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KRISTEN LAWRENCE Organist / Composer / Vocalist
Kristen Lawrence was born and raised in the temperate trick-or-treating weather of Orange County, California. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is her second home.
After studying piano for five years, Kristen began her organ studies at age 12 from Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer/organist Dr. Robert Cummings. She attended Foothill High School in North Tustin where she won the Philharmonic Society’s Ed Doyle Music Award competition. She accepted a music scholarship to Brigham Young University, studying under organists Dr. Parley Belnap and Dr. Douglas Bush, where her experiences ranged from accompanying on the organ in front of audiences of 20,000 at televised live devotional broadcasts … to singing in the Early Music Ensemble … to performing as a can-can dancer in the university’s production of “The Merry Widow.”
She graduated from BYU with a Bachelors of Music in Organ Performance and Pedagogy and has taught students in both Orange County and Salt Lake City, Utah. As well as playing piano and organ for weddings, funerals, church services, Messiah sing-ins, banquets, and receptions, she also arranged and played keyboards in the pop/rock band Checkpoint Charley, recording one album with them.
In 2008, Kristen performed as Ms. Mueller, the spooky music teacher/organist, on the $3.1 million William J. Gillespie concert organ in Pacific Symphony’s Halloween Spooktacular under the direction of conductor Maxim Eshkenazy. Return performances with Pacific Symphony include Beethoven family and school concerts, and the 2011 A Halloween Whodunit.
Halloween is one of Kristen’s passions, and for the past decade she has studied its history and culture, which has led to her composing a collection of music and lyrics called the “Halloween Carols™.” Kristen released Arachnitect – from the Halloween Carols, her first 5-track EP, in 2008, and a full-length CD, A Broom With A View – from the Halloween Carols, in 2009. She currently has over 60 carols written that she is arranging to record for future releases.
Lawrence tapped on Poe's chamber door, writing a musical setting of his famous poem for her 2012 CD release, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven." Set amidst pipe organ and strings, Kristen's ethereal soprano voice carries all 18 verses of the famous poem, as if sung by the ghost of Lenore.
Kristen's gift for writing memorably melodic music showcases the undying beauty of Poe's words - an elegant combination that is winning raves from Halloween haunters, horror fans, teachers, and Poe lovers of all ages.
The appropriate artist to set "The Raven" to music, Kristen has developed a reputation as a "Halloween specialist. Stephen Fortner, Executive editor of Keyboard Magazine, says: "If the Halloween Town of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas had a resident keyboardist, it would be Kristen Lawrence."
Newspapers & Magazines
- PR.com "'Nevermore' with a Score..." March 20, 2012
- Keyboard Magazine
- Rue Morgue Magazine
- Orange County Register
- PR Newswire
Interviews and Blogs
- Deathly Romantic - April 1, 2012
- Dread Central - March 22, 2012
- Rue Morgue - January 11, 2012
- EdgarAllanPoe.it - January 1, 2012
- Suburban Vampire - October 24, 2011
- Sketchy Details - September 7, 2011
- The Retroist - October 7, 2011
- The Halloween Blues - September 10, 2010
- Linescratchers Podcast - October 8, 2009
- The Steve and Johnnie Show, WGN Chicago - October 2009
- Examiner.com - October 15, 2009
- Linescratchers Blog - September 17, 2008
What Others Are Saying About
Kristen Lawrence’s “A Broom With A View”
“If the Halloween Town of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas had a resident keyboardist, it would be Kristen Lawrence.”
— Stephen Fortner, Executive Editor, Keyboard Magazine
“With sweeping string arrangements, handsome lyrics and layers of her own graceful voice, Lawrence spins ethereal tales with a balance of macabre elements and kid-friendly whimsy ... that give her creations an instantly classic, fun-for-all-ages feel."
— Trevor Tuminski, Music Editor, Rue Morgue Magazine
“Absolutely taken with it. Love, love, love the CD. I hope it is a collection in a series. The idea of ‘Halloween Carols’ is wonderful. This is good music.”
— Steve of “The Steve & Johnnie Show”
WGN Radio, 720 AM, Chicago
“An interesting, intriguing and fascinating listen. An absolute must for Halloween.”
— Maxim Eshkenazy, Assistant Conductor, Pacific Symphony
“I love it and think it is remarkably fresh and original – the pieces could be movie scores. Grown-ups who have loved this holiday from afar can come out of the woods because we finally have elegant Halloween music all ages can enjoy.”
— Kieth Merrill, Academy-Award winning filmmaker
“This is the most unique Halloween music I have ever heard! These Halloween Carols are nothing less than fantastic. This music will appeal to all ages from small children to seniors. Brace yourself for when you first listen. These songs are not at all what you expect. Great music with amazing vocals. You will catch yourself playing these tunes over and over. Great for Halloween parties.”
— Larry McKenzie, The Halloween Network
Comments from Bloggers and Fan Mail:
- “It’s an alluring mix between a pipe organ in the most haunted of houses and wicked classical music… The unique music appeals to all those who love Halloween, fancy the dark side a bit, and are enchanted by classical counterpoint music and ethereal voices.”
- “Wow. I’ve been listening to it all day today. It’s a delight to listen to and is providing a very inspiring quality as I decorate the house for Halloween over the next several days.”
- “I too am a fan of the Haunted Mansion and Halloween. I have a yard display with lights synchronized to music. I will be adding your music to my Halloween display this year.”
- “Have you heard about this delightful yet haunting CD? I listened to her previous CD [Arachnitect] and love – LOVE – it. It’s not your typical scary Halloween CD.”
- “I am a photographer and I love the ‘visuals’ I get when I listen to this. With the track ‘Flappy Bat,’ close your eyes and you can see one making its way through a dark and windy landscape. I am glad I saw the article on Kristen in the O.C. Register!”
- “I was completely blown away. I got goose bumps from the beauty, plus there was a big smile on my face because everything about the music worked so well … harmonies, chord progressions. Absolutely beautiful.”
- “My family and I had so much fun when we turned off the lights and played this chilling music. It’s PERFECT for all of your Halloween soirees!”
- “I love your music...I've been searching for good Halloween music all my life...and I finally found it!”
- "If you love gorgeous, ethereal female vocals. Pipe organ makes you hot. You’re a grown up Goth who wants something a little more lighthearted yet appropriate. The CD of Halloween sounds from Target isn’t going to cut it for your party this year. Let me introduce you to Kristen Lawrence’s CD, A Broom With A View."
- "Kristen Lawrence, the Halloween organist, isn't exactly the most Goth person ever, but I personally love it and think she overlaps just enough Gothy territories to be considered an honorary Goth Artist."
- "Rather than the usually disappointing 'Halloween Dance Party Music' CDs one finds at the local Halloween store (filled with sub-par versions of 'Monster Mash' and 'Purple People Eater'), Lawrence gives Halloween lovers a new music tradition. Her Halloween carols (each in four-part carol/hymn style) are influenced by the deep history and culture behind All Hallows Eve. A Broom with a View is undoubtedly a great asset to any haunted house or autumnal feast!"