The ST. CECILIA RECITAL was established in 2007 through the generosity of Marianne Webb, Professor of Music and Distinguished University Organist at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, in gratitude to God for a lifelong career as a concert organist and educator. Miss Webb’s endowment, established in perpetuity, will present world-renowned concert organists in recital during the biennial National Conventions of the American Guild of Organists.
The 2014 St. Cecilia Recital is presented with the cooperation, generosity, and partnering efforts of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA.
Stephen Tharp is one of today’s most internationally prolific concerts organists. In recognition of his more than fourteen hundred concerts worldwide, he received the 2011 International Performer of the Year Award from the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists, considered by many to be the highest honor given to organists by a professional musicians’ guild in the United States. His fourteen commercial recordings, including the complete organ works of Jeanne Demessieux and releases from such venues as Saint-Sulpice, Paris, and St. Bavo, Haarlem, the Netherlands, have won awards including the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik—Germany’s most prestigious critics’ prize—and the French Diapason 5.
Mr. Tharp is a champion of new organ music and has commissioned works from composers Samuel Adler, George Baker, David Briggs, Thierry Escaich, Eugenio Fagiani, Jean Guillou, Philip Moore, Anthony Newman, Martha Sullivan, and Morgan Simmons. A composer himself, he was commissioned by Cologne Cathedral, in 2006, to write Easter Fanfares for the dedication of the Cathedral’s new tuba chamades. He also composed Disney’s Trumpets, in 2011, for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and premiered it there in concert that same year.
A Chicago native, Mr. Tharp holds degrees from Northwestern University and Illinois College (Jacksonville), where he studied organ with Wolfgang Rübsam and Rudolf Zuiderveld, respectively. He has also studied privately with Jean Guillou in Paris. He is currently the associate director of music at the Church of Our Saviour in New York City.