Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘Johann Sebastian Bach’

Wooster Enjoys Bach and Sons

We took our Bach and Sons organ and multi-media experience on the road to Wooster, Ohio in late October 2013.  Our performance was the first of the 2013-2014 Music on Market Concert Series hosted by the Wooster United Methodist Church.  

A wonderfully enthusiastic audience was thrilled with the various aspects of live telling of the story of Bach from

  • Jeannine’s performance of the great works of Bach on the Aeolian-Skinner organ
  • Multiple screens showcasing David’s amazing multi-media, which allowed the audience to experience the narration and organ performance in an up-close and personal manner. 

The multi-media utilized

     four live action cameras

  •           two showing Jeannine’s hands on the three keyboards
  •           one showing Jeannine’s feet on the pedal board
  •           one on Jeannine narrating the story as the women in Bach’s life

and included stunning visuals from Bach’s Germany in

  •           video
  •            and still photo formats


As always, it was a thrill to share the story of Bach with a community.

To learn how you can bring Bach and Sons, this unique, audience-engaging event
to your church,concert series, university, or community arts series,
please contact jeannine at





Finding Inspiration

Several months ago, I was invited to adjudicate an organ competition for the Salem Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.  In preparation for adjudicating this competition, I began studying the repertoire that was to be played by the competitors:  the Bach C Major Prelude and Fugue, BWV 547;  the Bach Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major, BWV 552:  the Final from Symphony 1 by Vierne;  Piece Heroique by Franck;  Toccata and Fugue by Emma Lou Diemer;  and Gloucester Estampie by Carson Cooman.  Formidable, challenging, and tremendously exciting repertoire to be sure and not for the “faint of heart.”

Today I had the pleasure of hearing two competitors play this grand music.  And play it they did!  Both competitors were well prepared and played with maturity and understanding of the music.  It was a great pleasure to hear such playing.

As adjudicators, we were not allowed to see the competitors before or during the competition.  Assuming this type of playing would have been presented by an organist nearing the cut-off age of 25, I was astounded when the runner-up and winner stepped forward to receive their prizes!

The runner-up was a young woman of 17 who wants to make a career as an organist.  She’s been playing the organ for four years.

And who was the winner?   He was a shy young man of 12-years of age who had only been studying organ for two years!

Simply amazing!  and truly an inspiration for me to continue my careful thoughtful practice and to recapture that sense of joy in playing the organ that I witnessed in these very young, very talented, very hard-working, very dedicated organists today!  What a thrill!!
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist


Want to Recharge Your Creativity?

Take An Artist’s Date

Several years ago, I came across an interesting book by Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way.  Chocked full of ideas for recovering one’s creativity and living the artist’s life, I found several of Cameron’s ideas intriguing.  One was the concept of the Artist’s Date.

To quote Ms. Cameron, “Artist Dates are assigned play.  The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery.

Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, ‘what sounds fun?’ — and then allow yourself to try it.”

10 ideas for an Artist’s Date

  1. Support the local arts scene. Go to a local festival, music event, art show, play, museum exhibit.  Visit www.bachandsons.com to find the location for the next live Bach and Sons concert in your area.
  2. Grab a stack of magazines, and clip whatever looks interesting or cool to create your own inspiration board.
  3. Read a book of short stories such as  On the Heels of an Organist.
  4. Go for a walk, and take your camera with you to document the experience.
  5. Stop by the library, and check out some CDs.
  6. Take a long soak in a hot bathtub
  7. Visit a “creative” shop that has nothing to do with what you actually do–an art supply store, a fabric shop, a music store.
  8. See an Oscar-nominated movie or a foreign film.
  9. Listen to your favorite music while sipping on a cup of hot cocoa or cappuccino
  10. Watch the sun rise or set

Boundless, unending sources of inspiration are yours for the taking!

Let your world heighten your senses and creativity.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist

Modern Day Patrons of the Arts in Dornheim, Germany



Rosemarie Frey

JS Bach’s Wedding Church in Dornheim, Germany is now a well-known memorial to Bach, with thousands of visitors from all over the world.  However,  in 1996, with the church in a desolate state, demolition was being considered.  However, a group of villagers (true patrons of the arts) rescued the building and provided for its restoration.

Led by Rosemarie Frey, the “Friends to Preserve the Wedding Church of Johann Sebastian Bach in Dornheim” was founded.  With financial support from the Foundation for the Protection of Monuments in Thuringia, the Office for Protection of Monuments, and  the Protestant churches of Thuringia, the “Friends” put their hands and talents to the task and saved this beautiful church.

These local patrons of the arts made sure this part of the life of one of the most important musicians of all time, Johann Sebastian Bach, was preserved for generations to come.  Today the church not only hosts concerts by artists from around the world eager to play the music of Bach in this historic place, but dozens of weddings every year for couples wanting to recreate the joy of Johann Sebastian and Maria Barbara’s wedding over three centuries ago.

I was privileged to perform at the Bach Wedding Church in the summer of 2012 presenting a tour of Bach’s life through his organ music.  In 2013, my husband and I will be performing the organ and media event, Bach and Sons, in this lovely location thanks to modern-day patrons of the arts in Dornheim, Germany.

