Director of Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music Chairman of the Keyboard Department
Jack Mitchener is Professor of Organ, University Organist, Chairman of the Keyboard Department 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 and Assistant Organist at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta. He previously served as Organist/Choirmaster at Christ Episcopal Church in Macon. Prior posts in churches include St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, NC; Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in High Point, NC; and the American Cathedral in Paris. Before Mercer, he was an organ professor at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Salem College, and the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.
Jack Mitchener 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.” He was invited to participate as a performer for the 2016 Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative in Rochester, NY and garnered this review: “Mitchener’s masterful playing and sensitivity to both congregation and instrument was the high point of the conference,” The Diapason.
He 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.” 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 in Vienna; the Church of St. James (Jacobikirche) in Lubeck, 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 Dublin International Organ Competition. He has recorded 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 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 took three degrees (DMA, master’s in organ and master’s in harpsichord) as well as 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.
For the American Guild of Organists, Jack Mitchener has been a chapter dean 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 and is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society. He is represented by Penny Lorenz Artist Management of Seattle, Washington. ( http://www.organists.net ). More information can be found at www.jackmitchener.com.