2019 Fall International Concert

Dr. Gunter Kennel

St. John’s Organ Society is pleased to present German organist, composer and theologian Gunter Kennel on the historic E. & G. G. Hook organ, Opus 288 (1860) at St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 7:30pm.

Kennel’s program is inspired by Bach’s great “Organ Mass” and includes settings of related chorales by Max Reger and a group of his own newly-composed works. The program will be framed by Bach’s magisterial Prelude and Fugue in E-Flat Major.

Kennel is a leading organist in Germany and has performed and recorded on important instruments throughout Europe and in North America. 

We are delighted to welcome him back to Bangor!

St. John’s Catholic Church is located at 207 York Street in Bangor.

Admission is free.  Donations are appreciated.

2019 Summer Concert Series

St. John’s Organ Society is pleased to announce the 27th Summer Recital Series on Maine’s largest 19th-Century mechanical-action pipe organ, E. & G. G. Hook’s magnificent Opus 288, at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Bangor.These hour-long recitals occur on Thursday evenings at 7:30. St. John’s Catholic Church is located at 207 York Street in Bangor. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Choeur d’Enfants d’Ile-de-France poster
Choeur d’Enfants d’Ile-de-France

July 18
Choeur d’Enfants d’Ile-de-France (Levallois, France) (choral concert with organ)
Music Director & Conductor: Prof. Francis Bardot

This is the 26th tour of Prof. Francis Bardot to the U.S.A. with the Choeur d’Enfants d’Ile de France, a children’s choir of boys and girls from Levallois, France. St. John’s Catholic Church is pleased to host this choir’s concert on Thursday, July 18, at 7:30 pm. The choir will perform a cappella sacred music of French and German composers along with selections with piano and organ accompaniment. Prof. Bardot has made numerous well-received recordings with his choirs.

Daniel Pyle
Daniel Pyle

July 25
Daniel Pyle (Bar Harbor, Maine) with Elena Krainerva, vioal d’amore (Indianapolis, Indiana)
The summer concerts continue on July 25 and feature Daniel Pyle from Bar Harbor, Maine with Elena Kraineva from Indianapolis, Indiana playing viola d’amore. Pyle is performing music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Matthias Weckmann, and Frank Martin

Daniel Pyle is Organist/Music-Director for the St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church in Bar Harbor ME, and Musical Director of the ensemble Harmonie Universelle. In 2018 he conducted Handel’s Messiah for the Blue Hill Bach Festival, and for the spring of 2019 he is Guest Director for the Acadia Choral Society. Dr. Pyle plays harpsichord for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, and he played regularly with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra as harpsichordist and organist. His solo recording, The Maiden’s Songe: Elizabethan music on the lautenwerk, was released in 1994 on the Gasparo label. He received his training as an organist and harpsichordist at the University of Alabama from Warren Hutton and at the Eastman School of Music, from the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam where he studied with Gustav Leonhardt and Hans van Nieuwkoop, and the class of Kenneth Gilbert at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana. Dr. Pyle was one of the five founders of the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, its harpsichordist from 1997 to 2014, and its Resident Director 2003-2011. And he has taught organ, harpsichord, and music history at the University of Kansas, the Louisiana State University, and Clayton State University; he has also taught masterclasses in Atlanta and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK.

Elena Kraineva
Elena Kraineva

Elena Kraineva holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Indiana University, where she studied with Atar Arad and Stanley Ritchie. She actively performs internationally as a soloist on viola and viola d’amore and Baroque violist with various chamber music groups, including Harmonie Universelle, the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, Musical OfferingDuo VitruvianiEnsemble Hesperides. Ms. Kraineva studied with Michael Terian at the Moscow Conservatory and holds her Bachelor of Music degree from the Glinka Conservatory. She is a winner of several competitions including the Moscow Viola Competition, and performed solo recitals in the Grand Hall of the Gnesin Institute and the Glinka Museum. She was a concertmistress with the Moscow Ensemble of Violists.

Andrew Scanlon
Andrew Scanlon

August 1
Andrew Scanlon (Greenville, North Carolina)
The season continues on August 1 with a concert by Andrew Scanlon from Greenville, North Carolina. Scanlon will perform music of Felix Mendelssohn, Georg Böhm, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Ludwig Krebs, Jean Langlais, Harrison Oxley, and Henry Smart.

