Jury member

AN AUDITION JURY CONSISTING OF NINE INTERNATIONALLY-KNOWN ORGANISTS WHO ARE FROM CHINA EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICAN WILL ADJUDICATE THE TWO FINAL ROUNDS OF THE COMPETITION.


President of the Jury

Paul Jacobs
PROFESSOR

President of the Jury, Chairman of Organ Department at The Juilliard School.


The only organist ever to have won a Grammy Award (in 2011 for Messiaen’s towering “Livre du Saint-Sacrement”), Paul Jacobs is currently chair of the organ department at Juilliard. An eloquent champion of his instrument who argues that the organ for too long has been excluded from the mainstream of classical music, Paul Jacobs is known for his imaginative interpretations of an unusually large repertoire, old and new. He has also been an important influence in the revival of symphonic music featuring the organ.

Paul Jacobs made his mark early on with landmark performances of the complete works for solo organ by J.S. Bach and Messiaen, as well as works by many other composers. Mr. Jacobs made musical history at the age of 23 when he played Bach’s complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon performance on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. A fierce advocate of new music, Jacobs has premiered works by Samuel Adler, Mason Bates, Michael Daugherty, Wayne Oquin, Stephen Paulus, Christopher Rouse, and Christopher Theofanidis, among others. As a teacher he has also been a vocal proponent of the redeeming nature of traditional and contemporary classical music, which he fears is being diluted in a popular culture.

Mr. Jacobs has played in all 50 states, and as a soloist, he has performed with nearly every major U.S. orchestra, including with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, and the Pacific Symphony.

Born 1977 in Washington, Pennsylvania, Mr. Jacobs studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, double-majoring with John Weaver for organ and Lionel Party for harpsichord, and at Yale University with Thomas Murray. He joined the faculty of The Juilliard School in 2003, and was named chairman of the organ department in 2004, one of the youngest faculty appointees in the school’s history. 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.

President of the Jury

HE Xuntian
PROFESSOR

Distinguished composer, Creator of a new musical language, professor at Shanghai Conservatory of Music.


In 1981, he established the Three Periods Theory and the Theory of Musical Dimensions; In 1982, he developed the RD (renyilv & duiyingfa) Method of Musical Composition, the first compositional method of contemporary China; In 1995, Sister Drum was launched, making him the first Chinese composer to have his record released worldwide. This album, together with a number of others including Voices from the Sky, was released in more than 80 countries with a total sales volume of several million copies; In 1996, he established the SS (stream of structure) Method of Musical Composition; In1997, he put forward the Theory of Interspace; In 2003, he composed Images in Sound, which was humanity’s first gift of primordial music to all species of the natural world; In 2008, he produced Ehe Chant, the first work of Preconsciousness Music in human history.

He has received 15 international composition awards, including the Outstanding Musical Achievement Award of the International New Music Composer Competition USA 1989-1990; 13 national composition awards, including the First Prize at the Third All-China Music Competition; and a number of international and national honorary awards, including the 4th Mercedes-AMG National Spirit Achievers Award.

His works have been published globally by a number of international publishing companies, including Warner Music Group and Schott Music; and premiered and performed worldwide by many leading orchestras and ensembles, including BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and The Israel Symphony Orchestra; Thousands of national and international news media and academic journals, including the New York Times, the Times Magazine, the Washington Post, The Times, People’s Daily, CCTV, BBC, ABC, CNN, NHK etc., have reviewed He’s works, composition techniques and ideas; His theories and works are believed to be “epoch-making” and “You can hardly trace the origin of He’s music in any Western music literature”, As “the most distinctive Chinese composer”, “He Xuntian’s music marks the emergence of China’s own school of music” and according to the New York Times, he “fulfilled the Chinese people’s dream to introduce their music to the world”; His brief biography appears in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

John Walker
PROFESSOR

President of American Guide of Organists, Professor at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.


John Walker is Minister of Music Emeritus at Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Baltimore and a member of the organ faculty at Peabody Conservatory of Music, following earlier positions at Shadyside Presbyterian Church and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and at The Riverside Church and Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He has recently served as Artist-in-Residence at Church of the Redeemer and as interim Director of Music/Organist at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Baltimore.

