Described by the Chicago Tribune as "one of the most supremely gifted organists of his generation," Grammy award-winning organist Paul Jacobs unites technical skills of the first order with probing emotional artistry. His performances of new works and core recital and symphonic repertoire have transfixed audiences, colleagues and critics alike.
In the 2012/13 season, Paul Jacobs returns to the San Francisco Symphony for a solo performance of Bach's monumental Clavier-Übung III, complete with choral interludes. He joins Michael Christie and the Phoenix Symphony for a week of performances featuring the world premiere of Stephen Paulus' Organ Concerto and the Saint-Saïns Organ Symphony. He also performs the Saint-Saïns during a week with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, with an accompanying solo recital in the Segerstrom Concert Hall. He plays Lou Harrison's Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra in Miami Beach with the New World Symphony and works by Bach, Elgar and Boulanger for a Seattle Symphony recital. In addition to appearing in recital throughout the U.S., he performs Alexandre Guilmant's Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 42 with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra at Houston's Church of St. John the Divine. Internationally, Jacobs appears in Edmonton, Canada and at London's Westminster Cathedral for the 2012 Grand Organ Festival, where he will perform works by Elgar, Oquin, Bach, Boulanger and Demessieux.
In recent seasons, Jacobs performed Bach's Clavier-Übung III as part of Lincoln Center's White Light Festival, in a sold-out concert that served as the official re-inauguration of Alice Tully Hall's restored Kuhn organ. He joined Michael Tilson Thomas for performances of Copland's Organ Symphony with both the Chicago and San Francisco symphony orchestras, and appeared with the latter at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco and the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. His San Francisco Symphony performance of the Copland Organ Symphony was recorded and released on the SFSO label. He performed Janáček's Glagolitic Mass with Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony, and James Conlon and the Cincinnati Symphony for the orchestra's acclaimed May Festival.
Jacobs' recording of Messiaen's Livre du Saint Sacrement, released by Naxos in September 2010, was awarded the Best Solo Instrumental Grammy of the Year the first time a disc of solo organ music has ever received this honor.
Jacobs made musical history at the age of 23 when he played J.S. Bach's complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon performance on the 250th anniversary of the composer's death. He has also performed the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in marathon performances throughout North America, and recently reached the milestone of having performed in each of the fifty United States.
Prodigiously talented from his earliest years, at 15 Jacobs was appointed head organist of a parish of 3,500 in his hometown, Washington, Pennsylvania. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, double-majoring with John Weaver for the organ and Lionel Party for the 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. He received Juilliard's prestigious William Schuman Scholar's Chair in 2007.
In addition to his concert and teaching appearances, Jacobs is a frequent performer at festivals across the world, and has appeared on American Public Media's Pipedreams, Performance Today and Saint Paul Sunday, as well as NPR's Morning Edition, and ABC-TV's World News Tonight.