Class of 2017

Bryan Anderson

is a native of Georgia. Currently working toward a master’s degree at Rice University under Ken Cowan, Anderson’s undergraduate work was at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he earned degrees in organ (studying with Alan Morrison) and harpsichord (with Leon Schelhase). A rising concert artist, he has performed at such venues as the Kennedy Center, Verizon Hall in Philadelphia, Woolsey Hall at Yale, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Princeton University Chapel, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. He has been featured in performance at conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society. His recent positions have been as organist at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, as well as serving as an assistant organist of the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ in Macy’s department store for several years. During 2015–16, Anderson held the post of organ scholar at Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England. He serves as an organist at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. In addition to work as an organist, Anderson has enjoyed extensive collaboration as a chamber musician, performing many times as a continuo artist and ensemble pianist. His website is www.bryan-anderson.com.

 

David La’O Ball

serves as organist and assistant director of music at Christ Cathedral in Orange, California (formerly Crystal Cathedral). David is a well-lauded young performer—The New York Times declared his appearance in Juilliard’s FOCUS! Festival “a rousing performance,” and his performances have been broadcast on American Public Media’s Pipedreams and New York City’s WQXR. As part of a wide-ranging musical vision for 21st-century collaboration—a vision cultivated during his time studying at Juilliard with Paul Jacobs—Ball is committed to making the “King of Instruments” play well with others. He has spearheaded a number of chamber recitals, performed as an orchestral musician, and commissioned multiple new works for the organ. His website is www.davidballorgan.com. The only thing matching Ball’s passion for performance is his commitment to liturgical music. From his earliest days as organ scholar under John Romeri at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Ball played and accompanied the basilica’s choirs in performances across the country and in Rome, Italy. While at Juilliard, he worked as the assistant director at St. Malachy’s—The Actors’ Chapel. Currently, as Christ Cathedral organist, Ball’s music underpins an array of services and events, accompanying the cathedral’s choirs and supporting the diocese’s diverse congregation.

 

Viktoria Franken

started organbuilding in 2008 at H. P. Mebold in Siegen, Germany, where she was trained in the historic craft of organbuilding and as tonal assistant. She also attended the Oscar Walcker School for Organbuilding in Ludwigsburg, Germany, where she earned a certificate of completion as well as a certificate of apprenticeship in organbuilding from the chamber of crafts in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2012 she began work at Killinger Pfeifen, Freiberg, Germany, where she mastered special skills in assembling and prevoicing reed pipes. Since 2015 she has worked for John-Paul Buzard Pipe Organ Builders in Champaign, Illinois, as a tonal assistant. She is responsible for soldering, pipe repairs, racking, and pipe-related woodworking. She is being trained in all aspects of voicing and placement of pipes in the organ.

 

Christopher Grills

is leading a multifaceted career as clavichordist, harpsichordist, church musician, opera director, and tuning and temperament scholar. Grills’s special affinity for the clavichord has brought him to attention on the international music scene. In 2013 he performed on the clavichord at Musica Antiqua a Magnano in Italy, and in May 2017 he will perform at the Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival in Finland. Originally from Joplin, Missouri, Grills is the first student in North America to pursue graduate studies focused on the clavichord. He earned his Master of Music in historical performance at Boston University under the tutelage of Peter Sykes and received a full-tuition scholarship to pursue his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the same institution. He has been featured in interviews in The Joplin Globe and in Tangents, the bulletin of the Boston Clavichord Society. Grills is a collaborative keyboardist and performs harpsichord continuo with the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra and the Boston University Baroque Orchestra. He is currently co-directing the Boston premiere of the Hasse opera Alcide al Bivio with the Harvard Early Music Society. He is organist at First Congregational Church in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

 

Nathaniel Gumbs

is a native of the Bronx, New York, and is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree, studying with David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He received the Master of Music degree in organ performance from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and the Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from Shenandoah Conservatory, Winchester, Virginia. His former teachers include Martin Jean and Steven Cooksey. As a young artist, Gumbs has performed recitals throughout the United States and has played many historic instruments in Paris and Rome through Shenandoah Conservatory and in Berlin, Munich, and Leipzig through the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. His playing has been described by music critics as “mature, lyrical, accurate, and energetic.” Nathaniel was recently mentioned in the New York Times for playing with “deft and feeling” on his duo recording with bass-baritone Dashon Burton. In April 2016, he was featured on the American Public Media broadcast Pipedreams Live!. Gumbs has also earned Service Playing and Colleague certifications from the American Guild of Organists. He is currently the director of music and arts and church organist at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

