20 under 30 Class of 2016

Stephen Buzard, 27,

was born in Urbana, Illinois, into a family of church musicians—his father is president of the Buzard Organ Company and his mother is organist-choirmaster at the Episcopal Chapel of St. John the Divine. Stephen studied organ with Ken Cowan at Westminster Choir College and served as organ scholar for Trinity Episcopal Church, Princeton, and director of music for the Episcopal Church at Princeton University. He spent a year as senior organ scholar at Wells Cathedral in England. He earned a Master of Music degree from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, studying organ with Thomas Murray and improvisation with Jeffrey Brillhart. He served as organ scholar for Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, and as organist for Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School, and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. Stephen was appointed assistant organist to John Scott at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue in New York City where he accompanied the choir of men and boys and assisted in the training of choristers. Following John Scott’s untimely death in August 2015, Stephen served as acting organist and director of music at St. Thomas Church, alongside his colleague Benjamin Sheen.
Stephen has released a compact disc on the Delos label, In Light or Darkness. He won the 2010 Arthur Poister Competition and the 2009 Joan Lippincott Competition for Excellence in Organ Performance. Stephen plays recitals, leads choral workshops, and accompanies extensively.

 

Alcee Chriss, III, 23,

a native of Dallas, Texas, is a doctoral student in organ at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, where he studies with Hans-Ola Ericsson. He received the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he studied organ with James David Christie, Olivier Latry, and Marie-Louise Langlais, and harpsichord and continuo with Webb Wiggins. He has also studied harpsichord and continuo playing with Hank Knox. In May 2015, he was the harpsichordist for Oberlin’s production of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s opera Les Plaisirs de Versailles at the National Museum of American History and the Boston Early Music Festival. He won first and audience prizes in the Miami Organ Competition (2014), the Albert Schweitzer National Organ Competition and the Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists in 2013, and the Fort Wayne National Organ Competition in 2016, along with second prize in the 2015 Taylor National Organ Competition in Atlanta; he performed as a “Rising Star” at the 2014 national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Boston. Chriss also received a grant from Oberlin’s 1835 fund to spend January 2014 in France studying historic organs and repertoire. In June, he will compete as one of ten finalists in the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition. He has performed in such venues as the Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), John F. Kennedy Center, Washington National Cathedral, Caruth Auditorium, St. Olaf’s Catholic Church in Minneapolis, and at the Festival Myrelingues in Lyon, France. In addition to his organ and harpsichord studies, Alcee Chriss is active as a conductor and jazz pianist.

 

Kipp Cortez, 27,

is the Joseph F. Marsh Endowed Assistant Professor of Music at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia; he teaches studio organ and carillon and oversees the renovation of the 48-bell Marsh Family Carillon and the 1968 Casavant organ. He is using his 2015 Graduate Music Award from the Theodore Presser Foundation to research American composer Frederick Marriott (1901–89), who studied organ with Marcel Dupré and carillon with Jef Denyn. Cortez’s debut CD (in production) features Marriott’s compositions. A carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, Cortez holds the Master of Music in sacred music from the University of Michigan, where he has served as coordinator of carillon, and the Bachelor of Music in church music from Valparaiso University. While serving as acting parish musician for Grace Episcopal Church, Oak Park, Illinois, he conducted performances of Duruflé’s Requiem and Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. Kipp is a doctoral candidate in organ and sacred music at the University of Michigan, where he has studied organ with James Kibbie and Marilyn Mason. His carillon instructors include Dennis Curry of Kirk in the Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

 

Monica Czausz, 22,

is a fourth-year student of Ken Cowan at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas, where she will complete the five-year Bachelor of Music/Master of Music program in organ performance in May 2017. She was appointed cathedral organist at Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal), Houston, Texas in September 2015 following three years serving as cathedral organ scholar. She has received first prize in the 2015 American Guild of Organists Regional Competition for Young Organists (Region VII: Southwest), the 2015 Schweitzer Competition in the Young Professionals’ Division, as well as the 2013 William C. Hall, 2012 L. Cameron Johnson, and 2011 Oklahoma City University competitions.
An increasingly sought-after recitalist, Monica was a featured performer in 2015 at the Organ Historical Society national convention in western Massachusetts, the AGO regional convention in Fort Worth, Texas, and the East Texas Organ Festival in Kilgore, Texas. She will perform at the 2016 national convention of the AGO in Houston, Texas, both as a “Rising Star” and as cathedral organist for Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral. Additionally, she will perform at the 2016 national convention of the Organ Historical Society in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, the 2017 regional convention of the AGO in Dallas, Texas, and the 2017 AGO/Royal Canadian College of Organists regional convention in Montreal. Monica’s performances have been broadcast on WRTI Philadelphia, 91.7 Houston, and KTRU Rice Radio.

