Upcoming Performances

April 26
8:00 pm Eastern

Collaborative Organist, ASU University Singers, Rosen Concert Hall, Appalachian State University

April 27
3:00 pm Eastern

Guest recitalist, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Kingsport, Tenn.

May 5
4:00 pm Central

Guest recitalist, St. Paul's Cathedral, Des Moines, Iowa

July 18
10:00 am Eastern

Collaborative Organist, Organ/Brass concert, William Adam International Trumpet Festival, Rosen Concert Hall, Appalachian State University

August 25
3:00 pm Eastern

Guest recitalist, Church of the Savior, Newland, N.C.

September 17
8:00 pm Eastern

Faculty recital, Rosen Concert Hall, Appalachian State University

December 13
12:15 pm Eastern

Music at Midday, National City Christian Church, Washington, D.C.

June 21-26, 2020
Worship Organist, Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, Lake Junaluska, N.C.


So, what did you do this summer?


Honestly, I can't remember it all. Better write it down:

May 12: Played for Commencement

-- Continued to serve on the Board for the Friends of Music at St. Mary’s Church in Blowing Rock, N.C.

May 27: Played for a wedding, which is rare for me

June 4: Watched my students perform a splendid studio recital at the chapel at The Citadel, on the 2017 Piccolo Spoleto l’Organo series

June 7: Played a recital in the Hall of Philosophy in Mt. Gretna, Penn.

June 11: Played a recital and Evensong at St. Mary’s Church in Blowing Rock, N.C.

June 12-15: Recorded two more Widor Symphonies at First Presbyterian Church, Houston

June 25-29: Served on the faculty and performed for the Pipe Organ Encounter (Advanced) at the University of Alabama

June 29-August 3: ate, hiked, and performed my way across the south of France. The Pyrenees are breathtaking at 8000 feet.

August 5-11: Attended the Organ Historical Society convention in St. Paul and environs.

August 12: Played for the Salem Presbytery meeting in Statesville, N.C.

August 17-20: Performed on two Viscount organs in the Dothan/Enterprise, Ala., area

August 22: Classes began

Meanwhile, the Widor series continues to chug along. Symphonies II and III and the Suite Latine are up in October on the E.M. Skinner at First Presbyterian in Wilmington, N.C. From there, it’s on to the Aeolian-Skinner in the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, Missouri, in January. Then on to a TBD venue in the Spring, and we’ll be DONE.

Then may I go on summer vacation?


Birthday gigs

My 49th birthday was this past weekend, on March 4. As usual, I was working. But also as usual, I was working on MUSICAL matters, a happy occurrence for someone who was trained in MUSIC. I thought I would list the various ways I have spent a few birthdays:

2017: judge and accompany two students in the annual Hayes Young Artist Competition, which seeks to award $7500 annually, renewable, to an incoming Freshman to the ASU Hayes School of Music;

2016: Lenten recital, Corinth Reformed Church, Hickory, N.C.;

2012: accompany the Brahms Cello Sonata No. 1 with our Tuba (yes, Tuba) professor at ASU.

In other years, I have been on recital trips during my birthday. I celebrated two birthdays -- 30 and 43 -- on recital trips to San Antonio. Mexican food, birthdays, and recitals are a winning combination, almost better than a margarita made in Texas. Can't wait for the next one there.


A Roanoke gig

I'm just back to my hotel after having conducted the Poulenc Concerto and played the chamber version of the Duruflé Requiem. Tidbits:

-- This was at St. John's Episcopal, Roanoke, Va., where my friend David Charles Campbell serves as director of music.

-- His choir and friends made up the chorus, and several members of the Roanoke Symphony and other Virginia musicians were the orchestra.

-- This was my first invited conducting gig.

-- This was the first time I had played the chamber version of the Duruflé. I have lost count the number of times I have played the solo organ version.

-- I'm playing the solo organ version of the Duruflé in two days!

-- I have never played the Poulenc.

-- Up until recently, I had never liked the Poulenc.

-- The Poulenc is a masterpiece.

-- The Duruflé is a major masterpiece and probably my favorite choral piece.

-- I could go on and on. Thank you, Roanoke friends old and new! This was a treat. Back to the grind tomorrow morning.



This rather busy summer 2016 was nicely capped by a studio trip to Washington, DC. Seven of us climbed onto Amtrak on August 4 and made our way from Salisbury, N.C., to Union Station, D.C., where awaited us a week of beautiful organs and lots of delicious food in all corners of the city.

We visited the rather stunning Möller at Capitol Hill United Methodist (Jon Kalbfleisch), the rapturous Schoenstein at St. Paul's K Street (John Bohl), the ever-changing Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner at the National Cathedral (Benjamin Straley), the treasured Austin at First Baptist (Lon Schreiber), the mighty Möller at National City Christian (Michael McMahon), the sumptuous Lively-Fulcher at the Franciscan Monastery, the myriad treasures at the National Shrine (Benjamin LaPrairie and Nathan Davy), and the exquisite Aeolian-Skinner at National Presbyterian (access courtesy David Lang). See lots of photos HERE.