Christopher Henley,

a native of Talladega, Alabama, serves as organist of Anniston First United Methodist Church, where he provides service music for the traditional worship services, manages the Soli Deo Gloria Concert Series, and accompanies various vocal and instrumental ensembles. Prior to his service at Anniston First United Methodist Church, he served as organist of the First United Methodist Churches in Talladega and Pell City, Alabama. He is the founder and artistic director of The Noble Camerata, an auditioned vocal ensemble that sings choral services in the Anniston, Alabama, area and seasonal concerts. Henley also serves on the faculty of the Community Music School of the University of Alabama, where he is an instructor of piano. Henley is currently a senior in pursuit of the Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance at University of Alabama, where he studies with Faythe Freese. He is an active member of the American Guild of Organists and University of Alabama Music Teachers National Association. For the AGO, he was appointed as a member of the executive board for the AGO Young Organists initiative for the Southeast Region.

 

Jeremy Paul Jelinek

is an undergraduate in the organ studio of David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Thanks to an exchange program, in 2016–2017 he studies interprétation d’orgue (performance) with Olivier Latry and Michel Bouvard and organ improvisation with Laszlo Fassang at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (CNSMDP). While in France, he maintains an active concert schedule. Sacred music is his purest joy; he is interested particularly in early music. Jelinek has developed a rigorous study and a passion in French Classical organ music, having given classes on this subject. He is student at l’École du Chœur grégorien de Paris, where he studies interpretation, semiology, and history of chant, singing offices and Masses. As a church musician, he has held various positions at Calvary Church, St. Andrew’s Church, and St. Anthony’s Chapel (Pittsburgh), and Christ Church (Rochester). He is the recipient of several organ competition prizes and awards. Jelinek “interpret[s] . . . with aplomb . . . demonstrating impressive technical facility” (The American Organist, September 2016) and “play[s] with elegance and assurance” (The Diapason, November 2016). He is also a composer, notably of choral works, and has written for several ensembles.

 

Weston Jennings

is quickly establishing himself as a talented and engaging international performer. Having first encountered the pipe organ at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp (Michigan) at the age of 16, he later graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy. At the Eastman School of Music, Jennings earned his Bachelor of Music degree and the Performer’s Certificate. In May 2017, he will graduate from the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music with his Master of Music degree. Prior to his graduate studies, he completed two years in England as the organ scholar of Canterbury Cathedral and Chelmsford Cathedral. During this time, he was also appointed the first organ scholar to the Royal Festival Hall, London. His organ teachers include Thomas Murray, Michel Bouvard, Hans Davidsson, David Higgs, and Thomas Bara. Following his recital debut at the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) in 2009, he has performed across the United States and Europe, including Westminster Abbey (London), St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue (New York), the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Los Angeles), the Chapel of the Queen’s College (Oxford), Royaumont Abbey (France), and the Berliner Dom (Germany).

 

Jerin J. Kelly

has been working for Goulding & Wood of Indianapolis, Indiana, since the summer of 2012. Prior to that, he was a student at Herron School of Art & Design, where he earned the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in furniture design. Since starting at G&W he has been active in the construction of two new organs, Opus 50 in Lexington, Kentucky, and Opus 51 in Mobile, Alabama. He has also worked on numerous renovations and major repairs. His responsibilities in the shop include building off-note chests, expression boxes, general structure, and pipe racking. In addition to building pipe organs, he also leads a service crew, tuning and maintaining about 200 pipe organs in the eastern United States.

 

 

Edward Landin

is a graduate of the St. Thomas Choir School, Interlochen Arts Academy, and Westminster Choir College. His principal organ teachers have been Thomas Bara and Ken Cowan. Further studies and coachings have been with Roberta Gary, David Higgs, Susan Landale, Marie-Louise Langlais, Kimberly Marshall, Paula Pugh Romanaux, Kathleen Scheide, and Carole Terry. Currently the assistant director of music at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, his duties include directing numerous children’s and handbell choirs and serving as principal accompanist for the 65-member Sanctuary Choir. In addition to recitals at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and St. Thomas Church in New York City and Old West Church, Boston, Landin has also performed in France, Germany, and Wales. A major interest in contemporary organ music, particularly by American composers, led Landin to commission E, Fantasia, and Parodies by Kathleen Scheide; Praeludium and Psalm 139 by Pamela Decker; Prelude on the Carillon d’Alet by Craig Phillips; and Exordium by Carson Cooman. A collection of Landin’s own compositions, Flourishes and Reflections—Organ Music for Service or Recital was recently released by Lorenz. More information may be found on his website: www.edwardlandin.com.

