Described by The Chicago Tribune as “one of the most supremely gifted organists of his generation,” Grammy award-winning organist Paul Jacobs unites technical skills of the first order with probing emotional artistry. His performances of new works and core recital and symphonic repertoire have transfixed audiences, colleagues and critics alike.
In the 2013/14 season, Paul Jacobs returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with conductor Charles Dutoit. He plays solo recitals in Washington DC presented by the National Symphony on the Kennedy Center Concert Hall’s new organ, as well as in Davies Hall presented by the San Francisco Symphony and Disney Hall presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He returns to Spivey Hall in Atlanta and in New York’s Zankel Hall he is featured in Carnegie Hall’s series of concerts, Collected Stories, performing in Arvo Pärt’s Passio, a contemporary setting of the Gospel according to St. John.
Paul Jacobs played the first concert on the newly restored Kuhn organ at Alice Tully Hall in New York, performing Bach’s monumental Clavier-Übung III as part of Lincoln Center’s first annual White Light Festival in 2010. A favorite and frequent guest of the San Francisco Symphony, he has performed and toured with them and Michael Tilson-Thomas in varied repertoire including Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ with Percussion and Copland’s Organ Symphony, both of which were recorded on the SFSO label. He has been guest soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, California’s Pacific Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, Miami’s New World Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony with James Conlon at the Cincinnati May Festival and previously with the Chicago Symphony and Pierre Boulez in Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass. Internationally, he appeared with the San Francisco Symphony at the Lucerne Festival and in London at Westminster Cathedral’s Grand Organ Festival.
His recording of the Messiaen Livre du Saint Sacrement, released by Naxos in 2010, was awarded that year’s Best Solo Instrumental Grammy of the Year, the first time a disc of solo organ music has received this honor.
Paul Jacobs made musical history at the age of 23 when he played Bach’s complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. He has also performed the complete organ works of Messiaen in marathon performances throughout North American and reached the milestone of having performed in each of the fifty United States.
Prodigiously talented from his earliest years, at 15 Jacobs was appointed head organist of a parish of 3,500 in his hometown, Washington, Pennsylvania. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, double-majoring with John Weaver (organ) and Lionel Party (harpsichord) and at Yale University with Thomas Murray (organ).
Paul Jacobs joined the faculty of The Juilliard School in 2003 and was named Chairman of the Organ Department in 2004, one of the youngest faculty appointees in the school’s history. He received Juilliard’s prestigious William Schuman Scholar’s Chair in 2007. His own students have won prominent national and international competitions and are forging their own careers as performers and teachers at prestigious venues and academic institutions in the United States and abroad.
In addition to his concert appearances and teaching, Jacobs has appeared on American Public Media’s Pipedreams, Performance Today and Saint Paul Sunday, as well as NPR’s Morning Edition, ABC-TV’s World News Tonight and in August 2011 he presented a recital for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts which remains available for viewing on www.npr.org.