Organist of the Month: Valentina Fillinger
Valentina Fillinger's academic and piano/organ study was completed at Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, and at DePaul University in Chicago. A scholarship for the Summer Violin Study was also earned at Carnegie Mellon. Organ study with Marcel Dupre took place at the University of Chicago. She has served on the faculty of Duquesne University and Carlow College in Pittsburgh, and DePaul University in Chicago.
In Cleveland, she was Piano Accompanist for the Jewish Singing Society, which featured famous Cantor soloists such as Jan Peerce of the Metropolitan Opera Company. At the Temple-on-the-Heights, she was Director-Organist for the Youth Congregation. In Pittsburgh, she was Piano Accompanist for the Mendelssohn Singing Society (Pittsburgh Symphony Chorus,) under direction of the late Robert Shaw.
Ms. Fillinger had to decline an invitation to become Summer Organist for the Chatauqua Institute, in order to direct/accompany the Slovenian Singing Society on a concert tour of Yugoslavia (then under Marshall Tito.) This talented group of many professional and semi-professional singers had become famous in Slovenian circles for their skilled renditions of Grand Operas such as Carmen and La Boheme, in the Slovenian language.
She was chosen as Organist for the Ordination of ClevelandÔs present Bishop Anthony J. Pilla at St. John's Cathedral. In California, Ms. Fillinger was Organ Accompanist for the notable choir of the Mission Basilica San Diego de Acala, a popular tourist destination there. The Mission Choir, with Valentina as Organist/Accompanist, sang at the 1988 Easter Mass at St. PeterÔs Basilica in Rome, celebrated by Pope John II and televised worldwide.
Ms Fillinger has spent many happy years as Choir Accompanist under Cal Stepan at St. Dominic Church in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and as Music Director/Organist at Gesu Church in University Heights, as well as playing recitals in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Dallas and San Diego.