THE ARTIST –
"...one of the most outstanding organists of his generation. His technical mastery of the organ is...a refined musicality that makes his concerts memorable experiences for both the casual and the most discerning listeners." -- George Ritchie
"He knows how to communicate wih his audience. He plays with fire and passion. This comes through so beautifully in performance...superb technique and brings the piece to life from the very first note to the last." -- James David Christie
"Organist Joby Bell performs with a maturity and depth of musical understanding to rank him among the top performers of the instrument." -- John-Paul Buzard
"Several years ago, I had the pleasure of accompanying Joby Bell to Saint-Sulpice, Paris, where he was requested to perform a three-week "suppléance." His thorough command of those prestigious five manuals and difficult organ was superb, and the musical results sumptuous." -- Jesse Eschbach
"Joby Bell is an accomplished recitalist whose programming and playing delights and inspires the professional as well as the amateur concert-goer. As a collaborative artist in solo or ensemble work, he is second to none." -- John Yarrington
"Joby dazzles the audience wih his impeccable performance. He delights the audience wih his virtuoso pedal and manual technique. He is a brilliant performer with a whimsical and charming personality." -- Rhonda Furr
Joby Bell is an organist who clearly delights in the chance to play interesting and diverse instruments. He invites the audience into the music. He carefully plans programs to speak to the audience, while maintaining the highest standards in memorized preparation and stylistic integrity. He provides lucid, engaging program notes that offer a road map to understanding the music. He is a concert artist who can be trusted to deliver a recital well played, carefully thought out, and designed to enlighten listeners.
Joby Bell says, "Every organ recital is a potential celebration. Whether you are celebrating your instrument, an important milestone, the organ in general, or the assembled audience, a recital is an event. It is an ideal opportunity to bring widely diverse audiences together. The organ is fascinating to young people for its power, ease of sound production, and mechanical complexity. It is beautiful to artisans who love woodworking, design and fine craftsmanship, with its façades, pipes and cases. Its power delights the young and stirs the old. Its subtleties stimulate the attentive and soothe the troubled. The organ can deliver satisfaction on all these levels to all listeners and players. There is room for all."
Organist JOBY BELL (b. 1968) has performed at the invitation of numerous chapters and conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Victoria Bach Festival, the Houston Masterworks Chorus, the Washington National Cathedral, and conferences on worship and music at Montreat and at Lake Junaluska. His concertizing throughout the United States has been met with high acclaim, while his performances abroad have been enthusiastically received in Paris, Chartres, London, and throughout southern England, Scotland, Romania and Hungary. His recital programming demonstrates a varied and interesting repertoire, enhanced by illuminating program notes designed to embrace all audiences. His acclaimed blog examines a comprehensive range of issues facing organists, including teaching philosophies, recital preparation, and church music topics.
Joby Bell has served the American Guild of Organists as a faculty member of Pipe Organ Encounters, as dean of the Houston (Tex.) and Boone (N.C.) chapters, and from 2006-2010 as director of the National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance. He garnered Second Prize and the Audience Prize in that same Competition in 2000. Since 2004, he has served on the faculty of the Hayes Shool of Music, Appalachian State University, where he teaches organ and sacred music studies. His teaching specializes in memorization and practice techniques, service playing, choral accompanying, and maintaining grace under pressure.
Joby Bell attended high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studied piano with Marian Hahn and Robert McDonald. He earned the Bachelor of Music degree in organ and piano from Appalachian State University and the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in organ from Rice University. His teachers include H. Max Smith and Clyde Holloway, organ, and Rodney Reynerson and Allen Kindt, piano. His doctoral thesis, "The Grand Organs of Notre-Dame and Saint-Sulpice, Paris: The Magna Opera of Aristide Cavaille-Coll and a Critical Comparison of Their Alterations," explored those important instruments' tonal relationships and the subsequent changes made to them.
Dr. Bell previously served as Associate Director of Music for the Church of St. John the Divine and as Organist for St. Philip Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church, all in Houston. He also served as a vocal coach/accompanist at St. Agnes Academy, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, and Houston Baptist University. Most recently, he served as Organist for the First Presbyterian Church of Lenoir, N.C.