Juilliard Organists Perform in a Free Recital at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in NYC on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 8 PM

Start Date

Friday, December 20, 2013

Press Release Images

Raymond Nagem on the Alice Tully Hall organ (Photo by Richard Termine)
Raymond Nagem on the Alice Tully Hall organ (Photo by Richard Termine)
Paul Jacobs on Juilliard's Paul Hall organ (Photo by Justin Astafanous)
Paul Jacobs on Juilliard's Paul Hall organ (Photo by Justin Astafanous)


Juilliard organists, under the direction of Organ Department Chair Paul Jacobs, perform in a FREE recital at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in NYC located near Times Square (145 West 46th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues) on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 8 PM. The recital features Juilliard organists David Ball, Michael Hey, Ryan Kennedy, Colin MacKnight, Griffin McMahon, Raymond Nagem, Janet Yieh, and Gregory Zelek.

The program includes Max Reger’s Toccata and Fugue Nos. 5 and 6 from 12 Organ Pieces, Op. 59; Sergei Prokofiev’s Music for Children, Op. 65, arranged by organist Raymond Nagem; Felix Mendelssohn’s Sonata No. 6 in D Minor; Hugo Distler’s Partita on Wachet auf, Op. 8, No. 2; Edward Elgar’s Andante espressivo from the composer’s Organ Sonata, Op. 28; Jean Langlais’ Fête; selections from Five Dances for Organ by Calvin Hampton (organist of Calvary Episcopal Church in New York from 1963-1983); Camille Saint-Saëns’ Fantasie in E-Flat Major; and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Two Preludes and Fugues from Op. 87 – F-sharp Major and D-flat Major, arranged by organist Michael Hey;

No tickets are required for this FREE recital. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu/organ2014.

The organ of St. Mary’s was built in 1932 by the Aeolian-Skinner Company and is designed for versatility; it gives the organist the ability to play organ music of all styles and periods. While Organ Department Chair Paul Jacobs won’t be performing in this recital, he’s very familiar with the St. Mary Church as he made his Grammy®-winning recording of Messiaen’s Livre du Saint-Sacrement on it. “For the organist, the thrill of playing this great instrument is akin to conducting a first-class orchestra,” he remarked. “For the listener, hearing organ music in this mystical space provides an experience like no other.”

The next appearance for Juilliard organists will be on Tuesday, March 25 at 8 PM when they present an evening devoted to chamber music at Christ and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (120 West 69th Street, NYC). The concert is FREE; no tickets are required. For further information, call (212) 787-2755 or visit http://www.csschurch.org/events/concert-events.

Juilliard organists were recently featured on American Public Radio’s Pipedreams (airing locally on WQXR) in September 2013. The show was taped from an earlier Juilliard concert on January 22, 2013 and featured students in the organ studio of Paul Jacobs. 

Juilliard Organists – Bios

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, David Ball is in his fourth year of the undergraduate program at Juilliard. He is the 2013 winner of the Denver AGO Chapter's Competition for Young Organists, the 2011 winner of the Kansas City AGO Chapter’s Competition for Young Organists, and is the recipient of the rarely-conferred ‘outstanding student award’ from the St. Louis Chapter of the AGO. In addition, Mr. Ball serves as the assistant musician at St. Malachy’s – The Actors’ Chapel in Times Square, and when in St. Louis, serves as organ scholar and assistant musician at St. Luke the Evangelist Church. He has performed recitals in New York City at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in Atlantic City at the National Historic Church of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, and in San Francisco at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. 

Michael Hey is a second-year master of music student at Juilliard. He presently serves as assisting organist at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. In November 2010, he gave his New York City debut at Lincoln Center performing a Handel organ concerto with the Juilliard Orchestra conducted by Nicholas McGegan. In July 2011, Mr. Hey received first prize in the Region II Competition for Young Organists at the AGO Convention in Morristown, New Jersey and performed a solo recital on WMBC-TV. In February 2011, he played an organ and violin duo in Juilliard’s FOCUS! festival. He performs organ and piano concerts and enjoys transcribing and premiering music for both instruments.

Ryan Kennedy is a sophomore in the combined Columbia University/Juilliard School exchange program, studying organ with Paul Jacobs while pursuing a degree in physics. Before college, he was a student of Timothy Lewis at the Music Conservatory of Westchester. Mr. Kennedy has held positions in Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Catholic churches in his native Hudson Valley, and most recently at Morristown Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. In 2013, he won Region II of the AGO Regional Competition for Young Organists, having previously won the preliminary Metropolitan New Jersey Chapter Competition, and will be performing at the 2014 National Convention in Boston. While he is devoted to the organ, he also is an accomplished pianist and composer, with a particular interest in opera, vocal coaching, and accompaniment, having worked for the Caramoor Bel Canto Festival, and made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2010, accompanying Lieder.