To a person, our church hosts were gracious, welcoming, and most hospitable to allow us to play and play and play as long as we liked. We marveled all week at how UN-gracious organists in many cities can be, but Washington was by far the friendliest town of organists we had ever encountered. Thank you to all of them.

We also enjoyed the hospitality of one student's sister, who was serving an internship in a Senator's office for the year. She took us through the Capitol, where we learned a wonderful amount about that splendid building.

And the FOOD. Where do we begin? Italian, Mexican, Hard Rock, Asian, Tapas, we had it all. Then there was Amtrak food.


AGO Houston recital, June 23, 2016


Greetings from hot, humid Houston, the city of my greatest period of growth as a musician, 1990-2004. I miss it here.

Currently (June 2016), I’m attending the national convention of the American Guild of Organists, during which I’m also playing a recital. Program book limitations prohibited lengthy program notes, but space here on my website is unlimited! The following program notes are provided for attendees' use during the recital and otherwise for the enjoyment of faithful jobybelldotorg readers:



Final, from Six Pièces

César Franck (1822-1890)

A description of Franck’s twelve works for organ solo might include phrases such as ‘harmonically rich,’ ‘serious,’ and ‘grand forms.’ The exception might be the Final, arguably the least complex and most ebullient of the twelve.

The Final makes a fairly traditional excursion through sonata-allegro form. The energetic main theme holds the entire work together with frequent appearances and fanfares:

The piece maintains its lively tempo in the background even while the lyrical second theme is holding forth with its longer note values:

There is a third motive melodically related to the main theme but more often used as a rhythmic undergirding or “glue:”



Partita on “Comfort, comfort ye my people”

Georg Böhm (1661-1733)

Although usually included among the dramatic “third-generation” North Germans, Böhm exhibits substantial French and Italian influence in his writing, with heavy ornamentation and somewhat reserved changes of texture within a piece. As a result, despite their obvious church connections, his chorale partitas seem intended for – or at least better suited to – the harpsichord. The present partita of twelve variants on “Comfort, comfort ye my people” is full of rapid-fire ornaments and considerable filigree work. The twelfth and final variant is sometimes omitted in performance: it is the only one using pedal, and its relative placidness might appear a bit of an afterthought to the grandeur of the eleventh variant. For this performance we will hear all twelve partitas, framed at the beginning and end by J. S. Bach’s harmonization of the chorale. The melody:




The Moonpiper

Ivan Božičević (b. 1961)

Most recitals during an AGO convention include a world premiere. I have the honor of premiering The Moonpiper, the winner of the 2016 AGO/Marilyn Mason Award in Organ Composition, composed by Ivan Božičević of Croatia. The Moonpiper is inspired by the sound of bagpipes and of an irresistible invitation to dance, all within a general minimalistic style. The composer says:

“Bagpipe imitation has a long tradition in Western keyboard music ... [T]he [early] Pastorale was one of my starting points. Another of my interests is the bagpipe folk music of the Balkans, which features livelier dance rhythms than its Western counterparts: 9/8, 11/8, 13/8, or even more complicated uneven meters are common. Although I have used neither rhythmic nor melodic formulas that stem from actual folk music, I hope that the spirit of the country piper summoning everybody out to dance the night away is demonstrably present in my piece ... Listeners will hear the tradition of the 19th-century keyboard toccata with 16th-note perpetuum-mobile. Additionally, there is the contemporary reductionist/minimalist procedure: the whole piece unfolds itself using only one short motif (7/16) and its variation (7/16 + 5/16). The two motifs vary throughout the piece with subtle changes of harmony, mood, and color … The challenge is solid articulation and dance-like rhythmic suppleness of constant 16th-note motion in a fast tempo.”

Here are the rhythmic and melodic "germs" from which the entire piece is built:



Prelude and Fugue in A-flat, Op. 36, No. 2

Marcel Dupré (1886-1971)

One might call the typical prelude and fugue ‘well written,’ ‘structured,’ ‘severe,’ or ‘clever.’ But how often do you get to call it ‘beautiful?’ Dupré’s music often bespeaks a certain dark quality of the high Gothic architecture of Parisian churches and instruments in which much of it was conceived. But in the A-flat Prelude and Fugue, after a fairly dark prelude we are treated to one of the loveliest fugue subjects this organist has ever heard, finished off by a rapturous conclusion. Dupré develops the same musical themes in both prelude and fugue.

Fugue subject 1:

Countersubject 1:


Fugue subject 2: 

Countersubject 2: 


The Prelude is surprisingly contrapuntal, though without relinquishing its status as a true prelude to what follows it. Treatment of the subjects in the Prelude include:







The masterful double fugue follows all the “rules” by working out the two subjects and their attending counter-subjects in turn, then combining all these in several heavy stretto sections. This extraordinary piece is clearly an artistic nod to the genius of Bach, while remaining genuinely beautiful music.