A native of Methuen, Massachusetts, Andrew Scanlon has been a professor in the keyboard faculty at East Carolina University since 2009, where he directs the graduate and undergraduate programs in organ and sacred music. In addition, he is the organist & choirmaster at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greenville, NC and artistic director of East Carolina Musical Arts Education Foundation. From 2005—2009 Andrew served as organ faculty at Duquesne University, and previously held positions at Christ & St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (New York), St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral (Buffalo), First Presbyterian Church (Pittsburgh) and Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School. A frequent performer at the organ, Scanlon has performed at national conventions of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and the Organ Historical Society. He is in frequent demand as a clinician and workshop presenter, having presented sessions for AGO conventions in Boston and Richmond, as well as teaching and performing at courses for the Royal School of Church Music in Charlotte and in Nigeria. Scanlon has given recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Africa, performing in some of the world’s most significant religious venues such as The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, (New York), Notre-Dame Cathedral, The American Cathedral and La Trinité Church (Paris) and other venues in England, Italy, Germany, Canada and Croatia. Actively involved in the AGO, Andrew Scanlon holds the Fellowship diploma (FAGO), has been a faculty member for three Pipe Organ Encounters, and serves on both the National Board of Examiners and the Committee on Professional Certification. He is a graduate of Duquesne University and both the Institute of Sacred Music and School of Music at Yale University. His most recent CD recording, Solemn and Celebratory, featuring the Fisk organ at St. Paul’s in Greenville, was released in 2013. The Organists’ Review (UK, June 2014) called Scanlon’s playing on this recording “stately,” “well measured,” and “exemplary”; and The Diapason (Feb. 2015) describes it as “beautifully realized,” stating that “both performer and organ seem to excel in [the] French Romantic repertoire.” Andrew’s principal teachers have been John Skelton, Ann Labounsky, David Craighead, John Walker, and Thomas Murray.

Laurent Jochum
Laurent Jochum

August 8
Laurent Jochum (Paris, France)
The next concert on August 8 features Laurent Jochum from Paris, France, who will perform music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, and César Franck.

Holder of the great Cavaille-Col organ of the Saint Jean Baptiste church in Belleville, Paris, where he succeeds great musicians like Pierre Vidal; and, holder of the organ of the middle and high school chapel Saint Louis-de-Gonzague, Jochum has had a particularly eclectic career for over twenty years.

A native of Thionville, as the son and grandson of liturgical organists, he discovered the organ from an early age. He began his musical studies by learning the piano before joining the organ class of Raphaëlle Garreau de Labarre. He continued his studies with André Stricker at the Conservatory of Strasbourg and Louis Robilliard in Lyon, where he won a unanimous first prize with congratulations and a first prize for improvement.

He is completing and enriching his training with renowned professors such as Vincent Warnier, Jean-Charles Ablitzer, Jean Boyer and Thierry Escaich.

He won several competitions, including the International Organ Competition of Lorraine; and, in 1999, the Angers Inter-Conservatory Grand Organ Award, recently renamed the Jean-Louis Florentz-Académie des Beaux-Arts Prize, which was awarded by a jury chaired by Thierry Escaich.

Since Jochum performs regularly, in recital or with various instrumental and vocal formations, in France and abroad. He has played at prestigious venues in Paris (Cathedrale Notre-Dame, Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, La Madeleine, Saint Clotilde) and Province.

He is regularly the guest of great festivals such as Bordeaux, Guîtres, Saint Rémy-de-Provence, Roquevaire, Saint-Malo, Thionville, Saint Betrand of Commingres and others. Abroad, he has been invited to the Czech Republic, Poland, England, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Azerbaijan, Oman, as well as to Luxembourg, Canada, and the United States. He is also invited to participate in inaugural concerts and performs with renowned artists; including, the organist Vincent Warnier, the violinist Marina Chiche, the soprano Fabrice di Falco, the baritone Philippe Brocard, and choir soloist of the French army.

His dual training in piano and organ led him to be accompany the singers of Saint-Marc under the direction of Nicolas Porte; and then, the choir of the French army in 2000. Currently, he accompanies the master Saint Louis de Gonzague de Sophie Chiu and the choirs of Francis Bardot (choir of children, young choir and vocal ensemble of Ile-de-France), which leads him to perform in very beautiful orchestras (Orchestra Colonne, Orchestra Bel’Arte).

Holder of a CAPES of Musicology, he is keen to devote a part of his musical life to a Parisian middle school, where he implements projects and initiatives for the youngest music learners.

Served by an excellent technique, his repertoire extends from baroque music to contemporary masterpieces, through the romantic and symphonic music of the 19th century, whose recordings have been critically acclaimed.

Sarah Johnson
Sarah Johnson

August 15
Sarah Johnson (Rochester, New York)
The 27th summer season continues on August 15 with Sarah Johnson of Rochester, New York. Johnson will perform music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, and Josef Gabriel Rheinberger.

Sarah Johnson is a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music, where she studies with David Higgs.

A native of Garland, Maine, Johnson began her organ lessons with Kevin Birch, organist and music director at Saint John’s Catholic Church in Bangor, where she was featured as a recitalist on the 26th annual Summer Organ Concert Series. In her undergraduate degree at Vassar College she studied organ with Gail Archer, and piano with Todd Crow. Sarah holds a Master of Sacred Music from Boston University, where she studied organ with Peter Sykes.

