An extraordinarily expressive performer and intensely intelligent musician, organist Paul Jacobs unites technical skills of the first order with probing emotional artistry. His sweeping marathon performances of the complete works of J.S. Bach, Messiaen and others, as well as his presentations of new works and core repertoire, engage and invigorate audiences, colleagues and critics alike.
In the 2010/11 season, Paul Jacobs re-inaugurates the restored Kuhn pipe organ in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, performing JS Bach’s monumental Clavier-Übung III. He joins Michael Tilson Thomas for performances of Copland’s Organ Symphony with both the Chicago and San Francisco symphony orchestras; appearing with the SFSO at both Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco and the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. Jacobs makes returns to the Pacific and Phoenix symphony orchestras and gives solo recitals throughout North America and abroad. His recording of Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement was released by Naxos in September 2010.
Paul Jacobs made musical history at the age of 23, when he played Johann Sebastian Bach’s complete organ works, in an 18-hour marathon performance on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. He has also performed the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in marathon performances throughout North America, and last season reached the milestone of having performed in each of the fifty United States. Prodigiously talented from his earliest years, at 15 Paul Jacobs was appointed head organist of a parish of 3,500 families in his hometown, Washington, Pennsylvania. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, double-majoring with John Weaver for the organ and Lionel Party for the harpsichord, and at Yale University with Thomas Murray.
Paul Jacobs has won first prizes in numerous competitions, including the 1998 Albert Schweitzer National Organ Competition, and was the first organist to receive the Harvard Musical Association’s Arthur W. Foote Award. Paul Jacobs was invited to join 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.
In addition to his concert and teaching appearances, Paul Jacobs is a frequent performer at international and national festivals, and has appeared on American Public Media’s Pipedreams, Performance Today and Saint Paul Sunday, as well as NPR’s Morning Edition, Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power from the Crystal Cathedral and ABC-TV’s World News Tonight, among others.