Next week I’ll be hosting organist Jonathan Dimmock who will be here from San Francisco to play the organ part of the Duruflé Requiem performance on November 1st. Jonathan, along with Dana Marsh (who was in Hawaii recently to conduct the Early Music Hawaii concert), is someone we met years ago through our common friend of Peter Hallock.
The last time I think we saw Jonathan and his partner, George Emblom, was in February 2014, when my late husband, Carl Crosier, and I were in Seattle essentially saying “goodbye” to family and friends following Carl’s cancer diagnosis. Jonathan and George just happened to be visiting Seattle the same weekend — no, it was not planned! It was then that I approached Jonathan about coming to Hawaii to play the Duruflé.
If you go to Jonathan’s website, you’ll read this: Organist, Jonathan Dimmock is well-known internationally as a recitalist, choral conductor, accompanist, continuo player, ensemble musician and church organist. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory and Yale University, he has held musical posts at Westminster Abbey (London), and three American cathedrals: St. John the Divine (New York), St. Mark’s (Minneapolis), and Grace (San Francisco). He is currently the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, and Organist & Choir Director at St. Ignatius Church and Congregation Sherith Israel (both in San Francisco). A Grammy Award winner for his work with the San Francisco Symphony, he has recorded more than 35 CDs and toured widely on five continents. He has been interviewed and featured on numerous radio and television stations including National Public Radio, Radio France, BBC3, ABC (Australia), MTV2 (Budapest), BCC (Barbados), and SABC (South Africa). His teachers and mentors include Gillian Weir, Simon Preston, Jean Langlais, Peter Hallock, Haskell Thomson, William Porter, Thomas Murray, Harald Vogel, J. Franklin Clark, Paul Halley, Naji Hakim, and Frédéric Blanc. He is co-founder of the highly acclaimed American Bach Soloists, founding director of Artists’ Vocal Ensemble (AVE), and founding President of Resonance, using music in international conflict resolution. He is deeply committed to healing our broken world through the beauty of music, and talks eagerly on the subjects of spirituality, psychology, aesthetics, and the Arts.
The last time Jonathan and George were in Hawaii was in January 2011, which was during Carl’s marathon retirement season. I went back to my post “January breather” where I wrote that Jonathan played the organ prelude and postlude for the German Vespers on January 2, 2011. In the same service, he also played the harpsichord for the Kuhnau Magnificat and Bach Cantata 28. George, also an organist, played the continuo organ for Praetorius “Nun helf mir Gottes Güte schon preisen” which was done in the “Quempas” style — which alternated four soloists and accompaniments with two organs and two harpsichords placed in all four corners of the LCH nave. What fun that was!
Jonathan travels all over the world playing organ concerts and was in Australia just a couple of weeks ago. We thought it would have been convenient for him to stop here on his way back, but because his visit would have occurred during Hawaii Opera Theatre’s The Magic Flute, we decided it would be too difficult to schedule the concert and rehearsals with all the singers and instrumentalists in the same week.
He writes a fascinating blog, and his latest entry was about playing the Haydn Lord Nelson Mass under the baton of renowned pianist Andras Schiff. (You might recall that it was this piece that Carl programmed for his last service on August 21, 2011 — as the Ordinary!) Jonathan writes: “The organ continuo part for this piece is an obligato part which Haydn himself wrote out. It contains the writing that would normally be for woodwinds, in addition to the organ continuo itself. Schiff seemed to revel in these moments when my part was a solo, showing me considerable eye contact and always smiling. At the conclusion of the final performance, he singled me out, walking through the orchestra to shake my hand. That was truly an honor I’m not likely to ever forget. The irony, however, was that, of the several hundred people on stage, I was the only one not listed in the program!” (Read the complete blog entry here.)
Oh, Jonathan, that has happened to me every single time I have played with the Symphony here — even when I played the organ solo in the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony! But perhaps it was because I was only contracted for the gig just ten days before the concert, and the programs were already printed!
Well, Jonathan’s picture and bio are definitely in the program for the Duruflé Requiem. Get the details on the concert here.