Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘david jordan’


Jeannine:  Where/when can one hear PIPEDREAMS?
Mr. Barone:  One can hear PIPEDREAMS on select public radio/classical music stations around the country, which can be found listed here:  http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/stations/  As some will note, various stations are quite enthusiastic about the notion of having an hour (or two!) of organ music in their weekly schedule, but other stations seem to think that they are doing a community service by including the program, even though they place it at inconvenient extremities of the day (very early morning, very late evening).  But something is better than nothing, and the weekly broadcasts of PIPEDREAMS on radio stations to reach a weekly audience of @200,000 people.  This could be a larger number, but we will get into that in a moment.

Regardless of the time of day or night, or the presence of a local radio broadcast of PIPEDREAMS, the weekly program can be accessed online at any time (24/7) wherever internet is available, with a very detailed website that includes links to artist biographies, CD sources, organ photos and specifications, at:  http://www.pipedreams.org.  In addition, you can link to an incredible archive of hundreds of past programs here.

Even so, with all of that accessibility and convenient time-shifting that online provides, still more than ten-times as many people hear PIPEDREAMS via the radio broadcast than via the internet (and that includes its global reach).  Go figure.  http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/2016/.


Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist with her husband David, 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.





Fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Affect, animate, arouse, cause, embolden, excite, galvanize, impress




Of extraordinary quality, as if arising from some external creative impulse.

“They had to thank the choir for the inspired singing”

Activated,animated,encouraged,energized,exhilarated, influenced

motivated, moved


“I just can’t listen to any more Wagner, you know…I’m starting to get the urge to conquer Poland.”  Woody Allen

Okay, I don’t know if that’s the inspiration we are looking for in our music, but it is inspiration. We often find ourselves in one of two positions, that of needing to inspire or that of needing to be inspired.

Sometimes our effort of inspiring leaves us depleted and feeling that inspiration has left us forever. Rejoice, it hasn’t. Those are the times we need to let our souls, minds, and heart rest and get an infilling of inspiration ourselves.

“Just as appetite comes by eating, so work brings inspiration,

if inspiration is not discernible at the beginning.” Igor Stravinsky

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 
 Victor Hugo

We as musicians have been given such a tremendous gift.  So many people truly need what we have for them.  Sometimes we forget that. Even when we might not feel inspired there are people we need to inspire. We look outward for inspiration but we have it in our hands, feet, head, and most of all in our own hearts.

With the tremendous gift we have been given, we have an obligation to inspire others and remember to  allow ourselves to be inspired. Sometimes we are amazed at the sounds that emanate from that most magnificent of instruments on which we work, and are taken aback that we helped create that sound that is beyond words.

“Music . . . can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.”
Leonard Bernstein

Excerpted from an article by David Jordan, media artist, published in the March 2016 issue of the Pro-Motion Music e-newsletter.  Mr. Jordan and his wife, concert organist Jeannine Jordan, are the creators and performers of three unique audience-engaging multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Around the World in 80 Minutes.  Contact Jeannine at jeannine@promotionmusic.org to learn more of these unique events.




Meet World Renown Organist Stephen Tharp

Jeannine:  Our newsletter readership includes not only organists,but educators, historians, and music-lovers as well.  For those who do not know you, would you kindly introduce yourself.

Mr. Tharp:  My name is Stephen Tharp, a native of Chicago living in New York City for the past 20 years.  While I love my work as a church musician, my central focus is as a concert performer, traveling globally to play concerts, teach masterclasses and make recordings.  I am one of the few organists in the world who is lucky enough to make a life as a touring artist the primary focus.

J:  1400 organ concerts worldwide and counting!  What a legacy!  From Sydney to Reykajavik; from Los Angeles to Milano; from Leipzig to Hong Kong.  With degrees from Illinois College and Northwestern University, I assume you hail from the Midwest.  Who/what was your inspiration to become a concert organist?  How/where did your concert career begin? 

Mr. Tharp:  I was raised in the Chicago suburbs where my parents attended a Lutheran Church.  By age 6, the Schlicker pipe organ there had mesmerized me to the point where I begged them for music lessons.  (As a little boy fascinated by machines that were large and could produce big sounds, a pipe organ was a next logical step after years of hearing it every Sunday!)  The teacher they found for me, however, insisted that I first learn what I was doing and start with the piano.  I remember not being terribly happy about that at the time, but we  went with it for two years, adding the organ (with the same teacher) when I was 8 and just tall enough to reach the pedalboard.  That teacher’s name (yes, his real name) was James. T. Thunder.  We worked together for quite a while, until I switched to Wolfgang Rübsam at Northwestern University, who took me on as a private student during my high school years. After some truly wonderful experiences working with Rudolf Zuiderveld (organ) and Garrett Allman (piano) for my B.A. degree at Illinois College in downstate Jacksonville, I did my M.M. in organ performance with Rübsam at Northwestern.  Luckily, I was always able to perform here and there while a student, especially during summer breaks, and various friends/colleagues in Chicago were extremely kind to me during all my formative student years, offering me chances to perform at their churches.  That’s when I began to “cut my teeth,” as it were, in front of audiences.

