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Paul Jacobs
Paul Jacobs
Background information
Born 1977
Washington, Pennsylvania
Genres Classical music
Occupation(s) Organist
Labels Naxos and JAV Recordings
Website pauljacobsorgan.com

Paul Jacobs (born 1977) is an American organist. He is the first organist to receive a Grammy Award. Jacobs is currently the chair of the Juilliard School's organ department.

Paul Jacobs began piano lessons at age five and organ lessons at age 12 in his hometown of Washington, Pennsylvania. At age 15 he was appointed head organist of Immaculate Conception Church, a parish of over 3,500 families.[1] Jacobs then attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, double-majoring in organ (with John Weaver) and harpsichord (with Lionel Party),[2] while serving as organist at the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge National Historical Park. During his final semester as an undergraduate student, he performed the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach several times, including once in an 18-hour non-stop marathon concert in Pittsburgh on the 250th anniversary of the composer's death (July 28, 2000).[3] Jacobs completed a master's degree from the Yale School of Music, studying organ with Thomas Murray.[4] Jacobs has performed the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in eight American cities since 2002, each time in a nine-hour marathon concert.[5]

In 2003 Jacobs was invited to join the faculty of the Juilliard School and the following year, was named chairman of its organ department, making him one of the youngest faculty appointments in the school's history.[1] Winning accolades and awareness for the pipe organ from both critics and audiences alike, Jacobs has performed on five continents, and by the age of 32 performed in each of the 50 United States. His repertoire includes music from the 16th century through contemporary times, including new works written for him. He has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, and the Pacific Symphony.

Jacobs is known for playing demanding programs exclusively from memory. He has memorized the complete works of Olivier Messiaen, as well as the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, and César Franck.[1]

In addition to numerous awards and honors, Jacobs was the first organist to be given the Harvard Musical Association's Arthur W. Foote Award in 2004. He received the Yale School of Music's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005, and in 2007 he was awarded the William Schuman Scholars Chair at the Juilliard School.

He won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra) at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011 for his recording of Messiaen: Livre Du Saint-Sacrement.[6]

An advocate for new music, Jacobs has premiered works by Mason Bates, Michael Daugherty, Christopher Theofanidis, Samuel Adler, and Wayne Oquin.[1][7][8]


  • Paul Jacobs plays Bach an unedited release JAV 145
  • Messiaen: Livre Du Sacrement
  • Ives: A Concord Symphony & Copland: Organ Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
  • "American Mavericks: Lou Harrison Organ Concerto", San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor[9]
  • Michael Daugherty: "The Gospel According to Sister Aimee," Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Carl St. Clair, conductor
  • Divine Redeemer, Christine Brewer, soprano. Released September 2015.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d Scherer, Barrymore Laurence (21 March 2012). "Great Music Needs No Apology". The Wall Street Journal. p. D7. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Whitney, Craig (18 April 2004). "The Organ as an Extreme Sport". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Davidson, Justin (14 October 2007). "Vital Organist". New York Magazine. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Robinson, Joyce Johnson (February 2006). "Challenging the culture: A conversation with Paul Jacobs". The Diapson 97 (2). Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Ferko, Frank (April 2002). "An Extraordinary Musical Odyssey: Paul Jacobs’ Messiaen Marathon". The Diapason 93 (4). Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Druckenbrod, Andrew (15 February 2011). "Washington, Pa., native Paul Jacobs wins Grammy for pipe organ recording". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Lawrence, Michael (30 July 2008). "Paul Jacobs to Perform Unpublished Work of Samuel Barber in Philadelphia". New Liturgical Movement. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  8. ^ Mangan, Timothy (24 February 2012). "Pacific Symphony plays Daugherty, Tchaikovsky". Orange County Register. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "San Francisco Symphony Website". Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  10. ^ "Classical Playlist: Ornstein, Foss, ‘Divine Redeemer’ and More". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Jacobs_(organist) — Please support Wikipedia.
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Paul Jacobs "On The Bench with Dr. Carol"

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Bach "Sinfonia" from "Cantata No. 29" Paul Jacobs, organist

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Paul Jacobs' Perspectives on the Hazel Wright Organ

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Organist Paul Jacobs on Bach and the Pipe Organ

As part of WQXR's Bach 360 festival — http://www.wqxr.org/Bach360 — we visited with Paul Jacobs, chair of the organ department at The Juilliard School.

Paul Jacobs at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

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MTT and Paul Jacobs on Lou Harrison's Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra

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Paul Jacobs talks about Bach's "Clavierübung III" for the White Light Festival, Lincoln Center

www.whitelightfestival.org www.lincolncenter.org Organist Paul Jacobs talks about his performance of J.S. Bach's "Clavierübung III" as part of Lincoln Center's ...

Crystal Cathedral, Paul Jacobs, Bach Symphonia Cantata 29 - Ruffatti organs - Italy

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