Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘concert’

Music Critic for The Washington Post

Jeannine:  As a writer you shared your insights with the public of Washington DC as music critic for The Washington Post.  What skills are needed to be an astute music critic?  You must have many “stories” from this part of your career.  Is there one you’d care to share with our readers?

Mr. Gawthrop:  The language skills required are considerable, not only in finding constantly fresh ways to colorfully and memorably describe musical events but also in the discipline required to be comprehensively descriptive within just a few column inches. Beyond language issues, it really helps to be broadly based in your listening and reading habits so that the things you are writing (to a very sophisticated audience) are firmly based in understanding.

I came to professional music criticism with almost no formal training and did so in front of a cosmopolitan readership in a major international music capitol. It was scary. I think the magnitude of what I had undertaken didn’t become fully clear to me until when, within a very short period of time, I was assigned to review two events by world class performers whom I had previously known only through recordings: the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and concert organist Marie Claire Alain. It was in equal measures humbling and exhilarating.
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Excerpted from the Guest Artist Interview of the October 2017 Pro-Motion Music e-newsletter.  Dr. Jeannine and David Jordan are the creative artists of Pro-Motion Music LLC.  Jeannine, a concert organist, with David, a media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multimedia concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Bach and Sons.

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Dunstan House

Jeannine:  You are also a music publisher, establishing the Dunstan House in 1991.  What are the challenges, joys of publishing and promoting your own music so successfully – case in point, Mr. Gawthrop’schoral piece, Sing Me to Heaven,has half million copies in print, and has become one of the most performed and recorded choral works in modern history!

Mr. Gawthrop:  My wife and I started Dunstan House when I realized that the companies which had been publishing my things up to that point were forced by reality to profitably sell as many copies as possible of each title, and that this quite inevitably led to editorial decisions about what to publish and what to allow to eventually go out of print which were not necessarily in my best interests. The only way to control those decisions was to own the process, so Dunstan House was established to allow me to publish even the things which would probably never turn a profit, and to keep in print even things which didn’t sell thousands of copies each year.

 

Obviously, the joys of self-publication are pretty much wrapped up right there. The challenges also follow pretty logically—no one but me will do any advertising or promotion for my catalog, so when there’s little or no money for those efforts (which is most of the time) very little gets done. Accordingly, I am looking at a catalog which is, from my perspective, filled with undiscovered gems which are unknown to nearly everyone but the original commissioning body.  Please visit http://www.dunstanhouse.com/ to peruse our catalog.

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Excerpted from the Guest Artist Interview of the October 2017 Pro-Motion Music e-newsletter.  Dr. Jeannine and David Jordan are the creative artists of Pro-Motion Music LLC.  Jeannine, a concert organist, with David, a media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multimedia concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Bach and Sons.

An Interview with Dr. Damin Spritzer continued

J:  Your busy career spans a variety of different yet intertwined positions from university professor to church musician and concert organist to recording artist.  Let’s first focus on your faculty position at The American Organ Institute at the University of Oklahoma.  Please describe for us your role in what is described as “a revolutionary (organ) program without parallel”.

Dr. Spritzer:  What an incredible compliment to our program! That is really wonderful, thank you! I am one of three teaching faculty here out of nine staff in the organ department/AOI. It was very exciting for me to be the successful applicant for this position a few years ago, because as we understand it, this was the first new tenure-track position in our field to have been created in quite a few years. That directly reflects the significant growth of the program here over the last decade, under the leadership of Dr. John Schwandt. It was a tremendous honor to be considered and to then be the successful applicant for the position. It was also a dream come true to find a full-time professorship in a thriving program with so many colleagues.

 

I concentrate on studio teaching (along with the other two faculty) but I also teach a three-semester graduate class in Organ Literature and History, a one-semester undergraduate Organ Literature and History class, a Hymnody class, and will be jointly designed and implementing an Organ Pedagogy class in the coming year or so. It’s a unique program for a number of reasons, one in particular being that we are the only university, accredited or otherwise, that presently offers degrees in Organ Technology. So in addition to a full slate of classical performance training, improvisation, church and sacred music, theatre organ (that is also in the process of becoming acknowledged as a formal emphasis here), and academic study of the instrument, our students get to work hands-on throughout their program of study by participating actively with organ renovation, building, tuning, voicing, and repair.

 

I love being part of a large department like this, which is something I was also very fortunate to experience in all my church positions where we likewise always had multiple organists and musicians and directors. I have tremendous departmental support from my colleagues here for my teaching as well as my performing and recording, and I hope to do the same for them!  (To learn more of the American Organ Institute click here.) 

 

J:  Not only do you have a role in shaping future organists through your university teaching, you are also the Artist-in-Residence for the Cathedral Arts series at the Cathedral Church of St. Matthew in Dallas, Texas and as such have a role for generating new audiences.  What are your thoughts on not only generating but maintaining audience interest in live performance?

