(MILLBURN, NJ) -- Designed and built for the interior of St. Stephen's Church by the celebrated German organ builder Rudolf von Beckerath, the 1970 tracker organ has become a major cultural resource. The 2019-2020 season of organ recitals at St. Stephen's marks the 50th year of sharing an exceptionally fine instrument with the greater community through outstanding performances given by concert organists known both locally and abroad.
This special, celebratory season has been conceived to represent this history and features Dr. Paul-Martin Maki, one of the performers heard most often on the series over the years, John Charles Schucker, who has served as organist for the church for the past 16 years, and, for the first time, Johann Vexo, who holds the distinction of being Organist of the Choir at The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.
Dr. Paul-Martin Maki will begin the series on Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 4:00pm. Dr. Maki is a highly accomplished organist and is Director of Music of St. John's Episcopal Church in Larchmont, New York and a faculty member of Columbia University. He holds both Bachelor of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, together with the Performer's Certificate in Organ from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music degree from Syracuse University, and the Diploma (highest honors) from the Schola Cantorum in Paris, where he was a Fulbright stipendiary of the United States Government. His organ teachers include Raymond Ocock, David Craighead, Arthur Poister, Andre Marchal, and Jean Langlais. Dr. Maki has been heard in recital throughout the United States and Canada, in Europe and in Australia, and has performed on television and radio.
The second organ performance in the recital series will feature John Charles Schucker on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 4:00pm. Organist and pianist John Charles Schucker has performed as both a soloist and collaborative musician throughout the United States and as far abroad as Japan. In the New York metropolitan area he has been heard at such well known venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, St. Patrick's Cathedral and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. His performances and recordings have also been heard nationally and internationally on television and radio broadcasts. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Juilliard School after winning first place prizes from the Reading Music Foundation and the American Guild of Organists' Young Artist competitions. Major teachers were pianist Earl Wild and organist Vernon De Tar. A professional church musician since the age of 12, he has served as organist at St. Stephen's since 2003.
The final performance of the 50th Anniversary series will feature Johann Vexo on Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 4:00pm. Surrounded and influenced by a rich musical and cultural heritage, Johann Vexo's training and performance career developed rapidly and at age 25, he was appointed Organiste de Choeur at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris. Soon thereafter he was appointed Organist of the Cavaillé-Coll organ of the Cathedral in Nancy. Mr. Vexo is also Professor of Organ at the Superior Music Academy in Strasbourg. He has performed extensively throughout Europe (Germany, Italy, Spain, England...), the United States, Canada and Russia including performances in Houston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Montréal. Known for his generous, supportive, and captivating teaching style, Mr. Vexo has taught master classes at Rice University, the Curtis Institute of Music, and Westminster Choir College.
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This recital series is made possible through financial support from St. Stephen’s Friends of Music. Tax deductible donations can be made to the organization, entitling you to admission to each concert and acknowledgement in the organ recital programs. Checks should be made payable to St. Stephen’s Church – Friends of Music. The following donation levels are available: Philanthropists $300+, Benefactors $200-$299, Patrons $100-$199, and Sponsors as able.
General admission tickets for each performance will be available at the door. A $10 cash donation is suggested. Children accompanied by an adult are welcome as guests. An artist’s reception will follow each performance. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is located at 119 Main Street in Millburn, New Jersey.