John Walker has performed in recital and as concerto soloist throughout North America, Europe, and in Asia. He has appeared frequently with the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas; with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Jahja Ling, conductor; and at conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the American Choral Directors Association, and the Korean Association of Organists. On the eve of the millennium, John Walker appeared on nationwide television in Taiwan during a four-hour marathon concert at the National Concert Hall in Taipei. Pipedreams, the nationally syndicated program of Minnesota Public Radio, has often featured his performances. In October 2006 Pipedreams devoted its entire program to his performances, under the title “Walker on the Wild Side.”

John Walker earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Stanford University, where he was Assistant University Organist. He holds two Master of Music degrees cum laude from American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, where he later served as a member of the faculty. Dr. Walker was the 1984 alumni recipient of the Professional Achievement Award from Westminster College. In 1999 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach and to perform in Taiwan.

A Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, John Walker is Past President of the AGO, having previously served as Vice President, Treasurer, and as Coordinator of two regional conventions. He has been performer and clinician at the Montreat, Mo-Ranch, Lake Junaluska, Westminster College, and Richner-Strong church music conferences. Heralded for his hymn playing, recently in Taiwan he was organist and conductor for two CD recordings of hymns sung in Mandarin and in Taiwanese. In 2015 he was Visiting Professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, marking his 15th professional visit to Asia.

Jürgen Kursawa
PROFESSOR

Dean of Music Departement II at Robert Schumann University Düsseldorf, Director of the Intitute of Church Music.


Prof. Jürgen Kursawa was born in Bottrop, Germany in 1959. He studied church music, mathematics, pedagogy and Konzertexamen (Advanced Performance) in organ and piano at The University of Music and the Performing Arts in Cologne and Essen.

Since 1975, he has been a church musician in Bottrop, Cologne and Düsseldorf. From 1992-2000, he worked as a representative church musician in the region of Düsseldorf. Between 1996 and 1999, he taught organ performance and improvisation at the Musikhochschule in Cologne. In 2000, he became a titular organist at the Cathedral of Ruhr Bishopric where he worked as a coordinator of the Essen Cathedral Music as well. As a concert organist, he has toured extensively in Europe, Asia and the USA.

His concert activities extend the solo piano and organ performance as well as the areas of vocal, instrumental accompaniment and chamber music. Recent feature performances have included the collaboration with the Essen Philharmonic, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, the Mannheimer Streichquartett and so on. His CD recordings complement the broad spectrum of his activities. He has been invited internationally on regular basis as a lecturer of Masterclass in artistic organ playing and improvisation. He is active as a Jury member in various organ performance and improvisation competitions.

In 2007, Jürgen Kursawa joined the faculty of the Robert Schumann Hochschule Duesseldorf as Professor of the organ program, performance and Improvisation. Previous position has included Music Director at the historical Essen Cathedral where he actively directed the installing of the Cathedral organ. Prof. Jürgen Kursawa has been the Director of the Institute for Church Music since 2008 and the Dean of the Department of Music II at the Robert Schumann University of Duesseldorf since 2009.

Cherry Rhodes
PROFESSOR

Professor of Organ Department at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.


CHERRY RHODES is the first American to win an international organ competition (Munich). During her brilliant career she has toured extensively throughout the major music capitals of America and Europe with recitals in cathedrals, churches, and concert halls, including Lincoln Center (New York City), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), the Performing Arts Center (Milwaukee), Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), Royal Festival Hall (London), International Performing Arts Center (Moscow), Philharmonic Halls of Berlin, Dortmund, and Luxembourg, the Organ and Architecture Symposium, and the renowned International September Music Festival of Montreux-Vevey (Switzerland). Other international festivals include those of Paris (Notre Dame and St. Eustache), Munich, Freiburg, Nurnberg, St. Albans, Luxembourg, Vienna, Bratislava, Presov, Gdansk and Warsaw.

