Director of Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music
Jack Mitchener is Professor of Organ, University Organist and Director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music in the Townsend School of Music at Mercer University. In addition, he is Artist-in-Residence at Christ Church, Episcopal, in Macon, Georgia.
Recognized as one of the leaders in the field of American organ pedagogy and performance, Jack Mitchener has concertized extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Many of his performances have been heard in broadcasts such as American Public Media’s Pipe Dreams. In addition, 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 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. He has been a guest performer and teacher at numerous universities throughout the USA including Duke, Syracuse, Notre Dame, North Texas, Southern Methodist (SMU), UNC-Greensboro, Kansas, Binghamton, Pacific Lutheran, among others, as well as Hong Kong Baptist University and Obirin and Rikkyo Universities in Japan. He also has premiered works by Emma Lou Diemer, Dan Locklair, Margaret Vardell Sandresky, and Robert Ward (winner of the Pulitzer Prize).
He has performed the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach 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 and the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, as well as conferences for the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Fellowship of United Methodist Musicians, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians.
Jack Mitchener’s major teachers include Marie-Claire Alain, David Craighead, David Higgs, John Mueller, Robert Murphy 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 degree, 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 awarded, by unanimous decision of the jury, the Médaille d’or (harpsichord), Prix d’Excellence (organ), and Prix de Virtuosité (organ). 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. While still an undergraduate student, he was the national winner of the Music Teachers National Association Organ Competition. He later won the Philadelphia AGO Competition and was a laureate in the Dublin International Organ Competition.
A former professor at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Dr. Mitchener also has taught on the faculties of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Salem College, the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and the Eastman Community Music School. In addition, he has served as a church musician (organist and choirmaster) for congregations in Georgia, New York, North Carolina, and France. While a student in the French capitol, he served as Organist of the American Cathedral in Paris and Organist of L’Église des Batignolles.
For the American Guild of Organists, Jack Mitchener has served as a chapter dean, board member in Rochester, NY and Cleveland, Ohio and member of the National Committee on Professional Education. 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.
Jack Mitchener has garnered praise 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.” His performance for the Southeast Regional Convention in July 2015 in Charlotte, NC was described in The American Organist thusly: “Jack Mitchener’s sensitive and musical playing concluded with a heroic performance of Liszt’s Fantasy and Fugue on Ad Nos, ad salutarem undam.” Dulcet Tones, a CD on the historic Tannenberg organ in Old Salem, NC, has been praised by numerous reviewers including one for the International Record Review of London who asserted: “Superb…an impressive and rather moving listening experience.” His newest CD, Romantic to Modern, has also garnered critical acclaim, including a five-star review in Choir and Organ and this statement in the May 2016 issue of The Diapason: “The elegance of the interpretations makes it clear that Mitchener is one of the outstanding performers of his generation.” Jack Mitchener is represented by Penny Lorenz Concert Artists of Seattle, Washington ( http://www.organists.net ). More information can be found at www.jackmitchener.com.