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Labor Day Concert: Martin Schmeding

As part of the series of jury concerts taking place over the week of the Boston Bach International Organ Competition, jury member Martin Schmeding of Leipzig plays the annual Labor Day concert at First Lutheran Church, a program of music by Bach, Bruhns, Frescobaldi, Grigny, Krebs, Medek, Mendelssohn, van Noordt, Scheidemann, and Steigleder.

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Boston Bach International Organ Competition

The inaugural Boston Bach International Organ Competition takes place September 2-9 and is open to emerging artists of any nationality who have completed their schooling and are between the ages of 26 and 37. Sixteen contestants will arrive during the last week of August to prepare for the three rounds of the competition. The BBIOC is quadrennial like its Leipzig counterpart, and is intended to

  • promote further artistic development of players already engaged in professional careers,
  • increase the general public’s awareness of the breadth and scope of Bach’s organ music; and
  • showcase Boston as a leading center of historically informed organ building and performance practice, and home to many internationally prominent organists.

The jury consists of Arvid Gast (Lübeck), Chair; James David Christie (Boston-Oberlin), Christian Lane (Boston-McGill), Hatsumi Miura (Yokohama-Ferris), Christa Rakich (Hartford), Martin Schmeding (Leipzig), and Carole Terry (Seattle). Competition rounds take place in order at Old West Church, Church of the Advent, and First Lutheran Church. Jury concerts will be held in order at First Lutheran Church, King’s Chapel, Harvard Memorial Church, Trinity Church, and the Church of the Advent. Arvid Gast plays a Sunday afternoon concert out in Worcester at St. Joseph’s Chapel, Holy Cross College, and a winners’ concert will cap the week at First Lutheran later that evening.

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Bach & The Romantics

Rising star Wyatt Smith performs on the magnificent Paul Fritts Baroque organ at the Church of the Ascension in Seattle works by J. S. Bach (Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542, and three Chorale Preludes), Felix Mendelssohn (Sonata No. 4), Johannes Brahms (Chorale Preludes “Herzliebster Jesu” and “Herzlich tut mich verlangen,” op. 122 nos. 2 and 10), and Max Reger (two pf the Seven Pieces for Organ), op. 145 nos. 1 and 2).

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Center Stage, October 2017: Lenora McCroskey

Center stage-2

Lenora McCroskey

Lenora McCroskey

Dr. Lenora McCroskey is professor emeritus of music in the College of Music at the University of North Texas. Prior to her appointment at UNT, Dr. McCroskey was on the faculties of Stetson University, the Longy School in Cambridge, MA, the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, and was Assistant Organist/Choirmaster in the Memorial Church at Harvard University.  She led the choral group, Musica Sacra, when she lived in Cambridge and has been founder or co-founder of several historical instrument ensembles.  She is a Fellow of the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute (now the Radcliffe Institute) of Radcliffe College.  In her “retirement,” she is Director of Music at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Denton, has written the performance practice preface to the new edition of Grigny’s Premier Livre d’Orgue (Leupold Editions) and is a member of the ensemble, Sonare. She is on various committees and boards of the Dallas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Denton Bach Society, where she is guest conductor of an upcoming program of Luther-inspired choral works in November

How did you come to the field of Early Music?

When I was an undergraduate at Stetson University, my organ professor, Paul Jenkins, took several of us on an organ tour of Europe which included the Haarlem Organ Festival. I took classes from Gustav Leonhardt and Anton Heiller. I was entranced with their knowledge of the background of the music and the instruments. I was hooked and was sure I wanted to study musicology. Went to Harvard for grad school and it took me a week to realize that musicology wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to study performance practices!  Oops. Well, I stuck it out and got the master’s degree and then went to Amsterdam for a year to study with Leonhardt. I also studied continuo with Veronica Hampe. Both Harvard and the Amsterdam year changed my life!

Sonare, all 5 in SC

Lenora McCroskey (second from left) and members of the ensemble “Sonare” in South Carolina.


Tell us about one of your most memorable concert experiences.

There have been so many—I’m old! The most recent memorable concert was conducting a Pentecost Vespers Service in Dallas this past June. Wonderful early music singers (8) and historical instrument players (10)—the very best. We did the propers from 16th century Lutheran service books; Psalms of Buxtehude, Schein, and Tunder; Schütz Magnificat (SWV 494) colle parte; and a Hammerschmidt, Verleih uns Frieden. Also included were chorales of the day set for organ, choir, and/or congregation.  Collaborated with Michael Shake at King of Glory Lutheran in Dallas. Totally amazing!

As a long-time early music educator, what do you feel is one of the most useful or important pieces of advice you tend to give students?

“Play the music the way it goes.” Sounds simplistic, but it implies that the student has studied the performance traditions and practices of the music; mastered the techniques; and then allows all that to stay in the background and plays from the heart. The personality and expression of the player can then shine through while being true to the music. Makes for a stellar and unique performance.


If you could have a meal with any composer of early music, who would it be and what would you eat?

This one is hard! Frescobaldi and wild boar in Italy; Élisabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre de la Guerre and a yummy country pâté; William Byrd and trifle; of course, Bach and white asparagus; the list could go on!

Unexpectedly, you have two hours of free time later today… what will you do?

Look at Facebook to see what former students—and their children—are up to! One of the great joys of being my age is seeing my former students so successful. There are so many of them and I am very grateful!

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