[Joby Bell] knows how to communicate with his audience, and he plays with fire and passion.
-- James David Christie
JOBY BELL brings to his performances a contagious affability and a keen sensitivity to an audience’s increased appreciation for organ music. His recital programming demonstrates a varied and interesting repertoire, always enhanced by illuminating program notes designed to embrace all audiences. His acclaimed blog deals with a comprehensive range of organ-related topics including teaching philosophies, recital preparation, church music, and professional concerns.
In 2000 he garnered Second Prize and the Audience Prize in the American Guild of Organists National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance. Since 2004, he has served on the faculty of the Hayes School of Music, Appalachian State University, where he teaches organ and church music studies. His teaching specializes in practice techniques, memorization, service playing, choral accompanying, and maintaining grace under pressure – lessons always best taught by example.
He is featured on several recordings. His latest, Sonatas and Variations, features large works by Jongen, Brahms, and Reubke, recorded on the Fritts organ at St. Philip Presbyterian, Houston, and available on the Centaur label. Music City Mixture is recorded on mechanical-action organs of Nashville. Live Performances is a compilation of works played live at Appalachian State University, Rice University, Houston Baptist University, and the Washington National Cathedral. Joby is also featured on let the rain kiss you, a collaborative project with Augusta, Ga.-based soprano Melissa Givens. Upcoming recording projects include Hindemith Sonatas, Tournemire Improvisations, French Classic Noëls, Dupré Preludes and Fugues, and the complete Widor Symphonies.
Born in 1968, Joby Bell attended high school at the [University of] North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studied piano with Marian Hahn and Robert McDonald. He earned the Bachelor of Music degree in organ and piano from Appalachian State University and the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in organ from Rice University. His teachers include H. Max Smith and Clyde Holloway, organ, and Rodney Reynerson and Allen Kindt, piano. His church positions have included St. John the Divine (Houston), St. Philip Presbyterian (Houston), First Presbyterian (Houston), First Presbyterian Lenoir, N.C., and First Presbyerian Statesville, N.C. Beginning in May 2017 he will serve as organist at St. Luke's Episcopal in Boone, N.C.