Juilliard Organists Give A Free Recital At The Cathedral Of St. John The Divine

By: Apr. 06, 2018

Juilliard Organists Give A Free Recital At The Cathedral Of St. John The Divine

Juilliard organists, under the direction of Organ Department Chair Paul Jacobs, give a free recital at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine (located at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC) on Thursday, April 19, 2018, at 7:30pm.

Juilliard organists Yuejian Chen, Daniel Ficcari, Ryan Kennedy, Colin MacKnight, Jeremiah Mead, Levente Medveczky, Alexander Pattavina, and Phoon Yu will be performing works on the cathedral's Great Organ.

The program features Charles Tournemire's Victimae Paschali Laudes; Camille Saint-Saëns' Fantasy in E-flat; Chen Zhangyi's The Sixth Angel; Rachel Laurin's Prelude and Fugue in F Minor, Op. 45; selections from Marcel Dupré's Antiphons, Op. 18; David Goode's Concert Fantasy on Themes by Gershwin; J.S. Bach's Passacaglia in C Minor, BWV 582; "Feux Follets" (arr. Ryan Kennedy) from Liszt's Transcendental Etudes and the Sonata in B Minor (arr. Ryan Kennedy).

Admissions is free; no tickets are required.

Organist and alumnus David Crean writes: "According to tradition, the pipe organ was invented in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in the third century BCE. It quickly made its way to Europe, where it became a popular instrument for the Roman aristocracy. Later, it flourished in Arabia and the Byzantine Empire before being reintroduced to Western Europe in the eighth century. As European empires spread across the world, so too did the organ, becoming a fixture of American churches by the early 1800s. More recently, East Asia has experienced a surge of interest in the organ and its music, with substantial installations in China and Mongolia over the last decade. This program showcases the international character of the contemporary organ world: music by the canonical European masters, works by living composers from Canada and Singapore, a sparkling arrangement of quintessential American music made by a Brit, and a new transcription of Liszt's piano works by a young American."

Initially an electronic keyboard player, Yuejian Chen started his musical career at 13 in Shanghai. At age 18 he decided to turn to a relatively unknown instrument in China, the pipe organ. Currently pursuing his master's at Juilliard as a student of Paul Jacobs, he is the organ scholar at Christ Church United Methodist Church. While a student at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, he studied with Lei Zhu and Dan Wu and performed at the Shanghai Oriental Center of Art, Shanghai Concert Hall, Hangzhou Grand Theater, Ningbo Grand Theater, and Hong Kong Cultural Center. He has performed across China with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Shanghai Oriental Orchestra. In New York City, Mr. Chen has performed at the Central Synagogue, Marble Collegiate Church, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Church of St. Paul the Apostle, and St. Ignatius Loyola Church. Also a composer, he studied with Huang Lv in Shanghai, and his works include solo instrumental music, songs, and chamber music. His first orchestral work, Sensation, premiered in 2016. He holds a Juilliard Organ Scholarship, the Irene Diamond Graduate Fellowship, and the Lois Pemberton Scholarship in Piano and Organ.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Daniel Ficarri is an organist and composer currently studying at Juilliard with Paul Jacobs. Mr. Ficarri has performed as a soloist in WQXR's Bach Organ Marathon, the Oregon Bach Festival, and Lincoln Square's Winter's Eve Festival. His recent performance of John Cage's Souvenir was listed under the "Week's 8 Best Classical Music Moments" in The New York Times. Ficarri has also performed with the Florida Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Chelsea Opera, and in Juilliard's ChamberFest. His compositions have been heard on WQED-FM, and his newest work will be featured in Choir & Organ magazine this summer and premiered at St. Thomas Church in the fall. Mr. Ficarri currently serves as organ scholar at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle where he founded their organ concert series, Sacred Sounds at St. Paul's. Previously, he worked as organ scholar at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church. Mr. Ficcari holds the Elizabeth Sheppard Scholarship, the George B. Bryant Scholarship, and the Joseph W. and Grace W. Valentine Scholarship.

Ryan Kennedy was an aspiring physicist and accomplished pianist when he first heard the organ at age 15, and was inspired to learn to tame this beast. Two years and a lot of practicing later, he applied to Juilliard and was accepted as an organ major. Since then, he has become an increasingly busy concert organist and improviser. Mr. Kennedy has also become known for his programming, often including such masterpieces as Bach's Clavier U?bung III and Six Trio Sonatas, Durufle?'s complete works, Reger's Chorale Fantasias, and multiple cycles by Messiaen, often delivered as sets. Recently, he has been incorporating improvisation into his concerts, including symphonies, on given themes. His background as a pianist has manifested itself in the form of many transcriptions. His recordings have been broadcast recently on NPR, WQXR, and BBC3, including his take on Milton Babbitt's rarely-played Manifold Music. Mr. Kennedy is currently a master's degree student at Juilliard, studying with Paul Jacobs.