 

Christopher Lynch

is Fellow in Church Music at Trinity Cathedral, Portland, Oregon. He sang in the boy choir at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, before attending the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey. Lynch studied organ performance at Indiana University (IU), where his teachers included Janette Fishell, Bruce Neswick, Jeffrey Smith, and Christopher Young. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from IU. Before coming to Trinity, Lynch served on the music staff of Episcopal churches throughout the country, including St. Mark’s Cathedral (Shreveport, Louisiana), Trinity Church (Bloomington, Indiana), and St. Paul’s, K Street (Washington, D.C.). In these appointments, he has been mentored by such noted church musicians as Bruce Neswick, Robert McCormick, and Marilyn Keiser. A member of the American Guild of Organists and the Association of Anglican Musicians, Lynch is a frequent staff member for the Royal School of Church Music’s summer courses, including RSCM Pacific Northwest, where he has served as course organist.

 

Patrick Parker

is minister of music and organist at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Charles, Louisiana, artistic director of Houston Baroque, and artistic director of Renaissance Southwest. He can be heard on recordings through Raven: Houston Baroque’s My Soul Sees and Hears featuring music by Buxtehude and Handel; Rheinberger: Songs and Sonatas with Katie Clark, mezzo-soprano; and the complete works of van Eijken (winter 2018). As a concert organist, Parker’s repertoire includes the complete solo organ works of Bach, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and others. Major performance venues include St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and Grace Episcopal Church (New York City); Cathedral of St. Philip (Atlanta); St. Cecilia Cathedral (Omaha); Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and Christ Church Cathedral (Houston); Trinity Cathedral (Cleveland); Grace Church Cathedral (Charleston); Cathedral Church of St. John (Albuquerque); La Madeleine (Paris); Wells Cathedral (England); Nieuwe Kerke (Amsterdam); Auferstehungs-kirche and Michaeliskirche (Leipzig); and Michaeliskirche (Hamburg). In 2015, Parker resided in Leipzig and performed on historic organs throughout Europe. He holds degrees from Cleveland Institute of Music and University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the Doctor of Musical Arts in organ performance from University of Houston. His website is: www.patrickaaronparker.com.

 

Nicholas Quardokus

is a first-year student in organ in the Master of Music degree program at the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, New Haven, Connecticut, where he studies with Martin Jean. Quardokus concurrently serves as organ scholar at Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, as well as at Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School. A recent graduate of Indiana University, he completed his Bachelor of Music degree with highest distinction at the Jacobs School of Music with a major in organ performance and minor in early music, studying with Janette Fishell. Solo performances have included recitals throughout the Midwest and East Coast, including the American Guild of Organists Region V Convention in 2013 and a “Rising Star” recital at the AGO National Convention in Boston in 2014. In 2014, he was awarded first prize and hymn prize in the Young Professional Division of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition. In addition, he was one of the featured organists at the 2015 Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. His performances have been heard broadcast across the nation on public radio’s Harmonia Early Music and Pipedreams.

 

Cristiano Rizzotto

is a doctoral candidate at the American Organ Institute at the University of Oklahoma, under John Schwandt, and is the organist and choirmaster at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Golden Valley, Minnesota. He holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Magna cum Laude, 2010), where he studied under Miriam Grosman (piano) and Alexandre Rachid (organ). He was awarded second place at the XVIII ArtLivre National Piano Competition in São Paulo. Before moving to the United States, Rizzotto served as titular organist at the Benedictine Abbey in Rio de Janeiro, where the monks have kept the tradition of the chants and liturgy alive since 1590. The abbey organ, built in 1773 and later expanded in the 20th century, is one of the oldest organs in South America. Rizzotto moved to the United States to study with Andrew Scanlon at East Carolina University, and earned a master’s degree in sacred music in 2013. He became a published composer when his Toccata was released by Wayne Leupold Editions in 2014. He is an active recitalist, having performed in 20 American states, Europe, and South America. Cristiano and Clara Rizzotto married in Alaska in 2015 and are expecting their first child to be born this summer. His website is www.cristianorizzotto.com.