 

Trevor Dodd, 27,

a native of Battle Creek, Michigan, is an organbuilder and service technician for John-Paul Buzard Pipe Organ Builders in Champaign, Illinois. From a young age, Trevor has manifested extraordinary interest in and ability to work with pipe organs of all kinds. He acquired and set up two pipe organs in his home before he finished high school. A 2006 E. Power Biggs Fellow of the Organ Historical Society, he studied organ at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, while earning a bachelor’s degree in construction management. During these years, he was an active freelance organ technician with clients in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. He provided restorative services for several pipe organs played at the 2012 national convention of the Organ Historical Society and thoroughly restored an Aeolian-Hammond roll-playing organ that was exhibited as a surprise addition to this convention, the first electronic organ to be exhibited at an OHS convention. Since 2014, he has been a full-time team member of the Buzard firm, where he has successfully completed significant and challenging rebuilding and restoration projects, especially in restoration of vintage electro-pneumatic actions.

 

Joey Fala, 24,

is pursuing a master’s degree in organ at Yale University, studying with Martin Jean. He is a 2015 graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, with bachelor of architecture and master of science in lighting degrees.
A native of Hawaii, he began organ studies with Katherine Crosier at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and later coached with Alfred Fedak and Christian Lane during his undergraduate career. Joey previously served as organist and choir director at First United Presbyterian Church in Troy, New York, and as organ scholar at Central Union Church in Honolulu. A recipient of the Robert T. Anderson Award and a Pogorzelski-Yankee Memorial Scholarship from the American Guild of Organists, Fala was a recitalist for the 2015 national convention of the Organ Historical Society.

 

Thomas Gaynor, 24,

is a Doctor of Musical Arts (and Artist’s Certificate) candidate studying with David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he received a Master of Music degree and the Performer’s Certificate. Assistant director of music at Christ Episcopal Church, Pittsford, he works with a newly established youth chorister program, the adult choir, and with organist David Baskeyfield.
Born in New Zealand, Thomas was Richard Prothero Organ Scholar at Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul and later honorary sub-organist. His teachers included Douglas Mews, Michael Fulcher, and Judith Clark. He later held the Maxwell Fernie Scholarship at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Wellington.
The winner of the Third International Bach-Liszt Organ Competition in Erfurt/Weimar, Germany, Sydney International Organ Competition, and the Fort Wayne National Organ Playing Competition, Gaynor has won prizes in the St. Albans International Organ Competition, the Miami International Organ Competition, and the Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition. In 2015 he was awarded the Dr. James B. Cochran Organ Prize, an annual award to an exceptional Eastman organ student. He recently released his first CD, recorded at Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul, New Zealand. Jamal Rossi, dean of the Eastman School of Music, picked this CD as one of five recent recordings that best represent the current Eastman School sound.

 

Wesley Hall, 26,

is a graduate of the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, where he studied organ with Martin Jean and harpsichord with Arthur Haas. He holds both a master’s degree in historical performance and a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from the Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied organ with James David Christie and harpsichord with Webb Wiggins. He has had advanced studies in improvisation with Marie-Louise Langlais and Dutch organist Sietze de Vries. Wesley has concertized in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and was the first freshman chosen to represent the organ department at the Oberlin Danenberg Honors Recital in 2009.
An active chamber musician, he has been a featured soloist and continuo player with such ensembles as Burning River Baroque, Three Notch’d Road, Credo, the Oberlin Baroque Orchestra, and Emmanuel Music in Boston. Wesley recently completed his tenure as organ scholar at Trinity Church on the Green in New Haven, Connecticut, and serves as the minister of music at the First Baptist Church of Worcester, Massachusetts.

