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Staff Report

NEW YORK, 27 JANUARY 2007— To mark the 300th anniversary of the composer’s death, John Scott, Organist and Director of Music at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue,  will perform Dietrich Buxtehude’s complete organ works in a series of Saturday afternoon recitals. Mr. Scott will perform on the Saint Thomas Taylor & Boody organ, built in 1996 and consisting of twenty-one stops over two manuals and pedals. The instrument is inspired by the tradition of organ building which was active in the Netherlands and North Germany in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

 Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707) was one of the most influential musicians and composers of his generation. Musicians throughout Europe, including both Bach and Handel, traveled long distances to hear his music and to learn from the German-Danish composer and organ virtuoso of St. Mary's Church, LĂĽbeck. Buxtehude made significant contributions to the spheres of vocal, chamber and instrumental music, yet he is most revered for his immense contribution to the organ repertoire.

A pre-Bach composer,  Buxtehude's brilliant and rhapsodic preludia and toccatas are characterized by a spontaneous, extroverted and improvisatory flair, whereas his chorales have an altogether more devotional, prayerful manner. In addition, Buxtehude composed a group of short fugal pieces for manuals only, without pedals, which are exquisite contrapuntal miniatures.

John Scott was born in 1956 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, where he became a cathedral chorister. While still at school he gained the diplomas of the Royal College of Organists and won the major prizes. In 1974 he became Organ Scholar of St. John’s College, Cambridge, where for four years he acted as assistant to Dr. George Guest and held the University’s John Stewart of Rannoch Scholarship in Sacred Music. His organ studies were with Jonathan Bielby, Ralph Downes, and Dame Gillian Weir. He made his debut in the 1977 Promenade Concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, playing Reubke’s Sonata on the 94th Psalm.

On leaving Cambridge, he was appointed Assistant Organist at London’s two Anglican cathedrals, St Paul’s and Southwark. During this time he won the first prizes from the Manchester and Leipzig J. S. Bach International Organ Competitions in 1978 and 1984 respectively.

In 1985 he became Sub-Organist of St Paul’s Cathedral. In 1990 he succeeded Dr. Christopher Dearnley as Organist and Director of Music at Saint Thomas Church.

The forty-five minute Saturday performances are free of charge.

Concert Dates and Times

February 3, 10, 17, 24 at 4 - 4:45 pm
March 31 at 4 - 4:45 pm
April 28 at 4 - 4:45 pm
May 12, 19, 26 at 4 - 4:45 pm

Saint Thomas Church
One West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
Tel: (1)  212 664 93 60 

Related CK Archives:

Interview: Olivier Latry, Titular Organist of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris

Compendium of Baroque Musical Instruments  

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