Thomas Dressler is known for exciting, passionate performances on the organ and harpsichord which combine warm musicality with historic techniques. He has been performing for more than thirty years, often on historic instruments, including some of the oldest, most historic organs in the United States. Notable instruments he has played in performance include:
1776 David Tannenberg, Nazareth, PA
c.1790 Samuel Green, Bethlehem, PA
1800 David Tannenberg, Winston-Salem, NC
1807 Conrad Doll, Camp Hill, PA
1847 Richard Ferris, Round Lake, NY
1865 E. & G.G. Hook, Orwell, VT
1882 Hook & Hastings, Danville, PA
1886 Roosevelt, Elberon, NJ
1890 Steere and Turner, Menomonie, WI
1891 Woodberry & Harris, Shushan, NY
1892 Hook & Hastings, Lambertville, NJ
1894 A. B. Felgemaker, Danville, PA
1901 Mueller & Abel, Brooklyn Heights, NY
1904 M.P. Moeller, Freeburg, PA
1926 Austin "Curtis" organ, Philadelphia, PA
1938 Aeolian-Skinner, Princeton, NJ
1971 C.B. Fisk, Boston, MA
1978 Casavant Freres, Princeton, NJ
1978 C.B. Fisk, Princeton, NJ
1979 Casavant Freres, Scranton, PA
1986 A. David Moore, Woodstock, VT
1986 Raymond Brunner, Princeton, NJ
1991 Charles Ruggles, Millstone, NJ
2000 Fritts, Princeton, NJ
2001 Richards, Fowkes & Co, New Brunswick, NJ
2001 Heissler, St. Petersburg, FL
He has appeared on local television in NY, the Poconos, and Philadelphia. His playing at the opening concert of the 150th anniversary celebration of the Round Lake organ was said to be "riveting" and "stunningly elegant." In August of 2001 he recorded the 1847 Ferris organ at Round Lake, NY, and the CD was released in 2003; it received a feature review in The American Organist magazine.
Officers of the Central New Jersey chapter of the American Guild of Organists have said, "Mr. Dressler is an organist with solid technique, well known for his exquisite rendering of Renaissance and Baroque music." But he does not only specialize in "early" music. He also spends much time exploring how music was performed during the 19th century, trying to uncover possible modern misconceptions about this music and present it in a manner the composers would have recognized.
As a teenager, Mr. Dressler studied organ with James Boeringer and practiced on an 1894 Felgemaker organ. During this time he developed a strong interest in historic "tracker action" organs. He also began to have an interest in historic performing practices (using the information available in old treatises to attempt to play music in a way similar to how the composers may have originally heard it.) When historic fingerings and articulations are matched with the music being played, it is possible to infuse it with a degree of emotion and excitement not possible with modern techniques. He pursued these techniques throughout his college years, earning a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance, cum laude, from Susquehanna University, and a Master of Music in Performance, with honors, from Westminster Choir College. At Westminster, he studied organ with Mark Brombaugh and Joan Lippincott.
Mr. Dressler has held large church positions in Philadelphia and New Jersey, where he is also known as a choral director. He is currently employed as Organist/Director of Music at St Pauls "Blue" Lutheran church in Coopersburg, PA. He has also been a featured lecturer in various venues in addition to lecturing at Warren County Community College (NJ), speaking on topics such as Performance Practices of the Baroque Era, various topics in music history and appreciation, and Music and Holistic Health.
His special abilities to communicate, both as a speaker and performer, are combined in a special approach to performances where he discusses much of the music he performs. Audiences respond enthusiastically. A reporter from a local newspaper in Pennsylvania has said, "Dressler interacts with the audience on a very personal level, appealing to young and old alike. One comes away from each program knowing they have learned something."