J:  How did you build your worldwide concert career?

Mr. Tharp:  I spent 7 years under the management of Karen McFarlane Artists.  Ultimately, however, the approach I have always used in Europe – where personal relationships win over what is seen as the “impersonal, corporate approach” with agents – was better for me.  My first concerts in Europe were in England while still in my teens, and so Britain was, at one time, the place where I had performed the most often.  That changed in 1996 when I met German organist and improvisateur Wolfgang Seifen.  He was visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral while I was Organist there and, in reciprocation for a recital at the Cathedral, he offered to arrange my first concert tour of Germany, which took place in 1997.  Over the 46 overseas tours that I have made to date, it is still Germany that takes the prize now as the European country wherein I have performed the most.

In the USA, I have also been very fortunate.  Most of the concert halls I’d admired as a child or as a student have hosted me in performance; Disney Hall, Los Angeles; Symphony Center, Chicago; Woolsey Hall, Yale University; the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia; Spivey Hall, Atlanta are but a few.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, interviewer, is a concert organist who with her husband David Jordan presents the organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.

4 Reasons Why a Busy Advent/Christmas Season is a Great Thing

by David Jordan

1.Listening to music releases Dopamine in the brain.

a.Valorie Salimpoor (2011) and her team conducted research that shows that listening to music can release the neurotransmitter dopamine. Even anticipating music can release dopamine.

b.People have favorite music that induces euphoria. Be aware of that.

c. Anticipating the pleasurable parts of music activates different areas of the brain and neurotransmitters than actually listening to and experiencing the music.

d.Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.

2.The more difficult something is to achieve; the more people like it.

a.Of course I would highly recommend that you do help them actually achieve it.

b. If you want people to join your community, choir, body, you might find that people put more value on it if there are steps that have to be taken to join. Filling out an application, meeting certain criteria, being invited by others — all of these can be seen as barriers to entry but they may also mean that the people who do join, are going to care more about the group.

3. People are more motivated as they get closer to a goal.

a.The goal-gradient effect says that you will accelerate your behavior as you progress closer to your goal.

b. People focus on what’s left more than what’s completed. People are focused on what’s left to accomplish. Perfect for advent/Christmas concerts and special services.  The shorter distance to the goal the more motivated people are to reach it. People are even more motivated when the end is in sight.

4.People are more motivated by intrinsic rewards than extrinsic rewards.

a. People want to the experience of learning and improving.

b.They are motivated when what they are doing helps connect with other people.

c. Heuristic work assumes the work itself provides intrinsic motivation through a sense of accomplishment.

I hope this will give a different perspective on what we often experience as just overwhelming. During the next several weeks, look for ways to create a more robust and excited choir, church, community, entity of MIPs (Musically Important People). People that are looking forward to every moment of participation in this glorious season.

Have a very Merry Christmas and Thank You.

David Jordan, media artist and Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist, are the creators and performers of the organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.  They are also church musicians.


Living History – the Brattle Organ

David and I performed our “From Sea to Shining Sea,” concert in Providence RI. As part of the program we refer to the “Brattle House Organ,” and show an image of it because it has historical significance. After the program a person introduced themselves and said, “if you have the time, you should go and see the Brattle organ, it’s in Portsmouth NH at St John’s Episcopal Church.”

Well that was too good to pass up so we went up, I played this wonderful little organ while David took pictures. It is hard to describe the feeling of seeing, hearing, and playing a piece of history from 1711. That part of our program will never be the same again.

Barbara Owen – Keeping the Story Alive – Part III

We continue our interview with Barbara Owen, American music historian, lecturer, organist, and church musician.

J:   For many years you served as the Music Director at The First Religious Society in Newburyport, MA.   Founded in 1635, this church, steeped in tradition, goes back to the earliest days of the American colonies.  How was your work at this church influenced by American history?  How did you and the staff strive to keep those American traditions alive? 

Ms. Owen:  Actually, it was the First Church of Newbury that was founded in 1635; what became the First in Newburyport was originally the Third Church, founded 1725, when it was still a part of Newbury. There was a singing-school in the early days, and in 1794 it acquired the second organ in the area (the Episcopalians had the first), one of the earliest to be installed in a Puritan church (later to become Unitarian). It was moved to the present building in 1801, and replaced by a larger one in 1834, built locally by Joseph Alley, and since rebuilt.

There are recorded instances of civic ceremonies (such as Washington’s birthday, and a memorial service for Lincoln) being held there, along with occasional concerts, throughout the 19th century. A choir or a quartet provided Sunday music, and in 1925 an annual musical candlelight Christmas service was begun.

I became Music Director in 1963 and began building up the choir and eventually transforming the annual Christmas service into a well-attended community event with an augmented choir. My early interest in American choral music soon surfaced, adding to an eclectic choir library music by Billings and his contemporaries, folk hymns, Shaker hymns, and spirituals, and music by contemporary Americans.

