Jack Mitchener is recognized as one of the leading concert organists and teachers in his generation. He has been praised for playing that is technically brilliant, yet expressive and poetic. According to The American Organist, “Mitchener brings music to life with his supple rhythmic control, clear phrasing, energy, and sensitivity.” In response to his recording on the historic Salem Tannenberg organ, Dulcet Tones, a reviewer for the International Record Review of London asserted: “Superb…an impressive and rather moving listening experience.”
Dr. Mitchener has concertized extensively throughout the USA, Europe, and Asia, and many of his performances have been heard in television and radio broadcasts such as American Public Media’s Pipe Dreams hosted by Michael Barone. He has performed in notable venues such as the Church of St. Sulpice and the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris; St. Thomas Church, New York City; Duke University Chapel; the Church of St. Augustine (Augustinerkirche) in Vienna; the Church of St. James (Jacobikirche) in Lübeck, Germany; and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. He also has collaborated with renowned musicians such as Nick Eanet (Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), the Mendelssohn and Ying String Quartets, lutenist Paul O’Dette, and composer John Corigliano. While still an undergraduate student, he was the national winner of the Music Teachers National Association Organ Competition. Later he was a laureate in the Philadelphia AGO and Dublin International organ competitions. He records for the Raven and Albany labels.
He has performed the complete organ works of J. S. Bach in a series of fifteen recitals and also has given recitals, lectures, and master classes for national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, the Music Teachers National Association, the Historical Keyboard Society in North America, the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Fellowship of United Methodist Musicians, and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. He has been a guest performer and teacher at numerous universities throughout the USA including Duke, Syracuse, Notre Dame, North Texas, UNC-Greensboro, Kansas, Binghamton, Pacific Lutheran, among others, as well as institutions in Hong Kong and Japan. He also has premiered works by Emma Lou Diemer, Dan Locklair, Margaret Vardell Sandresky, and Robert Ward (winner of the Pulitzer Prize).
His major teachers include Marie-Claire Alain, David Craighead, David Higgs, John Mueller, and Russell Saunders (organ); Gerre Hancock (improvisation); James Cobb, Louise Leach, Kimberly Kabala, and Clifton Matthews (piano); and Arthur Haas and Huguette Dreyfus (harpsichord). He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts, two master’s degrees, and two Performer’s Certificates in organ and harpsichord from The Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. During his studies at the Conservatoire National de Rueil-Malmaison, France, he was unanimously awarded the Médaille d’or (Gold Medal), Prix d’Excellence, and Prix de Virtuosité. His high school diploma and bachelor’s degree are from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and he also studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan.
Since 2012 Dr. Mitchener has served as Director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music, University Organist and Professor of Organ in the Townsend School of Music at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He has a full studio of undergraduate and graduate organ majors.
For the American Guild of Organists, Jack Mitchener has been a chapter dean and board member and also a member of the National Committee on Professional Education. In this capacity, he helped to plan and execute national pedagogy conferences for the AGO including one held at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. He also has served as an adjudicator for numerous competitions including those on the national level for the AGO as well as the Biarritz International Competition in France. He is a former President of the Board of Trustees of the Moravian Music Foundation, is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, and has been cited in numerous Who’s Who publications. He is represented by Penny Lorenz Artist Management of Seattle, Washington. For more information about recordings and future performances, visit www.jackmitchener.com.
"Mitchener played throughout the evening with polish and style, whether in the varied French works (F. Couperin, Dupré, Franck, Messiaen, Milhaud, and Saint-Saëns) or in Bach's Great Fugue in G Major (the Gigue)"
- The Greensboro News and Record
"Mitchener's playing matched the diverse challenges this program set. The audience was immediately on its feet as the Dupré notes died away."
- The Greensboro News and Record
"Mitchener's playing was always poetic and quietly confident. He brought a particularly rare eloquence to Franck's Chorale in B minor."
- Classical Voice of North Carolina (CVNC online)
"An excellent recital by Jack Mitchener, whose program displayed a technique both facile and expressive and an originality that never lapsed into the mannered."
- The American Organist
"His playing possesses great power and solidity. This was a very impressive performance in every way."
- The Diapason
I remember with deep gratitude the splendid recitals you gave at Wofford College and at Central United Methodist Church. You showed yourself a genuine MASTER of the art of organ playing and of dealing with difficult people. You leave behind a trail of great admirers.
With highest personal regards.
Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC
Thank you again for doing such a great job for us at Kansas University. Your playing was absolutely first-rate. It was interesting repertoire that we don't hear often and your playing showed it off to great effect. It was technically brilliant and completely convincing musically. The recital was on the same level as the other great recitals we have had over the years on this series.
We also really appreciated the lecture and class. You presented a lot of information about Ropartz in a short time period and gave us a new appreciation for his music. The master class showed your abilities as an outstanding teacher. I was especially impressed with your work on the Bach A Minor prelude. It was very musical and gave me a new set of ideas to work with as I teach this piece myself.
All the best,
Professor of Organ and Church Music,
University of Kansas (KU)
Dear Dr. Mitchener:
Thank you again for your wonderful performance on Friday evening. It was without a doubt the best ever on the Chapel organ which over its 33 years has experienced some fine performances. Your registrations were fantastic, and so appropriate. Your ability to make that "early" music come alive was very real--an incredible evening of great music making.
Please keep on performing--the organ world needs individuals who can make audiences excited about the instrument and its music--you can do this. My church has had an organ committee for 10 years, no instrument yet. SHOULD we ever get one, I will put your name down to play the dedication.
We have been doing Bach-Handel Festival for 22 years, your program was #86 in the series. It will be remembered as one of the best.
Again, Many thanks.
Steven Cooksey, Director
Reviews of CD Recordings
Dulcet Tones: Jack Mitchener Plays the Salem Tannenberg (Raven Recordings)
"An important disc in musical terms. Jack Mitchener's performances are very good indeed, in terms of tempos, registration, and in phrasing."
"I have been particularly taken by his account of the Homilius piece."
"The music by Haydn and Graun is well worth investigating."
"Each of the pieces on this disc benefits from this fine musician's playing."
"Superb…an impressive and rather moving listening experience"
"This very well-filled CD is a rare treat."
- The International Record Review (reprinted in The Organ, Feb-April 2010)
"This recording is like a breath of fresh air..."
"Jack Mitchener's playing is brilliant and sensitive."
- The Diapason
"Mitchener brings all of this music to life with his supple rhythmic control, clear phrasing, energy, and sensitivity." - The American Organist
"Mitchener has a flair for the Italian style, effected through his clear articulations and dramatic sense of timing"
"He expertly brings out the unique features of each variation [Pachelbel, Ciacona in F minor] while also melding them into a larger structure."
"The intimacy of the Pastorella [Bach] benefits from the chamber-like quality of the pipe voicing and from the organist's sensitive contrasts of touch."
"Mitchener makes the transition from baroque to classical performance effortlessly."
- HORP Report
Silent Night (Christmas CD with the Bel Canto Company)
"Sir David Willcocks's classic arrangement of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" is gloriously rendered and features a dazzling organ improvisation by Jack Mitchener."
- Winston-Salem Journal