FELIX HELL PLAYS THE RIEGER-KLOSS ORGAN
Johann Sebastian Bach, Leon Boellmann, Dieterich Buxtehude, Marcel Dupré, Gigout, Max Reger, Charles-Marie Widor
FELIX HELL, organ
“German organist Felix Hell is a top-flight organist. His background is as impressive as his playing. He has studied at the University of Church Music in Heidelberg, the Juilliard School, The Curtis Institute, not to mention attending master classes and additional coaching by the likes of Wolfgang Rübsam, Marie-Claire Alain and Dame Gillian Weir, among others. This recording, in addition to showing off Hell’s talents, showcases the new (2005) Rieger-Kloss organ… The Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia, chose an old-fashioned, but brand-new, pipe organ. And it sounds superb… Hell has a well chosen, varied program from Buxtehude and J.S. Bach to Widor and Reger to display this instrument… Hell is a musically skillful and mature musician, who began as a young prodigy. Couple him with a real pipe organ that has spectacular sound and you have a truly knock-out disc.”
[ * * * * * ] Zan Furtwangler, Audiophile Audition [April 2013]
"[Felix Hell] is a performer of taste and discipline, with a powerhouse technique. "
Pasa Tempos - October 2007
"The performances are good assured and technically fine...the instrument is bright and potent enough for any literature...[Felix Hell] clearly bears watching. An impressive presentation."
American Record Guide - September/October 2006
"...his undoubted talent and old-school American training have left him with a virtuosic technique capable of tackling all the major romantic and 20th century repertoire"
MusicWeb International - July 2006
PROGRAM NOTESFelix Hell was born in 1985, in Frankenthal/Pfalz, Germany. He took his first piano lesson at the age of seven, after having heard the C-Major Prelude, WTK-I, of J.S.Bach. He played it from memory after a few days listening to it and observing the piano player. Only eight months later, September 1993, he took his first organ lesson. Already in spring 1994, just 7 months after his first organ lesson, he participated in the Federal German competition for young musicians "Jugend musiziert", and received two First Prizes in organ playing. On Easter 1994, still eight years old, he was on duty in his first service as a liturgical organist, playing the organ at a Roman Catholic High Mass. The following years Felix Hell continued to take First Prizes in the German competition "Jugend musiziert": 1996 two First Prizes in piano playing, 1997 two First Prizes in organ playing and in 1999 again two First Prizes in piano playing. His organ studies Felix pursued, after initial studies with Eckard Mayer, at the Evangelical University of Church Music in Heidelberg/Germany with Johannes Michel (organ literature) and Prof. Christiane Michel (Improvisation). Additional coaching in this period of his education Felix Hell received in courses with Professors Martin Lücker, Frankfurt; Pieter van Dijk, Amsterdam; Oleg Yantchenko (+); Moscow, Wolfgang Rübsam, Chicago; Leo Krämer, Speyer; Franz Lehrndorfer, Munich; Robert Griffith, Delaware/Ohio;
From the very beginning, Felix Hell's piano teacher has been Prof. Siegbert Panzer, German State Academy of Music, Mannheim. In September 1999 Felix Hell enrolled at the Juilliard School, New York, where he had been awarded a merit-based full tuition scholarship, studying organ with Matthew Lewis and piano with Fank Levy. Since September 2001 Felix has been studying, again under full tuition scholarship, at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Dr. John Weaver and Alan Morrison, with additional coaching by Prof. Martin Jean (Yale University), Prof. Sutherland (Peabody Conservatory) and a master class with Marie-Claire Alain, Paris.
In May 2004 Felix Hell graduated with the Bachelor of Music, entering the history of the Curtis Institute of Music as the youngest Organ Major ever to graduate from this world-famous conservatory. Since September 2004 Felix Hell is enrolled in both the Master of Music and the Artist Diploma programs at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, studying under the guidance of Donald Sutherland, attending additional courses held by Joan Lippincott, Princeton, and Gillian Weir, London. From the very beginning Felix Hell maintained a very busy recital schedule. His first solo appearance dates back to march 1994, and his first solo concert abroad the soon to be nine-year old Felix gave in August 1994 in the Great Hall of the Saratov Conservatory, Russia. Meanwhile Felix Hell has performed about 400 recitals in Germany and abroad: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, Spain, France, Italy, Russia, Latvia, Iceland, Norway, Jamaica, and the USA, where he had given more than 250 concerts in 40 states.
He has been privileged to perform in such prestigious places like: Passau Cathedral (Hoher Dom zu Passau), Germany; Ulm Cathedral (Ulmer Muenster), Germany; Cathedral of Hildesheim (Hoher Dom zu Hildesheim), Germany;Cathedral of St. Mauritius and St. Katharina, Magdeburg, Germany; Cathedral of St. Peter, Worms, Germany; University of Bochum, Auditorium Maximum, Germany; Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York; National Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Washington D.C.; Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C.; First Congregational Church, Los Angeles; Broadway Baptist Church, Ft. Worth, Texas; Spivey Hall, Morrow (Atlanta), Georgia Spreckels Organ at Balboa Park, San Diego; Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts (Alice Tully Hall), New York; Boston Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts; Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Methuen, Massachusetts; City Hall, Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine; Irvine Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania; Wanamaker Organ, Philadelphia; Tschaikovskiy Concert Hall, St. Petersburg; Great Philharmonic Hall, St. Petersburg, Russia; Dome Cathedral, Riga, Latvia; Melbourne Town Hall, Australia; Sydney Opera House, Australia; Sydney Townhall, Australia; Adelaide Town Hall, Australia; Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim; Bergen Cathedral, Norway
Orchestra performances comprise concerts with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, USA, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada under Boris Brott, and the NEC Philharmony, Boston, USA, under Jens Georg Bachmann. Felix Hell is member of the American Guild of Organists, the German Gesellschaft der Orgelfreunde, and the Organ Music Society of Sydney He holds the position as Organ Artist Associate at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Manhattan, New York City. Only recently he was appointed Distinguished Organist-in-Residence at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Felix Hell has recorded six CDs, critically acclaimed by the public as well as by experts. His music has been broadcast several times, including a 90 minute solo show, by PIPEDREAMS of Minnesota Public Radio (host: Michael Barone), as well as by radio stations of Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, and by the BBC in Great Britain. He was featured on TV at ABC and NBC, and the German TV stations ARD, ZDF, SWR, RTL, DW, SAT1, and 3SAT.