Colin MacKnight is currently a third-year organ major at Juilliard and a recipient of the E.H. Ludlam Scholarship. In September of 2013, he began work as organ scholar at New York City’s Church of the Resurrection under music director David Enlow. Among other duties, he shares responsibilities for accompanying and conducting the professional choir which performs over 50 choral mass settings each year, often with orchestra. Mr. MacKnight is a graduate of Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Mr. MacKnight has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and The Music Center at Strathmore. He has also performed under the direction of Lorin Maazel, Benjamin Zander, Piotr Gajewski, and Elizabeth Schulze, and with the National Symphony Orchestra. Highlights of the 2013-14 season include performances at Church of the Resurrection in New York City; Calvary Episcopal Church in Summit, NJ; Saints Peter and Paul Church in Naperville, IL; and Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In September of 2013, Mr. MacKnight was selected as the winner of the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship. In October, he was selected as the first place winner of the Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition. Additionally, in March, he won second place in the AGO’s New York City Regional Competition for Young Organists. Mr. MacKnight, who wrote his first musical composition at the age of 5, still enjoys composing today. He has a particular fascination with counterpoint and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Griffin McMahon is a third-year undergraduate at Juilliard, and he is the recipient of the Juilliard Alumni Scholarship and The Chairman’s Grant. He currently is the organ scholar at Christ Church United Methodist in Manhattan. A native of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Mr. McMahon has performed at venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Verizon Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Princeton University Chapel, and on the world’s largest functional pipe organ, the Wanamaker Organ at Macy’s Center City Philadelphia. Mr. McMahon's performances have been broadcast on WRTI's Wanamaker Organ Hour. He is the first prize winner of the Charlotte Hoyt Bagnall Organ Competition and was won prizes in the Regional Competition for Young Organists (Region I). An avid supporter of new music, he has premiered works by Juilliard composers Sean Smeed and Alice Gi-Young Hwang.

Raymond Nagem, a native of Boston, is a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at Juilliard and organ scholar at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Mr. Nagem received his bachelor of arts degree from Yale University where he studied with Thomas Murray and his master of music degree from Juilliard. He has performed throughout the Northeast, including concerts with the Juilliard Orchestra and Yale Symphony Orchestra. As the recipient of the first American Friends of Eton College Scholarship, he spent a year in England, studying music at Eton College. In 2011, he made his radio debut on NYC’s WQXR accompanying the Cathedral Choir under the direction of Kent Tritle. He has won prizes in the AGO Regional Competition for Young Organists and the John R. Rodland Scholarship Competition.

Janet Yieh, a native of Alexandria, Virginia, is a third-year undergraduate organ student of Paul Jacobs at Juilliard, where she receives the Juilliard Alumni Scholarship and Neil Carlson Memorial Scholarship in Organ. She currently serves as assistant organist at Trinity Church, Wall Street. Ms. Yieh won first prize at the 2013 Philadelphia Chapter AGO Young Organist Competition and she holds second prizes from the 2013 Rodgers Classical Organ Competition and 2010 Albert Schweitzer Competition. She has performed solo recitals around the United States and in Asia. In late 2013 she was broadcast on New York’s WWFM accompanying the Trinity Choir. Ms. Yieh is featured on a recording Celebrating the Skinner Organ, released by Schott Music.

Gregory Zelek, a native of Miami, Florida, is a fourth-year undergraduate at Juilliard. He was the first-prize winner in the 2012 Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition and the 2012 West Chester University Organ Competition. He also was selected as a 2010 NFAA YoungArts Silver Medal Winner, won first prize as well as the Bach Prize at the East Carolina University Organ Competition, and was a prizewinner in the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival. He is the music intern at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church in Scarsdale, New York, and is the organist for San Pedro Apostol Church in Ramales de la Victoria, Spain. He performed Poulenc’s Organ Concerto with the Miami Symphony Orchestra in 2011 and played Strauss’s Alpine Symphony with the MET Orchestra in Carnegie Hall conducted by Semyon Bychkov. Most recently, Mr. Zelek was the organist in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Faust, and will be performing with the New World Symphony in late March.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 8 PM, Church of St. Mary the Virgin (145 West 46th Street, NYC)

Juilliard Organists in Recital

No tickets are required for this FREE recital. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu/organ2014



REGER Toccata and Fugue, from 12 Organ Pieces, Op. 59, Nos. 5 and 6

Gregory Zelek, organ


PROKOFIEV (arr. Nagem) Music for Children, Op. 65

Raymond Nagem, organ


MENDELSSOHN Sonata No. 6 in D Minor

Janet Yieh, organ


DISTLER Partita on Wachet auf, Op. 8, No. 2

Ryan Kennedy, organ


ELGAR Andante espressivo from Organ Sonata, Op. 28


Colin MacKnight, organ


HAMPTON Selections from Five Dances for Organ

Griffin McMahon, organ


SAINT-SAËNS Fantasie in E-flat Major

David Ball, organ


SHOSTAKOVICH (arr. Hey) Two Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87

Michael Hey, organ