The Bach Wedding Church in Dornheim

On 17th October 1707 a wedding party made its way from Arnstadt (Germany) to Dornheim, three kilometres away.  The betrothed couple was none other than Johann Sebastian Bach and his second cousin Maria Barbara Bach.  Young Bach’s friendship with the pastor of Dornheim, Johann Lorenz Stauber, was doubtless the main reason for choosing the little village church for this happy occasion.  Despite numerous repairs Bach’s wedding church was by 1996 in such a desolate state that even demolition was considered.  At this point determined villagers got together with the aim of rescuing the building and providing for a comprehensive restoration.  Today thousands of visitors from Germany and all over the world come to see this now well known memorial to Bach.” (Juergen Frey of Dornheim.)

On August 20, 2012, I was privileged to present an organ concert in this lovely village church.  The program, “A Musical Tour of Bach’s Life”  included some of JS Bach’s best-known and well-loved compositions including the Toccata in d minor, various chorale preludes, several secular pieces, and the great St. Anne Fugue. The audience was delighted with this sampling of Bach’s great music while enjoying the lovely surroundings of this historic Bach wedding church.

The organ, in a lovely Baroque case, was built by Schoenefeld in 1996. It is a two manual and pedal tracker instrument of 19 stops.

Our hosts for our stay in the village of Dornheim were Rosemarie and Juergen Frey, two of those determined villagers who rescued this now famous and well-loved Bach landmark.

(Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist and with David Jordan, creator and performer of the organ and media event, Bach and Sons.)


The Wechmar and Ohrdruf Excursion

No tour of the historic Bach sites of Germany is complete without a visit to Wechmar.  Wechmar is where the “Bach story” began.  Veit Bach, great-great grandfather of the now most famous of the dozens of Bach musicians, Johann Sebastian Bach, was a baker and a player of the cittern who settled in Wechmar sometime between 1590 and 1600.   Veit Bach is seen by most as the “founding father” of the Bach musical family.  Johann Sebastian’s grandfather Christoph Bach also grew up in Wechmar before taking a position as city musician in Erfurt. Based on these facts, the Village of Wechmar proudly calls itself “Home of the founding fathers of the Bach musical family” (Urväterheimat der Musikerfamilie Bach). As of 2006, there are once again some descendants of the Bach family living in Wechmar.

We traveled to Wechmar with Bach enthusiasts and scholars, Rosemarie and Juergen Frey for a personal tour of the Veit Bach bakery.  The history of the Bach family came alive with the most comprehensive and world’s largest Bach family tree hanging in the courtyard of this site of the famous Veit Bach bakery.

Our excursion continued to the town of Ohrdruf where the 10 year-old orphaned Johann Sebastian Bach was sent by foot from Eisenach to live with his older brother, Johann Christoph.  The church where Christoph was organist and the family home were destroyed in World War II, however, a unique sculpture and monument to Bach’s sojourn in Ohrdruf are worthy of a visit.

(Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist and with David Jordan, creator and performer of the organ and media event, Bach and Sons.)

The Organ Museum of Bad Belzig, Germany

The Organ Museum of the Marienkirche in Bad Belzig, Germany includes five instruments, of which three are now playable.  Two are undergoing restoration and will be added to the museum in 2013.  Winfried Kuntz, curator of the museum and Kantor and Organist of the Marienkirche, is building this museum as an “organist’s destination” in this area of  East Central Germany (between Berlin and Leipzig).

I was privileged to play these lovely organs in a concert of music by JS Bach and his sons suited to smaller instruments on August 18, 2012.  The repertoire included the four Duettos from the Clavieruebung III by JS Bach; a Sonata and a prelude and fugue by CPE Bach; a fugue by WF Bach; an odd fugue on JCFBACH by Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach; and a fantasie on BACH by Johann Christian Bach.


Alexander Schuke organ of 1906

The four stop Dorforgel from Toppel built in 1906 by Alexander Schuke is a pneumatic one manual and pedal organ with the following disposition:

Manual:                       Pedal:
Prinzipal      8′              Subbaß
Doppelflöte 8′
Dulciana      8′              Pedalkoppel und eine
Octave manual coupler

A cabinet organ of the 18th century by an unknown builder of the Brandenburg area consists of 5 stops without pedal.  The disposition of this organ is:

Gedeckt       8′
Viol di Gamb 8′ Diskant
Prinzipal      4′
Flöth            4′
Cornett 2-fach Diskant

Manualumfang C-c”’, gleichschwebend gestimmt, ein wunderschönes

Tzschoeckel organ, 1998

A stunning two manual and pedal house organ of 4 stops built by Tzschöckel from Württemberg with the disposition:

1. Manual:               2. Manual:
Gedeckt       8′         Holzflöte    8′ ab c°
angehängt an I
Rohrflöte     4′
Prinzipal      2′

The total number of ranks between the three organs is thirteen.  Thirteen lovely stops on three exquisite instruments.

The most valuable instrument in the collection, however, is the Papenius organ of 1747.  A two manual and pedal instrument of twenty ranks including a Quintathon 16’, Trompete 8’ and Posaune 16’, this gorgeous organ is undergoing restoration and should be playable by the summer of 2013.

Winfried Kuntz and Jeannine Jordan in front of Papenius organ of 1747.

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