Organ Splendor: About The Artists, Feb 4-6
Learn more about the composer Wayne Oquin, Organists Paul Jacobs and Christoph Bull, and the Artistic Director of the Pacific Chorale, John Alexander. For complete Program Notes for this concert, please click here.
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Wayne Oquin - Composer
With recognition in Gramophone, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The San Francisco Examiner, Symphony Magazine, Texas Monthly, Time Out New York and the Washington Post, Wayne Oquin has earned substantial attention among today’s young American composers.
A native of Houston, Texas, Oquin’s music has been premiered on five continents, in 19 countries, and in 36 states by The King’s Singers, renowned pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin,
Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs, soprano Susanna Phillips, baritone Sidney Outlaw, The Jasper String Quartet, The Aspen Contemporary Ensemble (ACE), The Houston Chamber Choir, The United States Air Force Band, The United States Army Field Band and The West Point Military Academy Band.
Wayne Oquin: Echoes Of A Solitary Voice
In April 2015, The Danish National Symphony Orchestra gave the world premiere of Oquin’s Echoes of a Solitary Voice, commissioned in honor of the late Maestro Lorin Maazel. Oquin’s piece is based on a brief fragment Maazel sketched shortly before his untimely death. Echoes was premiered in the third round of the historic Malko Conducting Competition in Copenhagen and received its American début this summer as part of Virginia’s Castleton Festival.
Wayne Oquin: Contributions
Oquin is widely known for his contributions to the symphonic wind literature.
His Tower Ascending, a tribute to the rebuilding of ground zero, has received more than 100 performances throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Affirmation, commissioned by the American Bandmaster’s Association and the University of Florida, was named winner of the 2014 National Band Association’s William D. Revelli Award. Both works have been recorded by the United States Air Force Band.
This year, in recognition of its extensive collaboration with Oquin, the Air Force Band honored the composer with the prestigious Commander’s Medal of Excellence.
Wayne Oquin: O Magnum Mysterium
O Magnum Mysterium, for unaccompanied chorus, is among Oquin’s most widely performed pieces.
Commissioned by the University of Wisconsin’s Whitewater Chamber Singers, Oquin’s lyric setting of this classic sacred text was recently recorded by the Houston Chamber Choir. The work was highlighted in a performance conducted by Kent Tritle at the 2014 Christmas Eve service at New York’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.
Oquin’s Reverie for solo organ has been featured twice on American Public Media’s Pipedreams.
Wayne Oquin: Acclaim
Paul Jacobs has performed this contemplative work at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Davies Hall in San Francisco, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago, New York’s Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, Norway’s St. Peter’s Church, and most recently in London’s Westminster Cathedral.
In 2008, upon completion of his doctorate of musical arts at The Juilliard School, Oquin’s dissertation was awarded the Richard F. French Prize. Oquin is chair of Juilliard’s long-standing ear training department and is highly regarded for his rigorous standards and unwavering precision. A member of Juilliard’s graduate studies faculty, he lectures weekly on Beethoven and the American Symphony.
Paul Jacobs - Festival Curator And Organ
An obliterating performance by one of the major musicians of our time,” wrote The New Yorker’s Alex Ross about a recent concert by organist Paul Jacobs.
Paul Jacobs: Grammy Award
The first and only organist ever to have won a Grammy Award (in 2011 for Messiaen’s towering Livre duSaint Sacrement), Jacobs combines a probing intellect and extraordinary technical skills with a repertoire that spans the gamut of music written for his instrument, both old and new.
He has transfixed audiences, colleagues and critics with landmark performances of the complete works for solo organ by J.S. Bach and Messiaen, as well as a vast array of other composers.
A fierce advocate of new music, he has premiered works by Samuel Adler, Mason Bates, Michael Daugherty, Wayne Oquin, Stephen Paulus and Christopher Theofanidis, among others.
Paul Jacobs: 2015-16 Season
Jacobs’ 2015-16 season includes solo appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra (performing Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 conducted by James Levine), Indianapolis Symphony and the Lexington Philharmonic. Jacobs also returns to the Nashville Symphony for a series of concerts and live recordings of Michael Daugherty’s Organ Concerto led by Giancarlo Guerrero.
Also this season, Jacobs and world-renowned dramatic soprano Christine Brewer tour their upcoming Naxos album Divine Redeemer, with appearances at Lincoln Center’s “White Nights” Festival, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Symphony Hall in San Francisco, St. Louis Cathedral and Spivey Hall in Atlanta, Ga.
