Patrick Allen, Organist and Master of Choristers
(212) 254-2000 ext. 110
Patrick Allen, Conductor, Harpsichordist, and Organist is a native of Tallahassee, Florida. He recently celebrated his twelfth anniversary as Organist and Master of Choristers at Grace Church in New York where he is overseeing the development and installation of a new 74 stop, four manual organ being built by the firm of Taylor and Boody in Stanton, Virginia. In addition to his work training the choristers, conducting the Choir of Men and Boys, Girls’ Choir, and Adult Choir, and supporting the liturgies of Grace Church, he founded and plays with his colleague Stephen Tharp, the “Bach at Noon” and “Weekend Organ Meditation” series at the Church. Combined, live organ music is offered to the community as meditation six days a week from September through May.
Allen’s keyboard repertoire is diverse ranging from that at the formation of the medium during the Renaissance to music being created today. His approach is fresh and forward looking, a dynamic style that realizes the spirit of the composer’s aesthetic for the listener to have a warm, vital experience, live and in the moment.
This approach has led him through a long career associated with institutions that place a high priority on the role of music as defining, formative and centering in the lives of their communities. Prior to his current appointment located at the cross roads of the world, Union Square in Manhattan, he has served churches and synagogues in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, New York and Texas. Previous appointments include Director of Music and Fine Arts at Independent Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, The Cathedral Church of Saint John and Congregation Beth Emeth in Wilmington, Delaware, and as Associate Organist under Gerre Hancock, Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. For two decades he was on the faculty of the legendary Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.
Allen has received degrees from the University of North Texas and The Florida State University. He was awarded the degree Doctor of Musical Arts and The Performer’s Certificate in Organ from the Eastman School of Music as a student of Russell Saunders. In Amsterdam, Allen worked with Gustav Leonhardt, Max van Egmond, and Veronika Hampe. In 1988 he was a finalist in the American Guild of Organists National Open Young Artists Competition. He has been heard as soloist on the organ and harpsichord and in many chamber music programs throughout the United States and Europe. With the Choir of Men and Boys and Girls’ Choir of Grace Church he has toured Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Allen has recorded with The Saint Thomas Choir on the Koch and Priory labels.
“A Still, Small Voice of Calm: Pastoral Work within the Children’s Choir,” Patrick Allen, The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, Vol. 11/4, April 2002.
Read it here!
Stephen Tharp is the first person to be appointed Artist in Residence at Grace Church. This position was created in the Fall of 2007. Having held a similar position for nearly two years at Historic St. Peter’s Church, Perth Amboy, NJ – the oldest Episcopal parish in the state – he also served as Associate Organist at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Manhattan, from 1998-2002, and was Organist at St. Patrick’s Cathedral from 1995-1997. A native of Chicago, Stephen received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Illinois College (Jacksonville) and his M.M. from Northwestern University.
Known today as the most traveled concert organist of his generation, his 35 intercontinental tours and more than 1300 concerts worldwide have included performances at such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, London; Cologne Cathedral, Germany; Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow; the Hong Kong Cultural Centre; the Crystal Cathedral; the Riverside Church, NY and the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia. He has 12 commercial CDs to his credit and is married to Maria Helena Tharp, Organist at St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church here in Chelsea.
Stephen Tharp’s newest CD release, the Complete Organ Works of Jeanne Demessieux on Aeolus Recordings, has just been awarded the prestigeous Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Germany ‘s top critic’s prize for recordings. Established in 1963, the award was “inaugurated to set the most rigorous standards for achievement in the field of recording, comprising 114 music critics, writers and editors from German speaking countries.”
Prizes are awarded based on the excellence of interpretation, outstanding creativity and the importance of the repertoire. The current winners list also includes soprano Cecilia Bartoli, the Philadelphia Orchestra (Christoph Eschenbach, conductor), Bach Collegium Japan (Masaaki Suzuki, director) and pianist Marc-André Hamelin.