Feb. 17, 2011
NEW YORK CITY — The American Guild of Organists (AGO) celebrates with its distinguished member, PAUL JACOBS, winner of the 2011 GRAMMY® Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra). The award was announced at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13, and given in recognition of his CD recording of Olivier Messiaen’s Livre du Saint-Sacrement (Naxos, 2010) made at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in New York City. Messiaen's Livre was commissioned by the AGO for the 1986 AGO National Convention in Detroit. Jacobs’s recording of contemporary classical organ music shared the spotlight with such notable sensations as Lady Gaga, who won three GRAMMYs, herself, in the popular music genre. Paul Jacobs was unable to walk the red carpet to receive the award in person because he is performing with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra this week.
"Jacobs is the first organist ever to receive a prestigious GRAMMY Award for a solo recording," declared AGO Executive Director James Thomashower. "For organists everywhere, the day has been made brighter by the light of Paul’s stunning accomplishment."
"This is indeed an important occurrence for all of us associated with the art of organ playing," added Jacobs. "It has been an ongoing passion of mine to build even a modest bridge from the organ profession to the broader world of music. Young organists must understand that enthusiasm alone—no matter how sincere—is not enough to garner the respect needed to be taken seriously as artists. We must be willing to work tirelessly. We must become wedded to the beauty of great organ music so that it drives us to intense devotion to our art; then we will reap golden rewards."
Hailed for his prodigious technique, vivid interpretive imagination, and charismatic showmanship, PAUL JACOBS is widely acknowledged for reinvigorating the American organ stage with a fresh performance style and "an unbridled joy of music-making" (Baltimore Sun). He has performed the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in nine-hour marathons in eight American cities. Livre du Saint-Sacrement (Book of the Blessed Sacrament) is Messiaen’s last and longest organ work, a thematic cycle based on the sacrament of Communion comprising eighteen movements, many based on the composer’s recorded improvisations, arranged into three thematic groups. Known for his "charismatic showmanship and unflagging exuberance" (Wall Street Journal), Paul Jacobs is chairman of the organ faculty at the Juilliard School and is a frequent featured performer at AGO Regional and National Conventions.
"We are extremely proud of Paul Jacobs, a dedicated and faithful member of the American Guild of Organists," stated AGO President Eileen Guenther. "The AGO is the largest organization in the world devoted to a single musical instrument. Our mission mandates that we ‘promote the organ’ and ‘encourage excellence in the performance of organ music.’ Paul has embraced this mission as one of our youngest advocates, bringing excitement and enthusiasm to all his performances and engaging new audiences with the organ, the King of Instruments."
Celebrating music through the GRAMMY Awards for more than 50 years, the Recording Academy® continues its rich legacy and ongoing growth as the premier outlet for honoring achievements in the recording arts and supporting the music community. The GRAMMYs are the only peer-presented award to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency, and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position.
The AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, it sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes the understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The mission of the AGO is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. The Guild currently serves approximately 19,000 members in more than 300 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The American Organist Magazine, the official journal of the AGO and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers each month.
This information is submitted by F. Anthony Thurman, Director of Development and Communications at the National Headquarters of the American Guild of Organists and The American Organist Magazine. For further information, please contact Dr. Thurman by TEL (212) 870-2310, FAX (212) 870-2163 or E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org.