Weston Jennings on finding the right bench height, your favorite repertoire, and letting the instrument tell you what it wants
Welcome to Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast #106!
Today's guest is an American organist Weston Jennings who is quickly establishing himself as a talented and engaging international performer.
We recorded this conversation before his concert at Vilnius University St. John's church which was about a month ago on July 1. On his thoughtful program - works of Felix Mendelssohn, Edwin Lemare, Arvo Pärt, Johannes Brahms, David Conte and, of course, Johann Sebastian Bach.
Having first encountered the pipe organ at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp (Michigan) at the age of sixteen, Weston later graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy. At the Eastman School of Music, Weston earned his Bachelor of Music Degree and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate.
He recently completed two years in England as the Organ Scholar of Canterbury Cathedral and Chelmsford Cathedral. During this time, he was also appointed the first Organ Scholar to the Royal Festival Hall, London.
Weston currently studies with Thomas Murray at the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Former organ teachers include Michel Bouvard, Hans Davidsson, David Higgs and Thomas Bara. Following his recital debut at The Kennedy Center (Washington, DC) in 2009, he has performed across the United States and Europe, including Westminster Abbey (London), Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue (New York), The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Los Angeles), The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Denver), the Chapel of the Queen’s College (Oxford), Royaumont Abbey (France), and the Berliner Dom (Germany) and St Paul's Cathedral (London).
On the Newberry Memorial Organ of Woolsey Hall, Weston has performed with The Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale, The Yale Concert Band, and The Yale Symphony Orchestra. As a part of the London Handel Festival, he collaborated with the Apollo Baroque Consort in a concert of Handel Organ Concertos from Mayfair’s Grosvenor Chapel.
Weston is an enthusiastic advocate for new music and has
premiered compositions by Molly Joyce, Soosan Lolavar, Mark Carroll, and Allison Willis. His performances and interviews have been broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
Committed to the education of new organists, Weston presently serves as Instructor of Undergraduate and Secondary Organ at Yale College. He has served on the faculty of the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, the Department of Music at The King’s School, Canterbury, and taught and performed at several Pipe Organ Encounters across America.
Forthcoming recital engagements include St. George’s Chapel of Windsor Castle, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Moscow), Hildesheim Cathedral (Germany), and Kelvingrove Art Gallery (Glasgow).
In this conversation Weston shares his insights on finding the right bench height, your favorite repertoire, and letting the instrument tell you what it wants.
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Listen to the conversation
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.