CHERRY RHODES is the first American to win an international organ competition (Munich). During her brilliant career she has toured extensively throughout the major music capitals of America and Europe with recitals in cathedrals, churches, and concert halls, including Lincoln Center (New York City), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), the Performing Arts Center (Milwaukee), Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), Royal Festival Hall (London), International Performing Arts Center (Moscow), Philharmonic Halls of Berlin, Dortmund, and Luxembourg, the Organ and Architecture Symposium, and the renowned International September Music Festival of Montreux-Vevey (Switzerland). Other international festivals include those of Paris (Notre Dame and St. Eustache), Munich, Freiburg, Nurnberg, St. Albans, Luxembourg, Vienna, Bratislava, Presov, Gdansk and Warsaw.

CHERRY RHODES is the first American to win an international organ competition (Munich). During her brilliant career she has toured extensively throughout the major music capitals of America and Europe with recitals in cathedrals, churches, and concert halls, including Lincoln Center (New York City), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), the Performing Arts Center (Milwaukee), Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), Royal Festival Hall (London), International Performing Arts Center (Moscow), Philharmonic Halls of Berlin, Dortmund, and Luxembourg, the Organ and Architecture Symposium, and the renowned International September Music Festival of Montreux-Vevey (Switzerland). Other international festivals include those of Paris (Notre Dame and St. Eustache), Munich, Freiburg, Nurnberg, St. Albans, Luxembourg, Vienna, Bratislava, Presov, Gdansk and Warsaw.

CHERRY RHODES is the first American to win an international organ competition (Munich). During her brilliant career she has toured extensively throughout the major music capitals of America and Europe with recitals in cathedrals, churches, and concert halls, including Lincoln Center (New York City), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), the Performing Arts Center (Milwaukee), Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), Royal Festival Hall (London), International Performing Arts Center (Moscow), Philharmonic Halls of Berlin, Dortmund, and Luxembourg, the Organ and Architecture Symposium, and the renowned International September Music Festival of Montreux-Vevey (Switzerland). Other international festivals include those of Paris (Notre Dame and St. Eustache), Munich, Freiburg, Nurnberg, St. Albans, Luxembourg, Vienna, Bratislava, Presov, Gdansk and Warsaw.

CHERRY RHODES is the first American to win an international organ competition (Munich). During her brilliant career she has toured extensively throughout the major music capitals of America and Europe with recitals in cathedrals, churches, and concert halls, including Lincoln Center (New York City), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), the Performing Arts Center (Milwaukee), Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), Royal Festival Hall (London), International Performing Arts Center (Moscow), Philharmonic Halls of Berlin, Dortmund, and Luxembourg, the Organ and Architecture Symposium, and the renowned International September Music Festival of Montreux-Vevey (Switzerland). Other international festivals include those of Paris (Notre Dame and St. Eustache), Munich, Freiburg, Nurnberg, St. Albans, Luxembourg, Vienna, Bratislava, Presov, Gdansk and Warsaw.

Ms. Rhodes is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Dr. Alexander McCurdy. She received Fulbright and Rockefeller grants for studies in Munich with Karl Richter and in Paris with Marie-Claire Alain and Jean Guillou, who invited her to be his assistant for two years at St. Eustache.

Cherry Rhodes is Adjunct Professor of Organ at the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California. Many of her students have won awards, grants, and top prizes in competitions in the United States and Europe. A sought-after musician, she gives master classes and frequently serves as adjudicator for competitions in North America and Europe.

In 2015 Cherry Rhodes and her husband Ladd Thomas received The American Guild of Organists Endowment Fund Distinguished Artist Award.

David Hamilton
PROFESSOR

Professor at Music School of Douglas Academy and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Guest Professor at Shanghai Conservatory of Music.


David Hamilton is University Organist at Strathclyde University, home of the new Bach-style organ, built by Orgelbau Kögler.

He studied with Stuart Campbell at Glasgow University, Harald Vogel at the North-German Organ Academy and Jos van der Kooy at Zwolle Conservatory in the Netherlands.

He was a prizewinner at Royal College of Organists’ exams and at the European Organ Improvisation competition.

