Organist gives special recital
Frederick Swann, the national president of the American Guild of Organists is considered by his peers to be one of the most distinguished and esteemed organists in the world. He will be in the Rogue Valley to perform a concert on the 3-manual Schoenstein pipe organ. The Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will host the free recital at — p.m. Sunday, April 29, in the First Presbyterian Church, Eighth and Holly streets, Medford.
The eclectic and varied program will feature works by Buxtehude, Langlais, Rheinberger, Wright, Erismann and Guilmant.
Swann has served as principal organist commanding three of the largest church organs in the world &
the five-manual instruments at the Riverside Church in New York City (1957-1982), the Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim, California (1982-1998), and the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles (1998-2001). He presently serves as organ Artist-in-Residence at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif.
Swann performs frequently with symphony orchestras and choral organizations. In 2002, he was named Performer of the Year by the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He recently has been heard in the Cathedral in Cologne, Germany; Westminster Abbey in London; and in many cities coast to coast in the United States and abroad including Shostakovitch Symphony Hall in St. Petersburg, and Tchaikovsky Symphony Hall in Moscow.
Other recitals have been performed at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, and on the world's largest functioning pipe organ in the Lord and Taylor Department Store (now Macy's) in Philadelphia. In July 2006 he played recitals in Australia at the Town Hall, St. Mary's Cathedral, and Opera House in Sydney, and the Town Hall and St. Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne. On his 75th birthday he played a recital at Riverside Church in New York, in observance of the 75th anniversary of the church.
Swann is Organist Emeritus of the Crystal Cathedral and of First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, and Organ Artist-in-residence at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif. A native of Virginia, Swann began the study of piano at a very early age and was appointed to his first church position at age 10. He holds degrees from Northwestern University and the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary, each granted "with distinction."
In 1957, Swann was appointed organist of The Riverside Church in New York, and in late 1966 was appointed director of music as well. He remained at that post through 1982. In addition, he was director of music and organist of the Interchurch Center (1960-1967), was for 10 years chair of the organ department at the Manhattan School of Music, and served on the faculties of the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary as well as Teacher's College of Columbia University, New York.
In 1982, Frederick Swann was appointed Director of Music and Organist of the famed Crystal Cathedral, where he remained for 16 years.
During his tenure at the Cathedral he was widely regarded as the most visible organist in the world, as millions in every major city in more than 165 countries worldwide saw and heard him on the weekly televised services from the Cathedral. Upon his retirement in 1998 he was named organist in residence at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, where he presided over a five-manual organ of 346 ranks, perhaps the largest organ in any church in the world. In addition to playing services, Swann played two noon-day recitals each week, guided the Organ Artists Concert Series, served as organist for the Los Angeles Bach Festival, and founded and directed Organ Alive, a highly regarded annual organ conference.
In 2002, Swann was elected the national president of the American Guild of Organists and has since been elected to two additional two-year terms in that office. His involvement with the American Guild of Organists spans more than 60 years.
Widely known as an outstanding artist for dedications of new instruments, Swann was chosen to inaugurate the organ at Orchestra Hall in Chicago in a sold-out concert for music for organ with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1981. He performed one of the inaugural concerts on the new organ in Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, and was soloist with the San Francisco Symphony for the opening of the new organ in Davies Symphony Hall. In 2004, Swann was engaged to play the Inaugural solo recital on the new organ at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Although officially "retired" Swann maintains a reduced schedule of recitals. In the 2006-07 season Swann is limiting his recital appearances to 12, which makes his Medford appearance a special occasion.