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Paul Jacobs
Born 1977
Washington, Pennsylvania
Genres Classical music
Occupation(s) Organist
Instruments Organ
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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74 news items

New York Times

New York Times
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:06:19 -0700

Paul Jacobs playing the Holtkamp pipe organ in a concert of Bach and Max Reger at the Juilliard School. Credit Ruby Washington/The New York Times. The program notes might have scared anyone away. Max Reger is “frequently described as one of the ...

WABE 90.1 FM

WABE 90.1 FM
Fri, 09 Oct 2015 13:37:30 -0700

Paul Jacobs, organist, will be in concert Saturday to help kick off the 25th season of Spivey Hall. Credit Courtesy of Hemsing Associates. Soprano Christine Brewer and organist Paul Jacobs are the featured performers for a program that includes Bach ...


Fri, 17 Apr 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Paul Jacobs first caught the attention of San Francisco music-lovers in 2002 when he performed the entire organ compositions of Olivier Messiaen in a single nine-hour marathon. Mr. Jacobs makes his San Francisco Symphony debut in four performances of ...

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Sun, 06 May 2012 21:06:41 -0700

Paul Jacobs Organist Paul Jacobs performed Sunday at Heinz Chapel, sponsored by PSO as part. PSO. Organist Paul Jacobs performed Sunday at Heinz Chapel, sponsored by PSO as part of the Paris Festival. By Andrew Druckenbrod Pittsburgh Post- ...

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Mon, 14 Feb 2011 21:50:22 -0800

Paul Jacobs Organist Paul Jacobs joined the ranks of Grammy winners such as Lady Gaga and. Organist Paul Jacobs joined the ranks of Grammy winners such as Lady Gaga and Lady Antebellum Sunday night. By Andrew Druckenbrod Pittsburgh Post- ...

New York Times

New York Times
Fri, 12 Dec 2014 09:23:37 -0800

The Choir of Trinity Wall Street at a performance last year of “Messiah.” The choir will be joined by a baroque orchestra for its performance on Wednesday at Trinity Church. Credit Leah Reddy/Trinity Wall Street. A sampling of holiday presentations at ...

Aiken Standard

Aiken Standard
Sat, 09 Mar 2013 20:22:36 -0800

... and cellist Patrick McGuire, will perform for free at St. Mary's Help of Christians Catholic Church. At 6 p.m., Paul Jacobs, organist and Juilliard School's organ department chair, will headline “The Sublime Program” for free at St. Thaddeus ...
New York Times
Thu, 29 Mar 2012 14:54:21 -0700

A sampling of noteworthy musical presentations planned for the holiday season at churches and other sites in New York, from Friday through Easter Sunday, compiled by Anne Mancuso. All are free unless otherwise noted. (Churches accept donations.

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