Grove City College Professor of Music Dr. Richard Konzen will be performing his final organ recital as a full time faculty member at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 in the Parker Organ Studio in the Pew Fine Arts Center on campus.
Konzen, who joined the faculty in 1992 and also serves as College organist and facilities director of Pew Fine Arts Center, is retiring at the end of the academic year. His faculty recitals have become “must-listen” events at the College.
The recital will feature an all-Bach program. Konzen calls the composer’s work “the bread and butter of the organ repertoire” and his set list includes: “Toccata in d minor”; two settings of the chorale "Liebster Jesu"; “Pièce d' orgue (Fantasia in G)”; “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme”; “Vor deinen Thron,” which is thought to be Bach’s last work; and the well-known “Toccata and Fugue in d minor.”
Konzen will be playing the Miriam (Shellito ’52) Parker organ, which was custom-made for the College thanks to the generous donation of Royal Parker ’52 in honor of his wife. The organ project began with Parker wanting to have special trumpet stop added to the chapel organ, but Konzen was able to convince him that the College was more in need of a high-quality studio instrument.
When the contract to build the organ was approved in December 2005, Konzen said it was “a great early Christmas present.” The Parker organ was built by Fritz Noack, of Georgetown, Mass., and it features a hammered lead stop that was built specifically for Konzen. The studio space in Pew Fine Arts Center was created for the organ.
Konzen has performed countless times on campus, but he said one of his most memorable experiences was presenting his own performing edition of Bach's “Art of Fugue” on the Frances St. Leger Babcock Memorial Organ in Harbison Chapel as the score was projected on a screen for all to follow along.
The chapel organ, which was built in 1931, was completely remodeled in 2000. It was designated a historical organ worthy of preservation by the Organ Historical Society in 2010. “It took eight years of seed planting to get the project accomplished,” Konzen said. “It was a very sick puppy before restoration and 16 years later, it is still a joy to play.”
Over the years, Konzen has mentored a number of organ majors who have gone on to graduate programs at Yale, Notre Dame and other leading institutions and are now in major positions in churches and colleges.