JOEL SPEERSTRA teaches and researches the organ and related keyboard instruments at the Academy of Music and Drama at the University of Gothenburg. He is active as an instrument builder, performer, and musicologist. He studied the organ with William Porter and David Boe at Oberlin Conservatory before continuing in Europe on several grants that allowed him to study organ and clavichord with Harald Vogel as well as instrument building with John Barnes. His doctoral project led to the reconstruction of the Gerstenberg pedal clavichord, and a book published in 2004 for Rochester University Press: “Bach and the Pedal Clavichord: An Organist’s Guide.” His research on the pedal clavichord was awarded with the national prize in musicology from the Swedish Academy of Music. His current research project studies the affordances of newly designed keyboard instruments based on historical models.
GARY VERKADE was born in Chicago and studied music, including organ performance, composition, form and analysis, counterpoint and musicology, at Calvin College (BA) and the University of Iowa (MFA, DMA) in the U.S. and from the Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen, Germany the Künstlerische Reifeprüfung and Konzertexamen. He has been a guest professor/lecturer/performer at universities in Europe and the United States. Verkade has performed throughout Europe and the United States, including many premiers of New Music. He composes music for organ, electronics, chamber and improvisation ensembles; and is co-founder of the Essen, Germany-based improvisation ensemble SYNTHESE, in which he performs on synthesizers and computer. He has published essays and articles on subjects relating to organ playing, performance practice of old music, and composition. Dr. Verkade is presently Professor of Organ at Musikhögskolan i Piteå, Sweden where he continues to teach, perform, compose, record, improvise, and write about music.
DAN LÖNNQVIST studied with Folke Forsman at the Sibelius Academy, graduating as an A-class organist and gaining a Masters degree in church music. He gave his debut organ recital in Helsinki Cathedral. His studies of the organ have taken him abroad to Professors Hans Fagius (in Stockholm), Jon Laukvik (in Stuttgart) and Jacques van Oortmerssen (in Amsterdam). He has also participated in several master classes. Dan Lönnqvist has performed not only in the Nordic countries, but also in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Italy, Czech Republic and in the USA (Washington National Cathedral). He has made numerous guest appearances at the Summer Organ Festival in Thüringen, Germany. Dan Lönnqvist holds a Principal Lecturer post at Novia University of Applied Sciences in Jakobstad. As a long-standing chairman of the Calcanten society he has arranged such musical events as “Music for a Summer’s Evening” and “Organ Concerts in Jakobstad”. In 1989 he founded the Bel Canto Chamber Choir and has been its conductor ever since. He has held MasterClasses in Organ Music in Finland and abroad; Italy, Norway and Sweden at the International Organ Academy in Lövstabruk.
The Norwegian harpsichordist, organist, composer and music pedagogue, JON M. SKOGSTAD, has been an active musician in almost 40 years. Over the last 25 years he also teaches at the Department of Music NTNU, Trondheim (formerly Conservatory in Trondheim) in organ, improvisation and harpsichord. As a performer on their two main instrument, the harpsichord and organ, Jon M. Skogstad has specialized in music from the Baroque and especially composers like J.S. Bach and J. Ph. Rameau. He has given concerts as a performer in Scandinavia and the USA. In addition to the usual concerts, he has made numerous specialty projects such as music by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Clavierübung (J.S Bach), Robert Schumann, Rolf Nyhus, Ole Andreas Lindemann. This as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor. He is also active as an accompanist on the piano.