Since beginning college, Johnson has performed in New York City at Central Synagogue, and in Boston at Old West, Trinity Copley, and Holy Name Parish. She was named an E. Power Biggs Fellow of the Organ Historical Society in 2013. Johnson was featured as a rising star and guest recitalist at the 2017 Musforum Conference in Omaha, Nebraska, and recently took part in a master class at Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.

During her time in Boston, Johnson was Organ Scholar at Holy Name Parish in West Roxbury, and Assistant Librarian at the Organ Library of the American Guild of Organists. She currently serves as the Organ Assistant (VanDelinder Prize Winner) at Christ Church in Rochester, and is Festival Coordinator for the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative.

Abraham Ross
Abraham Ross

August 22
Abraham Ross (Durham, North Carolina)
The August 22 concert features Abraham Ross of Durham, North Carolina. His recital comprises works of Eugene Thayer, Dudley Buck, and John Knowles Paine, as well as the first chorale in E major of César Franck.

Abraham Ross draws inspiration both from the rich organ repertory and the range of instruments required to perform it, seeking out intersections between artists, philosophies, and societies of the past and those of today. His formative organ studies took place in his hometown of Bangor, Maine on the historic 1860 organ by E. & G.G. Hook, an experience that inspired him to take up the instrument as a career. As he transitions from a year-long appointment at Duke University Chapel to Montreal for doctoral studies in organ at McGill, Ross will present a program on the organ where he first studied with Kevin Birch.

Kevin Birch
Kevin Birch

August 29
Kevin Birch (Bangor, Maine)
The final concert of the 27th summer season features Kevin Birch of Bangor, Maine performing music of Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann and Dudley Buck.

Kevin Birch holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Iowa with previous studies at New England Conservatory in Boston and the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. Since 1992 he has served as Director of Music at St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor, Maine where he also serves as Executive Director of St. John’s Organ Society.  He is a member of the music faculty at the University of Maine’s School of the Performing Arts in Orono and serves on the Liturgical Commission for the Diocese of Portland. He has performed solo recitals in the US, Canada, Europe, South America and for several national conventions of the Organ Historical Society.

2019 Spring International Concert


St. John’s Organ Society is pleased to announce that Tjeerd van der Ploeg, church musician, recitalist, improviser, and recording artist, will play a concert on the historic organ at St. John’s Catholic Church (207 York St.) on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.   Van der Ploeg is the organist at St. Christoforuskerk in Schagen, Netherlands.  He will perform music of Josef Rheinberger, Max Reger and Herbert Howells.

Tjeerd van der Ploeg
Tjeerd van der Ploeg

Tjeerd van der Ploeg studied organ under Piet Post (1919-1979), Jan Jongepier (1941-2011) and Jacques van Oortmerssen (1950-2015).  He completed his organ studies in 1985 by obtaining the soloist diploma at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, Netherlands.  He is organist of St. Christoforuskerk in Schagen, Netherlands, and a frequent recitalist and improvisor.  His many CD recordings have been widely acclaimed. They include music by Herbert Howells (1892-1983), recorded at St Christoforuskerk, Schagen (Nicholson organ, 1882) and Selby Abbey (Great Britain); and Charles Tournemire (1870-1939), recorded at St. Pierre, Douai (France), Notre Dame de Grâce, Cambrai (France) and Notre Dame d’Auteuil, Paris (France). Lately he recorded ‘Dritter Teil der Clavier Übung’ from J.S. Bach at the historic Garrels organ at Purmerend (Netherlands).

Van der Ploeg has published articles on Herbert Howells, Charles Tournemire, the Spanish composers Francisco Correa de Arauxo (1584-1654) and Pablo Bruna (1611-1679) and Gregorian Chant. He was awarded the silver medal by the Société Académique ‘Arts, Sciences et Lettres’ for his services to French organ music.

Links to hear van der Ploeg play:
Tjeerd van der Ploeg plays the Nicholson organ (1882) at St Christoforuskerk, Schagen, Netherlands

Van der Ploeg’s live concerts on Youtube:
Tjeerd van der Ploeg plays A.Guilmant (Sonate nr.8)
Tjeerd van der Ploeg plays Charles-Marie Widor – Symphony nr.5

The May 7th program continues the tradition of an annual concert by an internationally recognized recitalist on the historic E. & G. G. Hook organ, Opus 288, at St. John’s Catholic Church.   Hook’s Opus 288, the largest 19th-Century pipe organ in northern New England, has been described by Alan Laufman (past president of the Organ Historical Society) as “…a national treasure.”

St. John’s Catholic Church is located at 207 York Street in Bangor.  Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.