 

Michael T. C. Hey, 25,

a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, graduated in 2014 from the Juilliard School in New York City, completing accelerated five-year bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organ performance, studying with Paul Jacobs. Within one year of his graduation, Michael joined the Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists roster.
He is assistant director of music for St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, where he was one of two organists who played for Masses celebrated by His Holiness, Pope Francis, during his 2015 visit to New York at St. Patrick and at Madison Square Garden. Michael has performed multiple organ concertos at Lincoln Center with the Juilliard Orchestra and New York City Ballet, has played organ twice with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, has had numerous solo performances at AGO and NPM conventions, and has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Kimmel Center, and the Esplanade (Singapore).

 

Amanda Mole, 29,

is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in organ performance at the Eastman School of Music, where she studies with David Higgs. She earned her bachelor of music degree in organ performance with honors from Eastman, studying with William Porter, and a master of music degree from Yale University studying with Martin Jean. Prior to Eastman, Amanda studied with Larry Schipull and Patricia Snyder.
The first-place and audience prize winner of the 2016 Miami International Organ Competition, winner of the 2014 Arthur Poister Organ Competition and 2014 John Rodland Memorial Organ Competition, and the 2014 Peter B. Knock Award, she was a finalist in the 2015 Bach-Liszt International Organ Competition and a semifinalist in the 2014 Dublin International Organ Competition, and has been featured several times on the radio show Pipedreams LIVE!. Last year, she was a featured performer at the New Haven Regional AGO Convention. This year, Amanda will perform at the OHS Convention in Philadelphia.
Amanda Mole serves as director of music at St. Michael’s Church in Rochester, New York, and at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Webster, New York, where she directs the adult choirs and the handbell choir. Amanda also sings in the Schola Cantorum of Christ Church, Rochester.

 

Adam Pajan, 29,

completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, in 2014, as a student of John Schwandt. There he teaches courses at several levels in organ construction, history, and design, as well as teaching students in organ performance. He earned the Master of Music degree from the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, studying with Martin Jean and Thomas Murray, and earned his undergraduate degree from Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina, studying with Charles Tompkins. Pajan won the Firmin Swinnen Prize in the 2013 Longwood Gardens International Competition, as well as first prizes in the Albert Schweitzer Competition, the Arthur Poister Competition, and the Clarence Mader Competition.
Adam Pajan’s playing has been heard at conventions of the American Institute of Organbuilders, the Organ Historical Society, and the American Guild of Organists, and he has performed across the United States and in Germany, playing in the cathedrals of Mainz, Magdeburg, Fulda, and Altenberg and other historical churches. He will return in 2016 for a subsequent tour beginning at the Jesuitenkirche in Vienna. An enthusiastic church musician, he serves as organist and choir director at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Norman, Oklahoma, and was recently appointed as artistic director and conductor of the Oklahoma Master Chorale.

 

Nathaniel A. Riggle, 27,

is a freelance pipe organ builder based in Portland, Oregon. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music history and literature from the Dana School of Music of Youngstown State University, where he studied piano with Caroline Oltmanns and organ with Daniel Laginya. Originally hailing from Warren, Ohio, Nathaniel’s first experience with pipe organ building was with the A. Thompson-Allen Company’s restoration of Skinner Organ Company’s Opus 582 (1926) at Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown, Ohio, completed in 2011. Under the guidance of Nicholas Thompson-Allen, Nathaniel learned about the design of twentieth-century American Romantic orchestral organbuilding, as well as museum-quality conservation and restoration techniques.
He subsequently worked under Charles Kegg of Kegg Pipe Organ Builders, and most recently, as general manager of Bond Organ Builders, Inc., in Portland, Oregon, working under the guidance of Richard Bond. Nathaniel is a member of the American Institute of Organbuilders. He resides in Lake Oswego, Oregon, with his wife, Emma Mildred, an active organist, teacher, and conductor.