Dr. Spritzer:  My ties and association with St. Matthews Cathedral arevery precious to me. Cathedral Arts there incorporates a number of disciplines in the arts, which is always wonderful for reaching out to various parts of any given community. I give a lot of thought and talk to our students a great deal about the context, or perhaps, the intended audience, of any given “performance” situation. The diversity of the organ (especially when we include historic instruments) is stunning, and each hall, room, and instrument are unique. I love looking for programs that I hope suit each venue in particular. We can’t always put ourselves in the minds our supporters and listeners, but we can certainly listen to them when they communicate with us, and strive for ways to merge our own personal visions and aesthetics and dreams and ideals with what we are hearing that our congregations or audiences really respond to and recall with happiness or strong emotion.

The organ is so, so ancient, I am always in awe of the true extent of the historic body of repertoire from which we can draw for teaching, performing, and liturgical use. There is just so much! I work very hard personally to find a balance between canon rep that is beloved, and also a large percentage of [generally] Romantic or Modern music that has been overlooked by previous performers because of obscurity or loss. That seems to create a lot of memorable programs, based on the lovely letters and comments I have received over the years, and I’m very grateful that some of the programs have been so successful as well as the fact that my musical colleagues and listeners have taken the time to communicate so positively and eloquently with me about it.

I also try to simply perform as often as I possibly can, wherever I can, whenever I can, and I almost always try to speak with the audience before, during, or after the program, whenever that’s possible. It’s one of my favorite aspects of a live performance, and since we’re so often hidden, I think it helps make it more personal and relational. When people take the time to attend a performance, that says so much, and I want to honor that.

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Excerpted from the Feature Article of the September 2017 Pro-Motion Music e-newsletter.  Dr. Jeannine and David Jordan are the creative artists of Pro-Motion Music LLC.  Jeannine, a concert organist, with David, a media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multimedia concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Bach and Sons.

 

A trailer for Around the World in 80 Minutes – check it out!

After many requests for a trailer of
Around the World in 80 Minutes, it’s here.
Enjoy the trip.

Click Here

I’d appreciate your feedback. Many people who have seen our concerts are truly awed by the experience.
The purpose of this trailer is to help people who haven’t experienced one of our concerts get a sense of what a Pro-Motion Music multimedia concert would be like for them.

For those of you who have seen one or more of our multimedia concerts, would you take a couple of minutes to let me know if this trailer gives a sense of what you experienced? Please tell me if there are additions that you think would help the viewer get a better sense of the live organ and multimedia concert experience.

Any comments you might have would be greatly appreciated.

Please send to
David@promotionmusic.org

For those of you who have yet to see Bach and SonsFrom Sea to Shining Sea, or Around the World in 80 Minutes, I coordinate the live images from the five different cameras with still images and additional video segments in real time, projecting that “finished product” immediately to the cinematic screen.  Jeannine provides the glorious music and narration of the story — all in real time.  These are simply not-to-be-missed audience-engaging concert experiences!

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Dr. Jeannine and David Jordan are the creative artists of Pro-Motion Music LLC.  Jeannine, a concert organist, with David, a media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multimedia concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Bach and Sons.

A video trailer of Around the World in 80 Minutes

Click the image below to view a video trailer of our newest organ and multimedia concert experience, Around the World in 80 Minutes.  All the scenes are from the sixteen countries we visit during the concert.   The music is also from the concert and consists of music by native composers of those sixteen countries based on indigenous melodies.

80m-poster-small-240

Visit www.aroundtheworldin80minutes.org to discover more.  To chat with us about our unique audience-engaging concerts, please contact me at jeannine@promotionmusic.org.

An interview with Robert Ampt

Jeannine:  Please share anything else from your life story that would be of interest to our readers.
Mr. Ampt:  Three things come to mind:
1. American organist and carillonist Amy Johansen (who in now my wife) came into my life around thirty years ago following our initial meeting in the bar of Kings College, Cambridge.  Amy was, and still is, a startlingly brilliant organist who was soon to make her first CD – the music of Naji Hakim, with whom she had been studying, and who recommended her for the CD. Amy has an impeccable sense of rhythm and some splendid practice techniques which were passed on to her from Naji.  I have benefited from both of these aspects.

2. For around three decades I have been the organist/choirmaster of Sydney’s German Lutheran Church.

 

 

The church is very small, has zero acoustic and houses a very fine seventeen-stop mechanical action organ from Schuke of what used to be West Berlin.  All hymns are played and harmonized from just the melody, and each hymn is introduced by an improvised prelude.  This process has been a marvelous and rigorous teacher.     Before each prelude, decisions need to be made so that not only the music, but also the text, is introduced.  Decisions to be made include volume (loud/soft), form (duo, melody in which voice, melody in pedal on 16′, 8′ or 4′, fugal, melody ornamented or unadorned, chorale prelude with interludes, melody in octaves, harmonic language (tradition/modern), one or more keyboards …  An important aspect is that these preludes are always performed with a listening audience, so that every note played (even the surprises!) must be considered correct and part of the music.
Improvising these thousands of preludes has had a direct influence on the forms and styles of my composing.  Some movements are quite short and could be considered similar to “chorale prelude” styles, including sets of variations. Overall I have learnt both fluency and consistency of style/language within pieces from my service playing.

