Hymnary Friends,

Please pardon this brief interruption, and please consider a gift today to support the work of Hymnary.org. Here's why.

Each month half a million people visit this website for free access to the most complete database of North American hymnody on the planet. But this project does not come without a cost, and we have limited sources of revenue. Twice a year we hold a fund drive, and these drives are critical to our future.

So if you benefit from Hymnary.org, would you consider a donation today? Even small amounts help, and they also let us know you're behind us and support what we do.

Click the Donate button below to be taken to a secure giving site. Or you can make your tax-deductible contribution by sending a check to Hymnary.org at 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

On behalf of the entire Hymnary.org team, our thanks.
Harry Plantinga

Kurt Kaiser

Kurt Kaiser
Short Name: Kurt Kaiser
Full Name: Kaiser, Kurt, 1934-
Birth Year: 1934

Kurt Kaiser, (born December 17, 1934) is an award winning songwriter of Contemporary Christian music and member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He has produced and arranged albums for the likes of: Kathleen Battle, Ernie Ford, Larnelle Harris, Burl Ives, Ken Medema, Christopher Parkening, George Beverly Shea, Joni Eareckson Tada, Ethel Waters, and Anne Martindale Wiliams. He has recorded sixteen piano solo albums of his own. He won a Dove Award at the 24th GMA Dove Awards in 1993 for his album titled Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. In 1992 he was the recipient of a Lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Born in Chicago, Illinois, he attended The American Conservatory of Music. From there, he attended Northwestern University School of Music, where he earned both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in music. In 1959, he joined Word Records as Director of Artists andpertoire (A&R). He would later move up to be Vice-president and Director of Music there.

From 1965 through 1970, Kaiser served as director of the Baylor Religious Hour Choir, whose current members include Richard Ashley. At the same time, Kurt Kaiser and his friend Ralph Carmichael began writing Christian rock musicals geared to reach out to the youth of the time. Their first musical, Tell It Like It Is, which included the song "Pass It On", sold 2,500 copies and completely sold out its first run. It completely sold out its second run of 100,000 copies as well.

"It was the beginning of youth finding a place in church again", said Carmichael. The two continued on to write two more musicals, Natural High and I'm Here, God's Here, Now We Can Start. He became a regular at Youth for Christ rallies. Kurt Kaiser would, in time, leave Word and start his own label which he still runs to this day, from his home in Texas.

In 1999 Kaiser was invited to Sweden to perform for a gathering of dignitaries and guests at the prestigious Museum of History at Stockholm, at the request of the Ambassador of the United States. He also found time to record with Bill Pearce ("Nightsounds") on the CD A Touch of Gold. Of Kaiser, Bill Pearce said:

Kurt Kaiser came playing piano through Chicago... he and I hooked up with my trombone and before I knew it we were recording "head arrangements" for Word. Then things at Word really started shaking and Paul Mickelson and Ralph Carmichael were raising the level, using professional sidemen and before we knew it Word records was paying our production fees. We were playing with name people, including members of the Chicago Symphony string section, lead trumpet Bobbie Lewis, Mark McDunn and studio players; John Haynor was playing bass trombone with us. Guys like this were playing backgrounds. We were just at the right place at the right time. I was working hard and new young arrangers came through with good ideas and we were doing albums with top musicians. It was just a gift of God with timing that put me in the middle of all this. I was the only one doing anything at Word in brass work at all apart from a guy in Detroit named Chuck Ohman who was a fine trumpeter whom I had worked with in Percy Crawford's days. I was just blowing bubbles, making 30 or 40 albums over the years - there were so many I lost count. Incredible!

In 2001 he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He helped to found the Day Spring Baptist Church in Waco, Texas and is their choir director.

He received the "Faithfulness in Service" award in 2003.

Kaiser conducts choral workshops and performs solo as well. He's described by friends as someone who will constantly try to help and teach anyone he meets. Ken Barker, senior editorial director at Word, recalled one time when he was eating with Kaiser at a restaurant where a young woman was struggling to play the piano to entertain the customers. Kaiser gave the woman a quick clinic on how she could improve her playing.

He continues to be active as a producer as well.

Kaiser lives in Waco with his wife. They have four children (all attended Baylor) and ten grandchildren.


Suggestions or corrections? Contact us