 

Caroline Robinson, 24,

serves as assistant organist at Rochester’s Third Presbyterian Church, working with Peter DuBois. A graduate of the Curtis Institute as a student of Alan Morrison, she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in organ performance and literature at the Eastman School of Music, studying with David Higgs, and serving as executive assistant for outreach within the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI).
Caroline will return to Eastman in the fall to pursue the doctorate of musical arts. (Caroline began her organ studies with another member of the Class of 2016, Adam Pajan.) She has performed as a featured soloist with the Kansas City Symphony in addition to giving solo performances at the Kauffman Center, the Kimmel Center, and numerous churches around the country.
Caroline is a first-prize winner of the Schweitzer Competition and the West Chester University Competition, and a winner of a Fulbright Grant for continuing studies in Toulouse, where she studied with Michel Bouvard, Jan Willem Jansen, and Yasuko Uyama Bouvard. In 2015 she performed at the East Texas Pipe Organ Festival, the American Guild of Organists Region III convention, and the Organ Historical Society convention, for which she will perform again in 2016. She was part of a national Pipedreams broadcast in 2007 at Interlochen and in another Pipedreams program devoted to winners of the 2008 Albert Schweitzer Competition.

 

Jonathan Rudy, 27,

originally from Batavia, Illinois, is a candidate for the Doctor of Music degree in organ and sacred music from the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, where he earned his Master of Music degree, studying organ with Janette Fishell and choral conducting with William Gray and Richard Tangyuk. His undergraduate study was at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, studying organ and sacred music with Lorraine Brugh and Karel Paukert. He has served as conductor for the Valparaiso University Men’s Chorus, the AGO Bloomington Choralfest Ensemble, and the choral and instrumental ensembles at his church positions. He is presently music director for the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Cookeville, Tennessee, and has served as organist at Central Presbyterian Church, Terre Haute, Indiana, and as associate instructor of music theory and aural skills at Indiana University.
Jonathan won first and audience prizes for the American Guild of Organists’ National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2014. He was also a finalist in the National Organ Playing Competition in Fort Wayne, and was awarded second prize in the Regional Competition for Young Organists (Quimby Competition) in 2011. He will perform at the AGO national convention in Houston this June. He has released a compact disc, Three Halls, on the Pro Organo label. Jonathan’s recital engagements are managed by Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc.

 

Patrick A. Scott, 29,

is assistant organist-choirmaster at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, Georgia, where he plays for services and Evensongs, accompanies the Cathedral Choir and Schola, and leads a chorister program under the standards of the Royal School of Church Music. In 2014, Patrick won the first and audience prizes in the American Guild of Organists’ National Competition in Organ Improvisation in Boston, Massachusetts. A native of Picayune, Mississippi, he holds a bachelor of music degree in organ performance from Birmingham-Southern College where he studied with James Cook. As a student of Judith and Gerre Hancock, Patrick earned both a master of music and a doctor of musical arts in organ performance and sacred music from the University of Texas at Austin. He has presented recitals, workshops, hymn festivals, and masterclasses for chapters and conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society. An active recitalist and accompanist,Patrick Scott has appeared in concert and with choirs throughout the United States, France, Scotland, England, and Ireland. He has previously served churches in North Carolina, Texas, and Alabama.

 

Thomas Sheehan, 27,

is the associate university organist and choirmaster in the Memorial Church of Harvard University. Prior to this position, Sheehan served on the music staff of St. Mark’s Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Trinity Church in Princeton, New Jersey. Tom is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received diplomas in organ and harpsichord, studying with Alan Morrison and Leon Schelhase. While at Curtis he served as assistant organist to Peter Richard Conte on the Wanamaker Organ.
He received both the Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, as a student of Ken Cowan. He has also studied improvisation with Matthew Glandorf, Ford Lallerstedt, and Bruce Neswick. In 2009 he was awarded first prize in both the Arthur Poister National Competition in Organ Playing and the AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for the Mid-Atlantic Region (Region III). In July 2010, Tom was a performer at the American Guild of Organists national convention in Washington, D. C. He has performed as an organist throughout the United States and in Europe. He served as accompanist (rehearsal and concert) for Singing City under Jeffrey Brillhart for three years and as a rehearsal accompanist/harpsichordist for Choral Arts and the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, and served as Alan Morrison’s assistant at the Philadelphia Young Artist Organ Camp, which is now in its eleventh year.

