismann first attended Duquesne University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Music degree. He went on to complete a Master of Music degree from Yale University and obtained the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from George Mason University. Weismann explained that music school is known for its difficult and strenuous academic and performance demands, in part due to its emphasis on a wide variety of topics like music theory, history, and aural skills, as well as mastering one’s applied primary and secondary instruments. 

Weismann has traveled all over the world to perform, including countries in Europe, Central America, Asia, and Africa. Most recently, he was invited to give two performances in Lebanon as part of the international Terra Sancta Music Festival’s Lebanese Pipe Organ Week. Due to publicity in the local Beirut newspaper, a large contingent of Georgetown alumni attended his performance at the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse in Beirut. “I must admit I didn’t know what to expect but meeting Hoyas in Lebanon was an amazing experience and reminded me of the global identity of Georgetown.” 

The invitation to perform in Lebanon came from his association with the Custody of the Holy Land, a fraternity of Franciscans living in the Holy Land who act as guardians of the Holy sites. Weismann volunteers his time organizing a community music series for the Custody in Washington D.C. at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America. 

He is also the recipient of numerous musical awards, including First Place in the 2004 American Guild of Organists (AGO) Regional Young Organists Competition, as well as Finalist in the Schoenstein Organ Competition. He is an active member of the American Guild of Organists, and in the past has been Dean and sub-Dean of the District of Columbia Chapter. 

When not playing the organ, Weismann enjoys listening to other musical genres. “I think jazz possesses many qualities of what music ought to be with respect to musical creativity and technical skill. I listen to jazz every day. As part of being an organist, I also listen to a lot of classical music, as well. In terms of pop music today,  I am more particular because a lot of music in this genre focuses too much on the branding and image rather than of the music itself,” added Weismann. 

Weismann leads music in Dahlgren Chapel, primarily serving as organist at the Sunday 5 pm and 9 pm Masses. In addition, he leads an active performance schedule, which can be found on his personal website,  

By Dustin Hartuv
Dustin Hartuv is a junior at Georgetown and a staff writer for Campus Ministry.