If you want to be an outstanding young organ virtuoso, choose an organ builder as your father and an organist/choirmaster as your mother. Grow up absorbing their musical passion and knowledge and developing an intimate familiarity with the noble instrument. Build on that background and stay connected with it, while further refining your art and making musical explorations on your own. And so it is with young Stephen Buzard, who presents the Recording Premiere of the Buzard Pipe Organ, Op. 37. This is a stunning program, designed to allow the Op. 37 to be heard in its wide range of colors. Stephen’s brilliance as a performer, with a deep understanding of the music and the instrument, is unmistakable. But a surprise standout gem that lingers in the memory is Stephen’s own transcription of “Du Bist die Ruh.” In its eloquent simplicity, this well-loved art song sounds as if the composer might have meant for it to be played just this way, in a quiet church on just such a beautiful organ. (“You are the quietness / The mild peace / You are longing / And what stills it.”)
Stephen is the winner of the 2009 Joan Lippincott Competition for Excellence in Organ Performance. In his final year at Westminster Choir College, studying organ performance with Ken Cowan, he serves as Organ Scholar at Trinity Episcopal Church, Princeton, as well as Director of Music for the Episcopal Church at Princeton University. He has been appointed Senior Organ Scholar at Wells Cathedral in England for 2010-2011. This instrument of 43 Stops and 56 Ranks of pipes is the 37th new organ built by Buzard Pipe Organ Builders of Champaign, Illinois. The Church’s downtown Sanctuary was completed in 2005, and the new organ arrived in June of 2008, being completed by the first of August.
Mendelssohn: Sonata IV; Schubert-Buzard: “Du bist die Ruh”; Paulus: “Blithely breezing along”; Vierne: Symphonie III, Op. 28: Adagio – Final; Howells: Psalm-Prelude Set. II No. 2; Reubke: Sonata on the 94th Psalm