3. Finally, it is impossible to be playing one of the world’s great organs without being influenced by it.

 

The magnificent Hill organ in the Sydney Town, the largest in the world at the time of its opening in 1890 (5 mans/ped, 126 speaking stops with no borrowing or extension and a true 64′ pedal stop), has taught me that great organs can convincingly play all music from all periods.  At a “toccata” concert last year, for example, the music ranged from Frescobaldi (elevation toccata) to Messiaen (Dieu parmi nous) with Bach (T & F in F major) and Widor in between. If I fail to play this range of music, many, even if they attend a church regularly, will be totally unaware of its existence.
Although the organ dates from 1890 and is obviously ideally suited for the music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the splendid 16′ Principal Chorus on the Great, which includes almost a dozen ranks of mixtures, is the thrilling heart and soul of the instrument, and splendidly suitable for the great northern repertoire of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  This organ has taught me about the spaciousness and majesty of this music – which, in its turn, is the heart and soul of our instrument’s repertoire.
This organ has also taught me how a great organ should look.  Too many large organs, including in civic situations, have uninspiring facades often designed by architects. The case of the Sydney organ was designed by an organbuilder who was also the foremost authority on historic organ cases – Dr Arthur Hill. Based on some of the greatest organs of his time – St Bavo in Haarlem and St Jakobi in Stralsund – the Sydney case is simply breathtaking with its size, its perfect balance of towers and flats, and its beautiful detail.

Jeannine:  Thank you for sharing the intriguing story of your life as an organist.

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Excerpted from an interview published in the June 2017 Pro-Motion Music newsletter.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist with her husband David, media artist, are the creators and performers of Bach and Sons, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Around the World in 80 Minutes — live organ concerts with multi-media.

Godwin Sadoh – ethnomusicologist – Interview continued

Dr. Sadoh:  My extensive researches on African ethnomusicology, intercultural musicology, modern African art music, Nigerian church music, organ building, and composers, have been published in reputable international journals such as The Diapason, The Hymn, The Organ, The Organ Club Journal, Journal of the Royal College of Organists, The Organ: An Encyclopedia, The Musical Times, Africa, Choral Journal, Percussive Notes, MLA Notes, NTAMA, Living Music Journal, and Composer-USA.  In fact, one of my books, Intercultural Dimensions in Ayo Bankole’s Music, topped the bestseller list as No. 1 on Amazon in 2007.  My books have been catalogued in some of the most prestigious archival centers and university libraries around the world, including the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Libraries, Harvard University Library, Yale University Library, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College Music Library–New Hampshire, UCLA Music Library, Duke University Library–North Carolina, Stanford University Library–California, Southern Methodist Libraries, Dallas–Texas, Center for Black Music Research–Chicago, Bayreuth University Library–Germany, Tufts University Library–Massachusetts, University of London, School of Oriental Studies and African Studies–London, Cathedral Church of Christ Library–Lagos, and the Music Libraries of the University of Pretoria, University of South Africa, University of Kwazulu-Natal, University of the Witwatersrand–Johannesburg, all nestled in South Africa.  This is just to mention a few.

I am always excited and grateful to see my published articles and books listed as references in theses and dissertations, and in the syllabi of both undergraduate and graduate courses at colleges and universities around the world.  As regards my compositions, they have been performed all over the world including Birmingham, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Scotland, Tanzania, South Africa, and of course, the United States, where my music is performed regularly in churches and schools every week.  Since my return to Nigeria in 2013 after several years of sojourn in the United States, I have come across a lot of Masters and PhD students and Music Instructors who informed me of how useful my scholarly publications have being to them when writing their theses or dissertations.  My compositions too have been widely performed at churches, schools, colleges and universities all over Nigeria.  The climax of my creative reward in Nigeria were the mammoth concerts featuring only my compositions that took place in the nation’s capital, Abuja, on April 29, 2016, and on August 6, 2016, at the prestigious Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos.  The third phase of the concert would feature only my organ compositions at the Cathedral Church later in 2017; while the Grand Finale would take place in my late mother’s home town in summer 2017.  At this Finale, a 100-Mass Choir would perform my choral songs to the glory of God.  To me, these are priceless and quantum experiences in my musical career!
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Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist, and David Jordan, media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multi-media concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, Bach and Sons, and From Sea to Shining Sea.  Contact Dr. Jordan at jeannine@promotionmusic.org for information.

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