ADAM J. BRAKEL
The spell-binding performances of concert organist Adam J. Brakel have led to his being compared to Liszt, Gould, Bernstein, and Paganini — proving that true musical prodigies continue to exist in the 21st century. National Public Radio in Florida hailed him as “An absolute organ prodigy, with the technique and virtuosity that most concert pianists could only dream of, and having the potential to be the leading organist of his generation. He is the Franz Liszt of the organ.” The Chicago Tribune proclaimed Brakel as "One of the most talented organists in the world." A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, Adam J. Brakel has embarked on a highly successful concert career, playing from coast to coast in the United States, and in concert tours in England, Germany, and Hong Kong. Dame Gillian Weir, one of the foremost organists in the world, said of Brakel, “He is to be commended for his devotion to the art of performance and to music itself.” Brakel’s repertoire of organ literature is extensive and includes the entire spectrum of styles including the complete organ works of Bach, Bruhns, Buxtehude, Couperin, Liszt, de Grigny, Franck, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Duruflé – truly laudable for such a young performer. In addition to works of all periods, from 2010 through the present career highlights include performances of the complete works of César Franck and, more notably, the fiendishly difficult Six Etudes of Jeanne Demessieux, being one of very few concert organists in the world to perform and record the entire set. Mr. Brakel has also made a concentrated study of jazz music for the pipe organ and has premiered jazz pianist Dick Hyman's Shenandoah arranged for organ by Brakel, and the USA premier of Millennial Countdown at the request of Mr. Hyman, considered one of the best jazz pianists of this era.
Adam Brakel's recital career was launched after being awarded an American Guild of Organists scholarship as a high school junior. He then enrolled at Duquesne University where he studied organ with John Walker and David Craighead and harpsichord with Rebecca Rollett. While at Duquesne he was appointed Associate Organist at Saint Paul Roman Catholic Cathedral in Pittsburgh where he was featured weekly on television broadcasts throughout western Pennsylvania. He graduated from Duquesne University magna cum laude in 2006 and was accorded the André Marchal Award for Excellence in Performance. He then enrolled at The Juilliard School in New York City, receiving the John Dexter Bush Scholarship and the Alice Tully Award. In addition to his studies, Mr. Brakel was appointed Assistant Organist at the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue and was featured in solo recitals at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Central Synagogue among other Manhattan venues. In autumn 2007, Adam enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore where he completed his master’s degree and was then awarded the Graduate Performance Diploma in 2011. At Peabody, he studied with Donald Sutherland and visiting guest professor, Dame Gillian Weir. During this time, he also served as assisting organist at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Further studies in Toulouse, France resulted in his being presented with the prestigious “Oundle Award” in 2008.
As a fierce and exacting contender in numerous competitions, Adam Brakel took top prizes in the Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition, the Reuter/Augustana Arts Undergraduate Organ Competition, the Gruenstein Memorial Organ Competition, the John Rodland Memorial Scholarship Competition, the French Organ Music Seminar Competition, and the Carlene Neihart International Organ Competition all between the years of 2003–2006.
In November 2017, Mr. Brakel was appointed Director of Music at St. James Cathedral and for the Diocese of Orlando, Florida. This appointment follows positions at Christ the King Catholic Church in Tampa, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, and at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Cathedral in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida—a position to which he was appointed at age 25, making him at the time one of the youngest directors appointed to a cathedral in the United States.
Adam J. Brakel is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.
Photo credit: Majorie Durante