I eventually published a collection of Christmas music, the Candlelight Carol Book, about half of its contents being from American sources. Some special occasions called for American music, such as a service honoring Thomas W. Higginson, a 19th century pastor who was an Abolitionist and who led a Black squadron in the Civil War. He had recorded words of some of the spirituals they sang, and a little research revealed some of the tunes, which I arranged for the choir for that occasion. Although now retired since 2002, I am still a church member and a supporter of what continues to be an excellent music program, presently with three choirs and a concert series.

J:  I know you are involved in a variety of things.  Would you please describe some of those?

Ms. Owen:  With regard to my publications, I wandered away from Americana for a time, as travels opened up new vistas in England and the Continent, resulting in books on Baroque organ registration and Brahms’s organ works, although monographs on music in King’s Chapel, Boston, and Trinity Church in New Haven appeared too. My latest book, on the “Great Organ” of Boston Music Hall (now in Methuen Music Hall) brought me back to an intriguing chapter of the American scene. Other organ music collections included some from England and Italy, but also an edition of Dudley Buck’s chorale preludes.

Aside from my life-long career as a church musician, I recently worked for several years as a part-time music librarian, and some years ago was employed at the Fisk organ company, which provided me with a “post-graduate” course in how organs are designed and built. For several years now I have acted as a consultant to a number of churches and educational institutions with regard to both new organs and the restoration or rebuilding of older ones. And although now retired from a “regular” church position, I still occasionally substitute for other organists – something many other retirees enjoy doing. I continue to write, mostly articles, although I’m considering dipping a bit deeper into the 19th century Boston scene with something about its notable organist-composers of the “gilded age.” Back home to Americana.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, interviewer, is a concert organist deeply involved in the preservation of American Organ Music through her organ and multi-media concert experience, From Sea to Shining Sea.

Barbara Owen – Keeping the Story Alive Part II

We continue the interview with Barbara Owen, historian, lecturer, organist, and church musician.

J:  You are also the author of among four other major works, the definitive source, The Organ in New England.  At an amazing 649 pages, this is the only comprehensive discussion of the artistic supremacy of organ builders in America’s golden age.  Please describe the importance of your work for not only organists, but organ enthusiasts and music-lovers worldwide. 

Ms. Owen:  The genesis of the book was my 1961 Master’s thesis, at a time when American topics were not very popular as material for academic papers. But even after that was finished I kept accumulating more material on the subject as several years passed. As the bicentennial approached, American topics became of more interest in the academic community. Eventually it was suggested that I work it into a book, and thanks to some supportive colleagues I applied for and got an NEH grant that allowed me to take a few months off from my day job and write, write, write – on a portable typewriter, with the floor littered with crumpled paper, and a bottle of white-out handy.

The grant also made more research possible, so I was poring over old newspapers and music magazines in libraries, and digging into church archives. A small publisher with an interest in organs took on the task of publishing it, and it finally came out in 1979. I was glad that I focused solely on New England, though, as it allowed me to do it in depth, and for the first time to attempt a completer picture of the extraordinary achievements of the highly skilled artisans who founded an American organ-building industry that eventually rivaled that of England and the Continent.

Around the same time Orpha Ochse tackled the entire country in an excellent but more general survey, and others started writing about organ building in New York and other regions, so by now one can have a quite long bookshelf of studies related to organs and their builders in America.

J:  The Organ Historical Society is unique in its mission as itcel­ebrates, pre­serves, and studies the pipe organ in America in all its his­toric styles, through re­search, edu­cation, ad­vocacy, and music.”  To reiterate, the focus is exclusively on American pipe organs.   As Past-President of this organization, why do you think the work of The Organ Historical Society is of such importance?  And urgency?  Would you please give some examples of the work done by the Society?

Ms. Owen:  The O.H.S. had its origin in a meeting in a church choir room of several friends concerned about the state of historic American organs, during the 1956 AGO National Convention in New York. And yes, there was a distinct sense of urgency, as we had all been witnessing the rebuilding or outright destruction of historic American organs. Hence the name.  I was elected first president. Similar organizations already existed in European countries, so there was precedent.

Our first effort was a mimeographed newsletter, named The Tracker since at the time most of those older organs had mechanical action, and also because we were intent on tracking them down and studying them; it is now an important journal. Soon it included listings of threatened organs available for relocation, which eventually became the independent Organ Clearing House, by means of which many “orphan” instruments have since found new homes.

As membership grew, annual conventions were held in various locations, and these too helped to raise consciousness about the worth of historic organs. In Europe, historic organs are often given special citations, and so a program was instituted to cite American organs of especial cultural significance.

Membership growth spurred more projects, one of the most substantial being a library and archive devoted to another kind of preservation, containing books relating to the history and construction of organs, periodicals, and archival material, some from defunct U.S. organ building firms.  Next came the OHS Press, which has since issued many books dealing with facets of the organ in America.

Then a scholarship program called the Biggs Fellowship was established specifically to allow younger people to attend the yearly conferences and become members. Some have since distinguished themselves as performers, teachers, or members of the organbuilding trade. So in various ways the O.H.S. and its members continue to have an important impact on the organ culture of America.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, interviewer, is a concert organist who promotes the music of early America in her organ and multi-media concert experience, From Sea to Shining Sea.

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