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2021 International Performer of the Year Announced

The New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2021 International Performer of the Year award is Paul Jacobs. Heralded as "one of the major musicians of our time" by Alex Ross of The New Yorker, the internationally celebrated organist combines a probing intellect and extraordinary technical mastery with an unusually large repertoire, both old and new. He has performed to great critical acclaim on five continents and in each of the fifty United States. The only organ soloist ever to have won a GRAMMY Award - in 2011 for Messiaen's towering "Livre du Saint-Sacrèment," - Mr. Jacobs is an eloquent champion of his instrument both in the United States and around the world.

Dean of the Chapter, James Kennerley, remarks: "I am thrilled that Paul has been chosen as the winner of the 2021 award. Throughout his career Paul has been a beacon of musical excellence, a technical wizard, and an eloquent ambassador. His visionary teaching, unwavering commitment to new music, and a total commitment to the pipe organ and the culture which surrounds it is second to none."

Paul comments, "I am deeply honored to receive this award from the American Guild of Organists. It remains my unwavering commitment to advance the contemporary, versatile, and marvelously exciting art of organ playing, which traverses a full range of human passion and experience."

The New York City Chapter's International Performer of the Year Award was created in 1978 to recognize excellence in organ performance and to increase public awareness of the organ and its performers. Robert Noehren was the first recipient (in 1978) of the award, which has continued for most but not all years following. The award is considered by many to be the highest honor given to organists by a professional musicians' guild in the United States.

Particular thanks to the members of the Awards Committee: Lena Tharp, Nick Quardokus, and Donald Meineke, chair, as well as the candidates themselves. Thanks are also due to the Chapter Auditors Paolo Bordignon and Andrew Henderson, as well as Secretary Ray Nagem and Registrar Larry Long for their assistance in meticulously ratifying the votes.

We look forward to celebrating Paul over the course of this program year.

The Executive Board of the NYC Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
July 9, 2021


2021 President's Day Conference

This year's 2021 President's Day Conference took place entirely virtually, with programs beginning at 3pm EST on Monday, February 15, 2021. Click here to view full details of the event. Videos are below. A sincere thank you to all who attended as well as those who made this wonderful event possible!

Program 1: The French Influence in Contemporary Organ Building, Composition, and Performance - Panel Discussion
Program 2: Performing French Classical Organ Repertoire Today with Dr. Andrew Henderson
Program 3: Recital from Saint Bartholomew's Church, Park Avenue by Christopher Houlihan

The NYCAGO is offering two online series of videos, Pipe Organs of NYC, taking the viewer on a virtual musical tour of the grand instruments of our Chapter, as well as Behind The Pipes: Organ Building in NYC. These videos go live on Monday nights at 7 PM EST and are archived on our Chapter YouTube page here.

Pipe Organs of NYC

Episode 1 - Monday, October 12, 2020: Saint Patrick's Cathedral
Episode 2 - Monday, October 19, 2020: Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue & Grace Church
Episode 3 - Monday, October 26, 2020: The Cathedral Church of Saint John The Divine
Episode 4 - Monday, November 16, 2020: Saint James' Church & Church of the Resurrection
Episode 5 - Monday, November 30, 2020: Fifth Avenue Presbyterian & The Riverside Church
Episode 6 - Monday, February 8, 2021: Temple Emanu-El
Episode 7 - Monday, February 22, 2021: Church of the Ascension Catholic & Saint Joseph's Yorkville
Episode 8 - Monday, March 8, 2021: Saint Ignatius Loyola and Saint Vincent Ferrer
Episode 9 - Monday, May 10, 2021: Holy Apostles and Old Saint Patrick's
Episode 10 - Monday, May 17, 2021: First Presbyterian Church and Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church

Behind the Pipes: Organ Building in NYC

Episode 1 - Monday, November 9, 2020: Second Hand Splendor: The Organ Clearing House at 60

The NYCAGO Board has established a committee to address issues of diversity within the Chapter. The committee members are Janet Yieh, Sam Bartlett, Nathanial Gumbs, and Larry Long. In observance of National African American (Black) History Month, the Committee has compiled a list of resources for organ music by African-American composers.

Please consult this useful list available here. It will remain available on our Chapter website as well. If members know of other works, please email them to Larry Long, and they will be added to this list.

In the February Newsletter, the Chapter was saddened to announce the death of John Weaver. Here is a more detailed remembrance of one of America's finest concert organists who was a dear colleague and mentor to many Chapter members.

If you have any questions about the AGO website or to submit additions to the NYCAGO Concert Calendar, please email Sam Bartlett at

NYC Metro Area Concert Calendar

A diversity of concerts and recitals are offered in the metropolitan area throughout the year. Check out the Concert Calendar pages to see listings. More...

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Chapter Newsletters

The June 2021
e-newsletter is now available online.

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