Martin Schmeding

Martin Schmeding

was born in 1975 and studied church music, music education, recorder and organ, choir and orchestra conducting, harpsichord, and music theory in Hannover, Amsterdam and Düsseldorf. Among his teachers are Ulrich Bremsteller, Lajos Rovatkay, Hans van Nieuwkoop, Jacques van Oortmerssen and Jean Boyer. He was a prizewinner in many competitions, among them the Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Berlin, the Pachelbel in Nuremberg, the German music competition in Berlin/Bonn, the European competition for young organists in Ljubljana/Slovenia, and the Musica antiqua in Bruges/Belgium. Martin Schmeding was choir director and organist of the Nazareth Church in Hanover, worked at the Neander Church in Düsseldorf ansd was titular organist of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden from 2002 until 2004. He has taught as professor of organ at the University of Music in Freiburg from 2004 to 2016, where he was also the chair of the church-music and organ department. Since 2016 he is professor for artistic organ playing at the University of Music and Theatre Leipzig and artistic director oft he European Organ Academy Leipzig. 2017 Martin Schmeding was awarded "Professor of the Year", since 2018 he is visiting professor at the Royal Conservatoire Birmingham.
Martin Schmeding has made numerous radio and CD recordings, among them the complete organ music of F. Schmidt, J. Brahms, F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy, as well as the first recordings on a period instrument of the complete music for pedal piano by Robert Schumann and of the organ version of the Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach on a baroque instrument. He has written for many publications and has given concerts as a soloist, chamber musician and with orchestras all over the world. Martin Schmeding is also active as a guest-lecturer at master-classes, publishes articles and music editions for important magazines and publishers. Engagements as a juror at competitions, conductor and composer complete his artistic career.

www.martin-schmeding.de

Henry Fairs

Henry FairsHenry Fairs

British organist, Henry Fairs combines positions at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Universities of Birmingham and St Andrews (UK) with a busy recital career. He has won ten prizes in international organ competitions, including the Prix Maurice Duruflé, Chartres; Concerto Gold Medal, Paris; First Prize & Special Prize, Odense. Henry has appeared in festivals throughout Europe and in North America, Canada, Russia and Japan, performing solo recitals, broadcasts and concertos on both historic and modern instruments. He is regularly invited to serve as a jury member (Odense and Wadden Sea competitions, Denmark; Silbermann Wettbewerb, Germany), examiner, guest tutor and speaker.

Born in Hereford, England, in 1976, Henry received his earliest musical training as a chorister at Leominster Priory and studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he graduated with First Class Honours and made postgraduate studies in Paris, Cologne and Vienna. He enjoys playing and teaching a broad, eclectic repertory: currently with a strong focus on the organ output of J. S. Bach and the chorale fantasias of Max Reger. In addition, he has in recent years been occupied with the performance of 19th- and 20th-century music, including complete performances of organ music by Jehan Alain (2011), Liszt (2011), Reubke, Olivier Messiaen (2008) and Maurice Duruflé.

www.henryfairs.com

Andrés Cea Galán

Andrés Cea GalánAndrés Cea Galán

is interested in musical performance using early instruments, including organ, clavichord and harpsichord. After completing studies in Spain, he attended Jean Boyer’s organ class in Lille (France) and also studied with Jean-Claude Zehnder at the Schola Cantorum Basilienis (Switzerland).

He is equally interested in musicological research, especially on keyboard music as well as on the history, technics and aesthetics of the organ, especially in Spain. His articles and books on these subjects are being considered valuable contributions at the knowledge of Hispanic organ culture. He has completed his doctorate in musicology at Madrid Complutense University with a dissertation on Spanish tablatures. As a music editor, he has published Francisco Fernandez Palero’s keyboard music, Sebastian Raval’s ricercari and organ pieces by Juan Cabanilles.

As a soloist, he has made various recordings for radio and several CDs. As a result of his updated approach to the performance, especially of Spanish keyboard music, he is frequently invited both for playing and teaching in Spain as well as all over Europe, México, South-America and Japan.

He worked as an organbuilder too, at Gerhard Grenzing’s workshop in Barcelona, being now reclaimed as an organ adviser by several cultural institutions in Spain. He is teaching at Conservatorio Superior de Música de Seville (Spain) and is also the director of the Instituto del Órgano Hispano.

Paul Jacobs

Paul JacobsPaul Jacobs (c) Daniel Ficarri

The only organist ever to have won a Grammy Award (in 2011 for Messiaen’s towering “Livre du Saint-Sacrement”), Paul Jacobs made musical history at age 23 when he played Bach’s complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon performance on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. Since this time, Mr. Jacobs has become one of the most visible champions of the organ in the United States and abroad, being heralded by The Economist as "America's leading organ performer“. Internationally, he has performed on five continents, both in solo recital and with orchestra, including a recent tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra to concert halls in Brussels, Luxembourg, and Hamburg.  Paul Jacobs joined 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.

Thomas Lennartz

Thomas LennartzThomas Lennartz

is professor for organ improvisation at University of Music and Theatre Leipzig and head of church music studies.