Furthermore, Jacobs performs recitals throughout the United States, including at the Kennedy Center and Denver Cathedral. Next summer, Jacobs returns to the Oregon Bach Festival, where he is the director of the organ institute.
Paul Jacobs: Early Years
Prodigiously talented from his earliest years, Jacobs was appointed head organist of a parish of 3,500 in his hometown, Washington, Penn. when he was 15 years old.
At age 23, he made musical history when he played J.S. Bach’s complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon performance on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. Jacobs has also performed the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in marathon performances throughout North America, and recently reached the milestone of having performed in each of the 50 United States.
Paul Jacobs: Education
Jacobs studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, double-majoring in the organ and harpsichord, studying with John Weaver and Lionel Party, respectively, and at Yale University with organist Thomas Murray.
He joined the faculty of The Juilliard School in 2003, and was named chairman of the organ department in 2004, one of the youngest faculty appointees in the school’s history. He received Juilliard’s prestigious William Schuman Scholar’s Chair in 2007.
In addition to his concert and teaching appearances, Jacobs is a frequent performer at festivals across the world, and has appeared on American Public Media’s Performance Today, Pipedreams and Saint Paul Sunday, as well as NPR’s Morning Edition and ABC-TV’s World News Tonight.
Christoph Bull - Organ
Born in Mannheim, Germany, Christoph Bull has performed and recorded around the world, including France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Russia, India, Taiwan and El Salvador at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists and at venues such as Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Lincoln Center in New York City, the Cathedrals of Moscow, Saint-Denis and Salzburg as well as rock clubs like The Viper Room, The Roxy and The Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles.
Christoph Bull: Early Years
Bull has collaborated with leading conductors, choirs, orchestras and ensembles including James Conlon, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Pacific Chorale and Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music.
He improvised his first melodies on the piano at the age of 5 and gave his first organ recitals and rock concerts with a band at the age of 12. He performed in concert with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany and was the subject of a longtime study about highly gifted musicians together with other artists such as pianist Lars Vogt.
Christoph Bull: Education
Following his graduation at Karl Friedrich Gymnasium Mannheim and organ studies at University of Church Music in Heidelberg and Musikhochschule Freiburg, he earned degrees at Berklee College of Music (majoring in songwriting and graduating summa cum laude), University of Southern California (majoring in organ) and American Conservatory of Music (majoring in organ and sacred music) on multiple scholarships.
Bull’s organ teachers were Cherry Rhodes, Hermann Schäffer, Ludwig Dörr, Samuel Swartz, Christoph Schöner and Paul Jordan. He also participated in master courses with Marie-Claire Alain, Guy Bovet, Craig Cramer and Rudi Lutz. He won prizes in numerous organ and composition competitions, including “Jugend musiziert,” Michael Masser Competition, Berklee College of Music Songwriting Competition and International Organ Competition Marcello Galanti.
Artistic Director of Pacific Chorale since 1972, John Alexander is one of America’s most respected choral conductors. His inspired leadership both on the podium and as an advocate for the advancement of the choral art has garnered national and international admiration and acclaim.
John Alexander: Career
Alexander’s long and distinguished career has encompassed conducting hundreds of choral and orchestral performances nationally and in 27 countries around the globe.
He has conducted his singers with orchestras throughout Europe, Asia and South America and, closer to home, with Pacific Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Musica Angelica and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Equally versatile whether on the podium or behind the scenes, Alexander has prepared choruses for many of the world’s most outstanding orchestral conductors, including Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Lukas Foss, Max Rudolf, Carl St.Clair, Gerard Schwarz, Marin Alsop, John Mauceri, John Williams and Keith Lockhart.
John Alexander: Awards
Alexander’s numerous awards include the “Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art” from Chorus America (2008); The “Distinguished Faculty Member” award from California State University, Fullerton (2006); the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award (2003); the “Outstanding Individual Artist” Award (2000) from Arts Orange County; the “Gershwin Award” (1990), presented by the County of Los Angeles in recognition of his cultural leadership; and the “Outstanding Professor” Award (1976) from California State University, Northridge.
This concert is part of Pacific Symphony’s American Composer Festival 2016, highlighting works for the organ.
To learn more about the Pacific Chorale, please click here.
To learn more about the Gillespie Concert Organ here.
To learn more about Music Director Carl St.Clair, click here.