JORIS VERDIN is both organist and musicologist. This combination is the reason for his preference for reviving forgotten music at the same time as he creates contemporary compositions. He has recorded over forty CDs as a soloist, spanning many musical eras and styles. After various activities as accompanist, arranger and producer he now focuses on the organ as well as the harmonium and has become internationally reputed as a specialist. He teaches the organ at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp and is professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium.
Master classes, musical editions and articles are an important part of his activities. Among them are the first complete edition of César Franck’s harmonium works and the first handbook of harmonium technique. The Spanish town Torre de Juan Abad (Ciudad Real) appointed Joris Verdin honorary organist of the historical organ built by Gaspar de la Redonda in 1763. He received the Diapason d’Or (and “Event of the month”) (France) and the Cecilia Award (Belgian Press) in 2001 for his recording of Franck’s organ works. A compilation of his organ works was recorded in 1998 (RIC 233442) and reissued in 2014. He was appointed Musician of the year of the Flanders Festival 2002, and was artistic adviser and inauguration of the Liszt “orgue-piano” in Vienna, 2005. Since 2007, after inaugurating the restored Cavaillé-Coll organ from 1864, artistic leader of the “Voix Célestes” Pro- gram at the Fondation Royaumont, France. He was awarded “Le meilleur Widor” by ClassiqueInfo for his recording of Widor’s symphonies I-IV. In 2011 he received the “Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik”. The November 2011 issue of the American Record Guide puts it this way: “Verdin, the apparent Dean of harmonium players, certainly knows how to get the most from the harmonium”. In March 2012, his recording of Lefébure-Wely’s Suites pour Harmonicorde was honoured with the “Diapason d’Or” (French musical press). In September 2012 his recording of organ music by Willaert, in collaboration with the Capilla Flamenca, received “Choc de la Musique”, “Diapason d’Or”, “Klara Prize” (Flemish Radio) and the Cecilia Award. In 2014, he received the “Diapason d’Or” for the “Guide des Instruments de Musique” in collaboration with musicians from the Ricercar label, and in 2015, the “Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik” for the DVD “César Franck, Father of the Organ Symphony, with a substantial contribution by Joris Verdin on performance practice”. In 2015, he was also the artistic director of the Gothenburg International Organ Academy.
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.