His rhythmic sense is clear-cut American. His feet elegantly tap dance on the pedals. Everything he plays is sharply and smartly delineated.
—Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
Houlihan exhibited a degree of control and ambidexterity that was truly frightening, especially when his emphatic gestures intensified during Bach's forte overlapping webs of sound, as is characteristic of the climactic moments of his organ showpieces.
—Esteban Meneses, The Examiner
The registrations were expert: silky-smooth crescendi and decrescendi, complete mastery of the swell-boxes. The mutual chemistry of organist, composer, and instrument was apparent from the start...It will long be remembered [Vierne 2012], I am sure, as one of New York’s all-time great organ recitals.
—Jonathan B. Hall, The Diapason
In Mr. Houlihan's hands, the organ delivered plenty of firepower and juicy, well-blended chords, like a homogeneous string section in a fine symphony orchestra.
—Barbara Jepson, The Wall Street Journal
"Organ phenom who has already been called one of the brightest stars in the new generation of American organists....rising star of the organ world who already has his own fan club."
—Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer
He phrased with flexibility and clarity through the works’ knottiest chromatic wanderings. And in the jubilant, even maniacal finales — like that of the Sixth, bathed in B major brilliance — Mr. Houlihan’s playing had a glamorous sheen appropriate to Vierne’s music, if not his cheerless life.
—Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
"Astonishing performance...He enticed listeners by engaging them with a friendly rapport in verbal program notes, then winning them over with performances that ranged from charming to overwhelming."
—Michael Huebner, The Birmingham News
His sense of pacing, knowing when to draw out a phrase and when to let the sparks fly, makes for a rewarding, compelling performance
—The American Organist, May 2012