 

Wyatt Smith, 25,

born in Rapid City, South Dakota, completed a Bachelor of Music degree magna cum laude at the University of South Dakota, studying organ with Larry Schou. In 2015, he earned the Master of Music degree in organ performance from the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University, where he studied with Martin Jean. Wyatt is currently a doctoral student at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he studies with Carole Terry. He serves as principal organist for Calvary Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Washington.
Wyatt has been an exceptionally prolific performer, especially for someone his age, with hundreds of performances past and on his busy calendar for the future. He performed as a “Rising Star” at the 2012 national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Nashville, Tennessee. He is also committed to commissioning and performing new compositions, including the work of David Cherwien, Carson Cooman, Emma Lou Diemer, and Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra, among others. He frequently performs in partnership with mezzo-soprano Tracelyn Gesteland, his former voice professor, with whom he has recorded a soon-to-be-released compact disc, Make a Joyful Noise.

 

Jacob Street, 28,

is a graduate of Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude. He received the Master of Music degree in Historical Performance from Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied organ and harpsichord under James David Christie, Webb Wiggins, and Olivier Latry. He is now pursuing a Master of Music degree at the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University, where he studies with Thomas Murray and Arthur Haas.
In 2013 and 2014, Street studied in Lübeck, Germany, under a Fulbright scholarship, taking lessons on the many historical instruments there and giving recitals throughout northern Germany. A prizewinner in multiple international competitions, Jacob most recently won the Prix de la ville d’Angers in the Jean-Louis Florentz International Organ Competition. He was awarded second prize in the 2012 Dieterich Buxtehude International Organ Competition in Lübeck. In 2010, he performed as a “Rising Star” in the American Guild of Organists national convention.
He was recently appointed director of music at St. Paul’s on the Green, Norwalk, Connecticut. He is also artistic director for les soûls d’amour, ensemble in residence at Seabury Academy of Music and the Arts, Norwalk, a lively early music ensemble of singers, strings, and hurdy-gurdy. He is a frequent contributor to The American Organist magazine, interviewing young rising stars in the organ world. As a music critic, he won the inaugural Rubin Prize for Music Criticism while at Oberlin in 2012.

 

David von Behren, 21,

is the first organist to receive Cleveland Institute of Music’s (CIM) prestigious Darius Milhaud Award, given each year to a student “who displays qualities of unusual talent and creativity, sensitivity, expressiveness, strong love for and dedication to the musical arts, outstanding musical accomplishment, and evidence of academic excellence.” A native of Falls City, Nebraska, David is an organ performance/music theory double major, studying with Todd Wilson at CIM. An accomplished violinist, he served as assistant concertmaster in the New York Summer Music Festival Chamber Orchestra. As a pianist, he won first prize in the 2011 Nebraska Federation of Music Clubs Piano Competition in Omaha and other awards. He currently serves as music intern at Plymouth Church, United Church of Christ in Shaker Heights, Ohio, working with James Riggs. A winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award on National Public Radio’s (NPR) From the Top, in 2013 David began the “Little Stars Summer Program,” a music program for children ages 3–6, in association with NPR’s From the Top and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
David has performed with the CIM orchestra at Kulas Hall and Severance Hall, and at the Oregon Bach Festival, collaborated with Grammy-winning clarinetist Franklin Cohen at the Cleveland ChamberFest Verve Gala, and joined the Harvard Organ Society tour of France and the Netherlands. The winner of the Tuesday Music Association Organ Competition in Akron, Ohio, the Henry Fusner prize for outstanding achievement in the CIM Organ Department, and the M. Louise Miller National Organ Scholarship, he holds the American Guild of Organists Colleague certificate. His website is www.davidvonbehren.com.

 

Gregory Zelek, 24,

is the first and only organist to receive Juilliard’s prestigious Kovner Fellowship, which is awarded to students whose qualifications include a “personal capacity for intellectual curiosity, commitment to the value of art in society, and potential for leadership in the field.” A native of Miami, Florida, Zelek is a graduate organ student of Paul Jacobs at the Juilliard School, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree. He will be pursuing an Artist Diploma at Juilliard in the fall of 2016. He has won first prize in numerous competitions and regularly concertizes throughout the United States.
Greg performed Poulenc’s Organ Concerto with the Miami Symphony Orchestra in 2011 and played Strauss’s Alpine Symphony, with both the Juilliard and the MET orchestras, in Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall, respectively, in 2012. He was also the organist for five performances of the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Faust, and performed with the New World Symphony in 2014. He is the music director and organist at the Episcopal Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy in New York City and served as organ scholar at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church in Scarsdale, New York, for four years.

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