by Daniel Hathaway
New York-based concert organist Paul Jacobs played solo works by Johannes Brahms and Johann Sebastian Bach on the first half of a Cleveland Orchestra program in February of 2015 and was featured with the Orchestra in Aaron Copland’s Organ Symphony in September of 2016. Jacobs will return to Severance Hall this weekend to take the solo role in Stephen Paulus’ Grand Concerto for Organ and Orchestra with Giancarlo Guerrero on the podium.
“Some composers find the organ daunting — understandably so — and will avoid writing for it altogether,” Jacobs said in a telephone conversation from his studio at the Juilliard School, where he heads the organ department. “But Stephen was someone who embraced the instrument, understood it, and composed very beautifully for it.”
Paulus, a prolific composer who lived and worked in the Twin Cities, wrote four concertos for organ and orchestra before he died of a stroke in 2014. “I premiered the fourth concerto with the Phoenix Symphony a year or two before he passed away, so I got to interact with him a bit — and what a tragedy his death was for us all,” Jacobs said. [Read more…]