Paul Jacobs, organ
Paul Jacobs, organ. Photo by Ficarri. download

Paul Jacobs

Biography

download

Heralded as “one of the major musicians of our time” by Alex Ross of The New Yorker and as “America’s leading organ performer” by The Economist, the internationally celebrated organist Paul Jacobs combines a probing intellect and extraordinary technical mastery with an unusually large repertoire, both old and new.  He has performed to great critical acclaim on five continents and in each of the fifty United States. The only organist ever to have won a Grammy Award—in 2011 for Messiaen’s towering “Livre du Saint-Sacrément,”—Mr. Jacobs is an eloquent champion of his instrument both in the United States and abroad. No other organist is repeatedly invited as soloist to perform with prestigious orchestras, thus making him a pioneer in the movement for the revival of symphonic music featuring the organ.

Mr. Jacobs made musical history at age 23 when he played Bach’s complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon performance on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. Mr. Jacobs has premiered works by Samuel Adler, Mason Bates, Michael Daugherty, Wayne Oquin, Stephen Paulus, Christopher Theofanidis, and Christopher Rouse, among others.

During the 2018-19 season, Mr. Jacobs will perform the world premiere of John Harbison’s What Do We Make of Bach? for organ and orchestra with the Minnesota Orchestra under conductor Osmo Vänskä; with the Cleveland Orchestra he will give the American premiere of Austrian composer Bernd Richard Deutsch’s Okeanos for organ and orchestra.  Abroad he performs Barber’s Toccata Festiva with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra . Additional orchestral engagements include performances with the Phoenix Symphony and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Jacobs will appear in recital under the auspices of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall and the American Guild of Organists at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. Mr. Jacobs continues as Director of the Oregon Bach Festival Organ Institute, a position he assumed in the summer of 2014.

Mr. Jacobs studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, double-majoring with John Weaver for organ and Lionel Party for harpsichord, and at Yale University with 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 2017 Mr. Jacobs received an honorary doctorate from Washington and Jefferson College.

Heralded as “one of the major musicians of our time” by Alex Ross of The New Yorker and as “America’s leading

organ performer” by The Economist, the internationally celebrated organist Paul Jacobs combines a probing intellect and extraordinary technical mastery with an unusually large repertoire, both old and new. An eloquent champion of his instrument, Mr. Jacobs is known for his imaginative interpretations and charismatic stage presence. He has performed to great critical acclaim on five continents and in each of the fifty United States and is the only organist ever to have won a Grammy Award—in 2011 for Messiaen’s towering “Livre du Saint-Sacrément.” No other organist is repeatedly invited as soloist to perform with prestigious orchestras, thus making him a pioneer in the movement for the revival of symphonic music featuring the organ.

During the 2018-19 season, Mr. Jacobs continues to expand both his repertoire and international reach. He will perform the world premiere of John Harbison’s What Do We Make of Bach? for organ and orchestra with the Minnesota Orchestra under conductor Osmo Vänskä in October 2018. November will take Mr. Jacobs to Switzerland, where he performs Barber’s Toccata Festiva with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and conductor James Gaffigan. This season he also deepens his long-standing collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra as soloist in the American premiere of Austrian composer Bernd Richard Deutsch’s Okeanos for organ and orchestra in March 2019. Additional orchestral engagements include performances with the Phoenix Symphony and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Jacobs will appear in recital under the auspices of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall and the American Guild of Organists at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. Mr. Jacobs continues as Director of the Oregon Bach Festival Organ Institute, a position he assumed in the summer of 2014.

Mr. Jacobs has transfixed audiences, colleagues, and critics alike with landmark performances of the complete works for solo organ by J.S. Bach and Messiaen, as well as works by a vast array of other composers. Mr. Jacobs made musical history at the age of 23 when he played Bach’s complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon performance on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. A fierce advocate of new music, Mr. Jacobs has premiered works by Samuel Adler, Mason Bates, Michael Daugherty, Wayne Oquin, Stephen Paulus, Christopher Theofanidis, and Christopher Rouse, among others. As a teacher he has also been a vocal proponent of the redeeming nature of traditional and contemporary classical music.

Marking an important milestone for the development of organ playing in Asia, Mr. Jacobs participated in the 2017 launch of China’s first International Organ Competition—in Shanghai— when he was appointed to serve as president of the competition’s jury. Mr. Jacobs frequently performs as soloist with the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Nashville Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Toledo Symphony, and Utah Symphony, among others.

His recital engagements have included performances under the aegis of the Kennedy Center, Cleveland Orchestra’s Tristan Project, the White Light Festival at Lincoln Center and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Dallas Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, and the St. Louis Cathedral-Basilica.

Prodigiously talented from his earliest years, at 15 young Jacobs was appointed head organist of a parish of 3,500 in his hometown, Washington, Pennsylvania. He has performed the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in marathon performances throughout North America. In addition to his recordings of Messiaen and Daugherty on Naxos, Mr. Jacobs recorded a CD for Naxos with soprano Christine Brewer entitled Divine Redeemer, featuring works by Bach, Handel Franck, Nadia and Lili Boulanger, Puccini, Gounod, and Reger. He has also recorded organ concertos by Lou Harrison and Aaron Copland with the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas on the orchestra’s own label, SFS Media.

Mr. Jacobs studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, double-majoring with John Weaver for organ and Lionel Party for harpsichord, and at Yale University with 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, Mr. 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, ABC-TV’s World News Tonight, and BBC Radio 3. In 2017 he received an honorary doctorate from Washington and Jefferson College.

September 2018. Please discard previously dated materials and contact email hidden; JavaScript is required before making any alterations or cuts.