Dorothy Papadakos was mentored as an improviser by Paul Halley before succeeding him as the first woman to be Cathedral Organist of the world’s largest gothic cathedral, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Some of her other teachers include Gerre Hancock, Dennis Keene, Jon Gillock and Lee Erwin. She often accompanies the silent films of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton & Harold Lloyd.
Concert organist McNeil Robinson has been praised by the international press as one of America’s leading virtuosos especially as an improviser. One of the most prominent musicians in New York City, McNeil Robinson has been organist and choirmaster at Park Avenue Synagogue since 1966 and served as music director and organist for Park Avenue Christian Church (1984–2007). Prior to his appointment at Park Avenue Christian, Robinson led a legendary music program for the Church of St. Mary the Virgin for two decades. Concurrently, he was director of music for the Church of the Holy Family, the parish church of the United Nations (1967–1978), and as director of music at the Trinity Institute, Trinity Church Wall Street (1970–1976). He served as Director of Music and Organist at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church until his deteriorating health forced him to retire. He passed away on May 9, 2015.
A graduate of the Juilliard School, Robinson is now chairman of the organ department of the Manhattan School of Music. His students (such as Justin Bischof and Jason Roberts) have won top awards in national and international organ competitions. He is also active as a conductor and has recorded for a number of commercial record labels including Decca and Musical Heritage Society.
Born in 1979, Jean-Baptiste Dupont began his musical studies at the piano. He discovered the organ later, at the age of 12 and began organ studies at the Institute of Sacred Music of Toulouse. He graduated with distinction from the organ departement at the Conservatoire in Toulouse. His teachers have included Michel Bouvard, Louis Robilliard, Philippe Lefebvre, Jan Willem Jansen and Thérèse Dussaut. He received the 1st prize (improvisation) in St-Albans international competition in July 2009.
In April 2012, Jean-Baptiste Dupont became the organist of the Bordeaux Cathedral.
Jason Roberts was recently appointed as Associate Director of Music and Organist as well as the Director of the Boy and Girl Choristers at St. Bart’s in New York City. For the past seven years Jason has served St. James’s Church in West Hartford, CT, where he built one of the largest choral programs in the Hartford area which including 35 children and over 30 adults. He holds degrees from Rice University, Yale University and the Manhattan School of Music. Dr. Robert’s teachers have included Clyde Holloway, Martin Jean, and McNeil Robinson. His teachers have included Clyde Holloway, Martin Jean, and McNeil Robinson. An avid improvisor, he won first prize at the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation in 2008 and was a finalist at the St. Alban’s International Organ Competition in 2011 (Improvisation).
Having played more than 1400 concerts across 43 tours worldwide, Stephen Tharp has built one of the most well-respected international careers in the world, earning him the reputation as the most traveled concert organist of his generation. He is an important champion of new organ music, and continues to commission and premiere numerous compositions for the instrument. The first such piece was Jean Guillou’s symphonic poem Instants, Op. 57, which Tharp premiered at King’s College, Cambridge, England in February 1998. Works dedicated to him include George Baker’s Variations on “Rouen” (2009) and David Briggs’ Toccata Labyrinth (2006).
Stephen Tharp earned his BA degree, magna cum laude, from Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL and his MM from Northwestern University, Chicago, where he studied with Rudolf Zuiderveld and Wolfgang Rübsam, respectively. He has also worked privately with Jean Guillou in Paris.
Bruce Neswick is an associate professor of organ at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and previously was director of music at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. He was formerly the organist and choirmaster of St. Philip’s Cathedral in Atlanta for many years.
Great Hymns Of Faith
University Of Texas Chamber Singers under the direction of James Morrow
Gerre Hancock provides fabulous improvised hymn accompaniments, interludes, and free improvisations based upon hymn tunes on the Visser-Rowland at the University of Texas at Austin.
Organist, conductor, pianist, coach, producer, educator, and composer Justin Bischof won first prize in the 2000 American Guild of Organists National Improvisation Competition held in Seattle. He received a doctor of musical arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 1998 where he studied with McNeil Robinson.