The New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists was formed as a result of a petition approved by the National Council on October 9, 1950, to make the chapter independent of the former Headquarters Chapter. The officers of the new chapter, which had 745 members, assumed their duties on January 1, 1951. The first public meeting, a recital and service which included the installation of officers, took place on January 9 of that year at the Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal) on East 31st Street in Manhattan.
The NYCAGO has been the host for several conventions: the 1956 National Convention (June 25-29, 1956); the 1958 Annual National Midwinter Conclave (December 29-31, 1958); and Centennial National Convention (July 7-11, 1996). Before the NYCAGO was organized, the 1935 National Convention (June 24-28, 1935) was held in New York City.
The NYCAGO’s first newsletter, The AGO Times, began publication in 1959 as a listing of concert events. In 2003, the newsletter was renamed Double Open and made available in PDF format, allowing distribution via e-mail. In 2006, the newsletter was changed to its current format; the majority of the membership now receives the newsletter via e-mail. Archived issues are available on the website.
The International Performer of the Year Award was first granted in 1978 (to Robert Noehren) and has continued for most but not all years following; the award is considered by many to be the highest honor given to organists by a professional musicians’ guild in the United States.
In March of 2000, the NYCAGO went online with its website: www.nycago.org. On October 13 2023, a new website launched with a modernized design.
|1951-52: Carl Wiesemann||1982-84: Walter Hilse|
|1952-54: Harold Heeremans, FAGO, ChM||1984-86: Louise Basbas|
|1954-56: Robert Baker||1986-87: Alec Wyton|
|1956-59: Edward Linzel||1987-89: Harold Stover|
|1959-60: Alec Wyton||1989-90: Skinner-Chavez-Mélo|
|1960-62: Donald L. Coats||1990-92: John C. Walker|
|1962-64: Charles L. Henderson||1992: Kent Tritle (interim)|
|1964-66: David F. Hewlett||1992-94: Keith S. Tóth|
|1967-68: Frank Cedric Smith, ChM||1994-98: Arthur P. Lawrence, AAGO, ChM|
|1968-70: Robert Arnold||1998-04: Stephen Hamilton|
|1970-71: Richard Westenburg||2004-06: Christopher Creaghan|
|1971-73: Frederick Swann||2006-10: Frank Crosio, FAGO|
|1973-74: John Weaver||2010-14: Keith S. Tóth|
|1974-75: Robert MacDonald||2014-18: David Enlow, FAGO|
|1975-77: Larry King||2018-22: James Kennerley|
|1977-80: Will Carter||2022-Present: James Wetzel|
|1980-82: Frederick Grimes|