 

Sarah Simko,

a master’s degree student at the University of Michigan, studies organ with Kola Owolabi. She received her bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied organ with Nathan Laube, Edoardo Bellotti, William Porter, and Hans Davidsson. During her time at Eastman, she also studied harpsichord with Bellotti and Porter. A native of Rochester, Michigan, she was a scholarship winner of the Detroit Chapter of the American Guild of Organists in 2008, 2010, and 2011. She has since been invited back as a member of the jury. Sarah was recently named the winner of the Schoenstein Competition in the Art of Organ Accompaniment, hosted at the University of Michigan this past March. She was also the recipient of the 2010 Marilyn Mason Young Musician’s Scholarship from the Ann Arbor Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. She has performed in masterclasses with Marilyn Mason, David Wagner, Ken Cowan, Bruce Neswick, and Olivier Latry. Simko is currently the organ scholar at Christ Church Cranbrook. Previously, she held positions at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Greece, New York, and University Presbyterian Church, Rochester, Michigan.

 

Joshua Stafford,

known for his meticulous technique, innate yet highly mature musicality, and constant musical engagement, compelled the jury of the 2016 Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition to name him, out of 12 stellar competitors, the Pierre S. du Pont First Prize Winner of this illustrious event, earning him a cash award of $40,000. Already in demand as a recitalist and improviser, Stafford has performed at many notable venues. His recital at the 2015 conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians was hailed as “technically flawless yet exceptionally nuanced and spontaneous.” Recordings of his performances have been aired on American Public Media’s Pipedreams and WRTI’s Wanamaker Organ Hour. A native of Jamestown, New York, Stafford received the Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2010 as a student of Alan Morrison. In 2012 he received his Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music as a student of Thomas Murray and Jeffrey Brillhart. Stafford is director of music at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, New Jersey, where he conducts an RSCM-based program with choirs of boys, girls, and adults. The chorister program is paired with an after-school outreach program for the city’s underserved children, offering excellent music education at no cost.

 

Michael Sutcliffe

grew up in Tolland, Connecticut, only minutes away from the organ shop where he would eventually begin his career. He has had a lifelong passion for music and began studying guitar at age eight. Relentless tinkering also defined his early years. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2010 with a degree in sociology and came to work at Foley-Baker, Inc., starting in the leather shop. Upon returning to UConn part-time for a Master of Business Administration degree, he was promoted to general manager at Foley-Baker. Since then, he has overseen all of Foley-Baker’s major reconditioning projects, ensuring they are completed on time and under budget.

 

 

 

Brian Tang

is an associate carillonist at the University of California, Berkeley. He studied carillon as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley with Jeff Davis, and later with Geert D’hollander. Since his induction into the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America in 2010, he has given recitals across North America and Europe, including at the International Carillon Festivals in Springfield (2013) and Barcelona (2016). In the 2014 Queen Fabiola International Carillon Competition at Mechelen, Belgium, he was awarded second prize and the SABAM (Belgian Society of Authors, Composers, and Publishers) prize for the best interpretation of a contemporary Belgian work. Brian Tang regularly produces carillon arrangements and transcriptions, one of which received first prize at a contest for the 2016 GCNA Congress at Yale University. In addition to the carillon, he plays the piano and is an erstwhile cellist.

 

 

Janet Yieh,

a native of Alexandria, Virginia, is pursuing her Master of Music degree with Thomas Murray at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music and School of Music, New Haven, Connecticut. She also serves as organ scholar at Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green, New Haven, under the direction of Walden Moore, and as director of music at Berkeley Divinity School. Yieh is a graduate of the Juilliard School (Bachelor of Music degree in organ, 2015) and former assistant organist of Trinity Church, Wall Street in New York City. Winner of the 2015 Franciscan Monastery and Washington, D.C., Chapter of the American Guild of Organists Young Organist Competition, as well as the 2015 Northern Virginia and Potomac and 2013 Philadelphia AGO Quimby competitions, Yieh performs around the United States and Asia, with highlights including Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, Washington National Cathedral, St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei, and Momoyama St. Andrew’s University Chapel, Japan. As a collaborator, she has accompanied the Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center and NOVUS NY Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and she has premiered new music for the organ. Her playing has been broadcast on Pipedreams, New York’s WQXR and WWFM stations, and is featured on two CD recordings. A pianist from age 4 and violinist from 7, Janet began organ lessons at 11 with a scholarship from the Potomac Organ Institute. She is a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians and has earned the Colleague certificate of the AGO. Former teachers include Paul Jacobs, John Walker, Wayne Earnest, and Victoria Shields. Her website is www.janetyieh.com.

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