Concerts » Stephen Tharp, USA
Stephen Tharp, one of the most brilliant concert organists around these days earned his BA degree, magna cum laude, from Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL and his MM from Northwestern University, Chicago, where he studied with Rudolf Zuiderveld and Wolfgang Rübsam, respectively. He has also worked privately with Jean Guillou in Paris.
He has given master classes at Yale University; Westminster Choir College; the Cleveland Institute of Music, Bethel University (St. Paul, MN), Rice University (Houston, TX); the Hochschulen für Musik in Stuttgart, Trossingen and Bochum (Germany); and for chapters of the American Guild of Organists. He has also adjudicated for competitions at the Juilliard School, Northwestern University and served more recently as Juror for the Grand Prix de Chartres 2018.
Stephen Tharp, hailed as “the organist for the connoisseur” (organ – Journal für die Orgel, Germany), “the thinking person’s performer” (Het Orgel), “every bit the equal of any organist” (The American Organist” magazine) and “the consummate creative artist” (Michael Barone, Pipedreams), is recognized as one of the great concert organists of our age.
Having played more than 1600 concerts across 62 tours worldwide, Stephen Tharp has built one of the most well-respected international careers in the world, earning him the reputation as the most traveled concert organist of his generation. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World, and has been given the 2011 International Performer of the Year Award by the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists. In May 2015, he was given the Paul Creston Award which recognizes artistic excellence by a significant figure in church music and the performing arts.
Stephen Tharp remains an important champion of new organ music, and continues to commission and premiere numerous compositions for the instrument. The first such piece was Jean Guillou’s symphonic poem Instants, Op. 57, which Tharp premiered at King’s College, Cambridge, England in February 1998. Works dedicated to him include George Baker’s Prière Grégorienne (2018), Danse Diabolique (2016), Variations on “Rouen” (2010); David Briggs’ Toccata Labyrinth (2006); Samuel Adler’s Sonata (2005); Eugenio Fagiani’s Psalm 100 (2009) and Stèle (2003); Thierry Escaich’s Trois Poèmes (2002); Philip Moore’s Sinfonietta (2001); Anthony Newman’s Tombeau d’Igor Stravinsky (2000), Toccata and Fuga Sinfonica on BACH (1999) and the Second Symphony (1992); Martha Sullivan’s Slingshot Shivaree for Organ and Percussion (1999); and Morgan Simmons Exercitatio Fantastica (1997). Himself a composer, Tharp was commissioned by Cologne Cathedral, Germany to compose for Easter Sunday, 2006 his Easter Fanfares for the inauguration of the organ’s new en chamade Tuba stops, as well Disney’s Trumpets, composed in February 2011 for the organ at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, where it was premiered by the composer the following month.