Born 1971 in Hanover, Lennartz studied church music, organ and organ improvisation in Hanover, Cologne, Leipzig and Paris and graduated from the soloist class with distinction and with the A-Diploma in church music. Important teachers were Ullrich Bremsteller, Arvid Gast, Volker Bräutigam, Thierry Escaich and Loïc Mallié, in masterclasses he also worked with Daniel Roth, Olivier Latry, Wolfgang Seifen, Ton Koopman and others.

Thomas Lennartz received a scholarship of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and was a prize-winner in a number of international competitions for organ improvisation including St. Albans / England, Saarbrücken „Orgues sans frontières“ and Schwäbisch Gmünd.

From 2003 to 2008 Lennartz worked as a church musician in Bingen am Rhein. In 2008 he was appointed as cathedral organist in Dresden (former „Hofkirche“) with the famous Gottfried Silbermann Organ. In 2014 he became professor in Leipzig.

Thomas Lennartz enjoys playing concerts in Germany, various countries of Europe, the USA and Japan. He is regularly invited to give masterclasses.

Michael Schönheit

Michael SchönheitMichael Schönheit

studied organ, piano and conducting at the University of Music and Theatre Leipzig. In 1984 he was a prize winner at the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig. In 1986 Michael Schönheit was appointed Gewandhausorganist. In 1998 he founded the period instrument ensemble Merseburger Hofmusik.

Michael Schönheit has been Artistic Director of the Merseburg Organ Festival since 1994, assuming the additional role of Merseburg Cathedral Organist in 1996. He is regularly active as a jury member at international organ competitions.

Michael Schönheit is in great demand as soloist the world over, appearing across Europe, the USA and Japan. He has performed with orchestras such as the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Munich Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic, to name but a few. Michael Schönheit has also made a name for himself as one of the world's leading exponents of the fortepiano. Countless radio and television broadcasts, as well as a substantial discography, document Michael Schönheit's diverse musical activities.

Ben van Oosten

Ben van OostenBen van Oosten

was born in The Hague in 1955. He studied organ and piano at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam and in Paris. Since 1970 his numerous highly successful concert tours have taken Ben van Oosten to the foremost international organ venues, where he has emerged as one of the most remarkable organ virtuosos of our time. In addition to his concert career he gives organ masterclasses in many countries and is Professor of Organ at Rotterdam Conservatory.

Ben van Oosten has dedicated himself exhaustively to French symphonic organ music. His recordings of the eight organ sonatas of Alexandre Guilmant and the complete organ works of César Franck, Camille Saint-Saëns, Louis Vierne, Charles-Marie Widor and Marcel Dupré have been awarded many international prizes (including the Echo Klassik, Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Choc du Monde de la Musique and Diapason d’Or). He is also author of the comprehensive Widor biography, Charles-Marie Widor – Vater der Orgelsymphonie (Charles-Marie Widor – Father of The Organ Symphony).

Because of his services to French organ culture Ben van Oosten was honoured on three occasions by the Société Académique Arts, Sciences, Lettres in Paris. The French government created him Chevalier (1998) and Officier (2011) dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 2010 H.M. the Queen of The Netherlands appointed him Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

Ben van Oosten is Titular Organist of the Grote Kerk in The Hague and Artistic Director of the international organ festival that takes place annually in this church.

Masaaki Suzuki

Masaaki SuzukiMasaaki Suzuki (c) Marco Borggreve

Since founding Bach Collegium Japan in 1990, Masaaki Suzuki has established himself as a leading authority on the works of Bach. He has remained their Music Director ever since, taking them regularly to major venues and festivals in Europe and the USA and building up an outstanding reputation for the expressive refinement and truth of his performances.

In addition to working with renowned period ensembles, such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Philharmonia Baroque, he is invited to conduct repertoire as diverse as Brahms, Britten, Fauré, Mahler, Mendelssohn and Stravinsky, with orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra or Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Masaaki Suzuki combines his conducting career with his work as organist and harpsichordist. 

Suzuki’s impressive discography, featuring all Bach’s major choral works as well as complete works for harpsichord, has brought him many critical plaudits. 2014 marked the triumphant conclusion of Bach Collegium Japan's epic recording of the complete Church Cantatas initiated in 1995 and comprising fifty-five volumes.

In 2012 Suzuki was awarded with the Leipzig Bach Medal and in 2013 the Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize. In 2001, he was decorated with “Das Verdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik“ from Germany. 

Hans Fagius

Hans FagiusHans Fagius (c) Henrik Tobin

(born 1951) has for many years been one of the most active organ recitalists in Sweden. He received his basic education with Bengt Berg and at the Stockholm Academy of Music with Professor Alf Linder. In 1974-75 he continued his studies in Paris with Maurice Duruflé. Besides the many recitals he regularly plays in Europe, he has toured North and South America, Australia, South Korea and Japan.
Hans Fagius is well known for numerous recordings: the complete organ works of J. S. Bach, but also a broad spectrum of music from the romantic period like Mendelssohn, Liszt, Reubke, Widor, Saint-Saëns, Karg-Elert or Duruflé. 2010 a book about the organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach was published by Bo Ejeby förlag and in 2015 a comprehensive pedagogical edition of some works by Bach was issued on Gehrmans Musikförlag.
Hans Fagius is since 1989 organ professor at Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and before had served for several years as organ teacher at the Academies of Music in Stockholm and Gothenburg. He is active as recitalist, is a sought after teacher for masterclasses and frequently is a jury member at international organ competitions. 1998 he was elected a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music.