Colin MacKnight is a second year C.V Starr Doctoral Fellow at Juilliard, where he also completed his bachelor's and master's degrees, studying with Paul Jacobs. He also serves as assistant organist at New York's Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. In addition to his work for the church, Mr. MacKnight is responsible for developing and teaching the music theory curriculum at Saint Thomas Choir School. A frequent competition prizewinner, his first prizes and scholarships include the 2017 West Chester University International Organ Competition, 2016 Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition, 2016 Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition, M. Louise Miller Scholarship from the Greater Bridgeport Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), the 2013 Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition, and the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship. He also won the New York City AGO Competition and advanced to the Northeast Regional Competition and won first place. In addition, Mr. MacKnight received the Clarence Snyder Third Prize in the 2016 Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition and is a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists. (colinmacknight.com)

From Madison, Connecticut, Jeremiah Mead is a rising organist, currently studying at Juilliard with Paul Jacobs. He became interested in the organ at age 12 while he was a chorister at Trinity Episcopal Church, New Haven under the direction of Walden Moore. Mr. Mead has performed in many venues in Connecticut, including Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green in New Haven; the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hartford; Christ Episcopal Church, in Guilford; and Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Killingworth. Former teachers that Mr. Mead has studied with are Ezequiel Menendez and Andrew Kotylo, and pianists Victoria Reeve and RoseMarie Tamburri. He holds the Joseph E. and Grace W. Valentine Scholarship, the Alan Carmel Scholarship, and the George Erick Scholarship.

Levente Medveczky is a master's candidate at Juilliard, studying with Paul Jacobs. Originally from Budapest, Hungary, he received his early training, in the studio of Zsuzsa Elekes at the Béla Bartók Conservatory. He pursued a bachelor's degree at Brigham Young University, under the supervision of Don Cook. With a love for sacred music, Mr. Medveczky has served as the organ scholar at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is currently serving as interim director of music at the Church of Incarnation in N.Y.C. He holds a Jerome L. Greene Scholarship.

Alexander Pattavina, from Boston, is pursuing a bachelor's degree in organ performance at Juilliard where he is a student of Paul Jacobs. Recently he has performed at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, and the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan, and Old West Church in Boston. This season's engagements include performances at the University of Florida, University of Scranton, and Methuen Memorial Music Hall. He is currently the assistant organist at the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena in Manhattan. Mr. Pattavina holds the Vernon de Tar Scholarship, the Bidu Sayao Scholarship, and the George H. Gangwere Scholarship.

Organist and composer Phoon Yu is active both in Singapore and in the United States, currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance at Juilliard under the tutelage of Paul Jacobs. He has given premiere performances of his own music and other composers, including works for various solo instruments and chamber groups across various venues in Singapore, China, and the United States. He received his BM in music composition at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music under full scholarship, followed by his MM in organ performance at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, being awarded the Bruce R. Eicher prize at the conclusion of his studies. His previous teachers include Professor Donald Sutherland and Dr. Evelyn Lim (organ), and Associate Professor Ho Chee Kong and Dr. Oscar Bettison (composition). Mr. Yu holds a Celia Ascher Doctoral Fellowship.

Led by renowned organist Paul Jacobs, Juilliard's organ department enjoys an outstanding reputation, attracting talented young artists from around the world. Organ students at Juilliard work closely with Mr. Jacobs and enjoy many opportunities for solo and ensemble performances. Juilliard organists perform in Alice Tully Hall, on its restored Kuhn organ, are featured in recitals at churches throughout New York City, and hold prominent church positions in the New York City area. Weekly performance classes attract a regular stream of interested visitors. In addition to lessons and master classes, organ majors take courses in service playing and organ literature. Juilliard houses several pipe organs in various styles, including instruments by Holtkamp, Schoenstein, Flentrop, and Noack.

The Great Organ was built by the Ernest M. Skinner Company in 1911, and enlarged and modified by Æolian-Skinner in 1954, under the direction of G. Donald Harrison (1889-1956). After a devastating fire in 2001, the instrument was restored by Quimby Pipe Organs of Warrensburg, Mo., under the supervision of Douglass Hunt, organ curator of the cathedral. It was rededicated, along with the entire cathedral, on November 30, 2008. The Great Organ is widely considered to be one of the masterpieces of American pipe organ building and an acclaimed National Treasure. It is a four manual-and- pedal, seven-division, electro-pneumatic action instrument of 118 speaking stops and 8,514 pipes. The Great Organ has several extraordinary features, including magnificent high-pressure solo tubas, a battery of Bombarde reeds, three remarkably effective thirty-two foot ranks, and a three-rank cello stop in the pedal division. The console, newly built by Quimby during the restoration in the style of the original Skinner console, is located in the gallery above the South Choir stalls.