AGO Bestows Highest and Most Prestigous Awards at National Convention

The American Guild of Organists bestowed its two highest awards of national distinction in conjunction with the 52nd biennial AGO National Convention in Boston, Mass. Award presentations were made by AGO President Eileen Guenther during the AGO Annual Meeting.

The AGO President’s Award was presented to Christoph Wolff of Belmont, Mass. The prestigious award, created in 1988, is presented biennially to recognize outstanding contributions to the art of the organ in the United States. The 2014 President’s Award recognized Mr. Wolff “in gratitude for his exhaustive musicological research, extensive publications, and lifelong commitment to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.”

Past recipients of the AGO President’s Award include: Clementine Miller Tangeman, Alice Tully, Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Hulings, Amelia Lay Hodges, J. Michael Barone, Roberta Bitgood, fago, chm, Edward A. Hansen, aago (posthumously awarded), Anthony Baglivi, Craig R. Whitney, Pleasant T. Rowland, Mr. and Mrs. Wesley C. Dudley, Messrs. Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee (posthumously awarded), and Martha Rivers Ingram.

The AGO Edward A. Hansen Leadership Award was presented to Barbara Owen of Newburyport, Mass. Created by the AGO National Council in 1999 to honor the memory of the Guild’s distinguished past president, Edward A. Hansen, aago, the prestigious award is presented biennially to recognize individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the AGO. The 2014 Edward A. Hansen Leadership Award was given to Owen “in recognition of her unparalleled knowledge of the King of Instruments, lifelong scholarship and publications, and devoted service to the AGO.”

Previous Hansen Award recipients include: Karen McFarlane Holtkamp, Ruth M. Caswell, Joyce S. Hesketh, Betty Jean Bartholomew, D. DeWitt Wasson, chm, Marianne Webb, Frederick Swann, and Peter and Lois Fyfe.


Christoph Wolff is Adams University Professor at Harvard University. Born and educated in Germany, he studied organ and historical keyboard instruments, musicology and art history at the Universities of Berlin, Erlangen, and Freiburg, receiving a performance diploma in 1963 and doctorate in 1966. He taught the history of music at Erlangen, Toronto, Princeton, and Columbia Universities before joining the Harvard faculty in 1976 as professor of music, William Powell Mason Professor of Music (1985–2002), and Adams University Professor (2002–present). At Harvard he served as chair of the Music Department (1980–1988, and 1990–91), acting director of the University Library (1991–1992), and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1992–2000).

Recipient of various international prizes and several honorary degrees, Prof. Wolff holds an honorary professorship at the University of Freiburg and memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften. He currently serves as director of the Bach-Archiv in Leipzig and President of the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales.

Prof. Wolff’s writings on the history of music from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries are widely published. His most recent books include: Bach: Essays on His Life and Music (Cambridge, 1991), Mozart’s Requiem (Berkeley, 1994), The New Bach Reader (New York, 1998), and Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician (New York, 2000—translated into eight languages.

Barbara Owen, ChM, holds degrees in organ and musicology from Westminster Choir College and Boston University, and has also studied at the North German Organ Academy and Academy of Italian Organ Music. She is the author of many periodical and anthology articles, entries in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Harvard Dictionary of Music, and several books, including The Organ in New England, E. Power Biggs: Concert Organist, The Registration of Baroque Organ Music, and The Organ Music of Johannes Brahms.

Owen has served the American Guild of Organists as regional councilor, dean of two local chapters, and librarian of the AGO Organ Library at Boston University. She is a founding member and past president and councilor of the Organ Historical Society, and a trustee of Methuen Memorial Music Hall. She is active as an organist, lecturer, and organ consultant

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