Music & Arts Series
Admission is free; a freewill offering will be gratefully accepted at each program. We look forward to welcoming you!
WESTMINSTER ORGAN SUMMER 2014
Thirty Minutes of Exceptional Organ Music
Thursdays at 5:00 p.m.
Casual concerts for all ages. Free admission.
ORGANIST PAUL JACOBS
“America’s leading organ performer” – The Economist, 2013
Friday, August 22
Westminster Organ Summer concludes with a very special evening concert. Paul Jacobs, America’s most celebrated concert organist and native of Washington County, returns to Westminster to continue a summer tradition. In 2000, the 23-year-old Jacobs made national news for playing all the solo organ works of Bach over 18 hours on Westminster’s Austin organ. In 2011, Jacob’s late summer concert at Westminster drew a large crowd of fans from all over the Pittsburgh area. Coming soon in 2014, we have another chance to hear this truly extraordinary organist – an intensely expressive, intelligent musician and the only organ soloist to win a Grammy Award (2011).
Well-known to Pittsburgh audiences, Jacobs has played for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to great acclaim. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described Jacobs’ 2013 recital for the PSO:
Were Mr. Jacobs “simply” a prodigious talent who built a top solo career starting with his training in Western Pennsylvania, we would be justly celebrating him.
But in the last 10 years Mr. Jacobs has become more than that. Appointed chairman of the organ department at the Juilliard School in 2004, he is a pipe organ advocate as much as a performer.
That shined in his sold-out performance Sunday. He spoke eloquently about the music he performed, inviting the audience into this world. Mr. Jacobs is the only artist I have ever seen who says, “We are now going to hear a work,” instead of, “I am going to play a work for you” or “you are about to hear a work.” It is almost as if he, too, was eager to listen to the music, as if he is so touched by the muse that he was marveling at the music, and his playing, as we were.
Jacobs performs widely throughout the U.S. in solo recitals and with symphonies. He has been described as an “evangelist for the organ” as he helps the King of Instruments retake its proper place in classical music. This summer, Jacobs led the newly created organ institute for the 2014 season of the renowned Oregon Bach Festival, the first major festival to add a component devoted exclusively to the study and performance of the organ, which figured so prominently in the life of J.S. Bach.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jacobs discussed his ideas about bringing great music to more listeners. He focused on keeping “the bar high in a culture that often opts for the lowest common denominator.” Jacobs concluded the interview with the following thoughts:
Popular culture on television, radio and the Internet has accustomed people to vote for their favorites in a way that has given many a false sense of their own importance as aesthetic arbiters. But Bach is not great because we all voted on it.
Hearing Paul Jacobs play confirms why he is America’s most celebrated concert organist. His performances are consistently praised as both thrilling and moving. The San Francisco Examiner describes how Jacobs makes the music “come alive, particularly through imaginative and frequent shifts in registration…and a kind of entrancing choreography of dancing feet.” The Washington Post describes the expressive beauty of his playing: “Smooth, sinuous, flowing, tender. Those are not adjectives always applied to organ playing, but they fit when Jacobs is the one doing it.” Jacobs skillfully balances showmanship and interpretive insight in performance, and he also eloquently engages his audiences, communicating his love of music and the pipe organ to listeners of all ages.
No tickets are required; a donation of $10 is suggested. All Music & Arts programs are made possible by the generous support of the audiences. All contributions are greatly appreciated.