David is Director of Music at St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Hamilton, and teaches at the Music School of Douglas Academy and at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

He has performed throughout Europe and in North America, Russia and China, and is a Guest Professor at Shanghai Conservatory.

On the Divine Art label, he has recorded a Buxtehude CD at Aberdeen University, and a Bach disc at Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh.

Thierry Mechler
PROFESSOR

Professor at University (Musikhochschule) in Cologne, Organist of the Philharmonie of Cologne, Germany.


Professor at University (Musikhochschule) in Cologne, Organist of the Philharmonie of Cologne, Germany.

In 1981, he won first prize with highest congratulations at the “Concours International de Paris”.
In 1984, he went to Paris to study with Marie-Claire Alain, where he won, in succession a gold medal and a first prize of excellence with congratulations from the jury.
In 1986, he won a laureate in improvisation and a first prize for virtuosity with congratulations from the jury in the concert class from Marie-Claire Alain in Paris.
He also studied the Art of improvisation with Jacques Taddei, and won the medal of honour at the contest for composition in Mulhouse.
In 1991 he was accepted in the S.A.C. E.M. as composer, also in 1991, he received the “Europäischen Förderpreis” in Dresden, as an award for his international carrier and many recordings.
From 1986 until 1989 he was organ master at the Conservatoire National of Annecy.
He is invited each year to numerous European Organ Festivals. As a renowned teacher and juror, he is invited every year to Germany, England, Finland, Island, USA, Korea and France to give masterclasses in various academies. He has made many recordings of which the reference can be found in the international catalogue.
Titular organist from the great organ of the Cathedral Primatial Saint-Jean in Lyon from 1991 until.
1999, curator and organist of the organ of the Auditorium Maurice Ravel in Lyon, an instrument previously the Cavaillé-Coll of the Trocadéro.
In 1998, he played all the Six Vierne Symphonies.
Member of the Jury of international Competitions, in 1998 Thierry Mechler became Professor for Organand Improvisation at the University (Musikhochschule) in Köln. Since 2002, Thierry Mechler is an organist and a curator of the prestigious Philharmonie of Cologne (Germany).
Thierry Mechler's career has taken him worldwide - both as organist and pianist. He has built a reputation as an exciting performer and improviser.
Fêted also as a composer, his " 6 Métamorphoses on B.A.C.H " Opus 14 was created at the Philharmonie of Cologne in January 2009.
2012, he played all 48 Preludes ans Fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier of J.S. Bach at the Bach-Festival in Schauenberg.
2014 Thierry Mechler was appointed Cultural councillor of the city Guebwiller.
2016 he participated on the 30. anniversary of the Philharmonie in Cologne, with the world premiere audition of " I-FORMATION " for two orchestras and organ solo from Vito ZURAJ, with the Gürzenich orchestra, conducting by Francois-Xavier Roth and the Symphonic WDR orchestra conducting by Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
Thierry Mechler is Knight in the French National Order of "Arts et Lettres".

Aude Heurtematte
PROFESSOR

Professor at Conservatory in Strasbourg, Organist of l'orgue historique de l'église Saint-Gervais à Paris.


Charles-Marie Widor, a famous French organist, composer and professor, he was born in Lyon, to a family of organ builders, and initially studied music there with his father, François-Charles Widor. In 1863 he studied in Brussels with Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens for organ and with the elderly François-Joseph Fétis, director of the Brussels Conservatoire, for composition. At the 25-year-old Widor was appointed the organist of Saint-Sulpice in Paris in1870. Widor worked there nearly 64 years, until the end of 1933. The organ at St-Sulpice was Cavaillé-Coll's masterwork, the instrument's spectacular capabilities proved an inspiration to Widor. Most works of Widor were composed in this instrument.

The ninth symphony, respectively termed "Gothique" (Op. 70, of 1895) are much more introspective. It derived thematic material from plainchant. The second movement of the Symphony Gothique, entitled "Andante sostenuto", is one of the most-beloved pieces. He used the Christmas Day Introit "Puer natus est" in the third and fourth movements. It also honored, respectively, the Gothic Church of St. Ouen, Rouen.