Since 2004, Dr. Joby Bell has served on the faculty of the Hayes School of Music, teaching organ and church music studies. His teaching specializes in practice techniques, memorization, service playing, choral accompanying, and maintaining grace under pressure – a lesson he maintains is always best taught by example.
He brings to his performances a contagious affability and a keen sensitivity to an audience's increased appreciation for organ music. His recital programming demonstrates a varied and interesting repertoire, always enhanced by illuminating program notes designed to embrace all audiences. His acclaimed blog at <www.JobyBell.org/blog> deals with a comprehensive range of organ-related topics including teaching philosophies, recital preparation, church music, and professional concerns.
He has served the American Guild of Organists as a faculty member of Pipe Organ Encounters for young people, 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.
Dr. Bell attended high school at the [University of] 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 Cavaillé-Coll and a Critical Comparison of Their Alterations," explored those important instruments' tonal relationships and the subsequent changes made to them.
He 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 several Houston institutions. Most recently, he served for two years as Organist for the First Presbyterian Church of Lenoir, N.C.
Dr. Bell is featured on several recordings. "Music City Mixture" is recorded on mechanical-action organs of Nashville. "Live Performances" is a compilation of pieces played live at Appalachian State University, Rice University, Houston Baptist University, and the Washington National Cathedral. Dr. Bell is also featured on "let the rain kiss you," a collaborative project with soprano Melissa Givens. Projects in progress include two Widor Symphonies recorded at St. Mark's Cathedral, Shreveport, large works by Jongen, Brahms, and Reubke recorded at St. Philip Presbyterian Church, Houston, and an all-British program recorded at First Baptist Church, Longview, Tex.
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Visit Dr. Bell's website and blog: www.JobyBell.org
Previous professional and performing posts:
- Organist, First Presbyterian Church, Lenoir, N.C., 2009-2011
- Organist, First Presbyterian Church, Houston, Tex., 1997-2005
- Organist, St. Philip Presbyterian Church, Houston, Tex., 1995-1997
- Interim Organist/Choirmaster, Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, Houston, Tex., 1994-1995
- Associate Organist/Choirmaster, Episcopal Church of St. John the Divine, Houston, Tex., 1990-1994
- Organist, Boone United Methodist Church, Boone, N.C. 1989-1990
- Organist/Choirmaster, Crossnore Presbyterian Church, Crossnore, N.C. 1988-1989
- Teacher and advisor for all organ majors
- Teacher and advisor for all church music majors
- Harpsichord instruction
- Coordinator, church music curriculum
- Accompanist, Appalachian Chorale
- Doctor of Musical Arts, Organ Performance, Rice University, 2002
- Master of Music, Organ Performance, Rice University, 1997
- Bachelor of Music, Organ and Piano Performance, Appalachian State University, 1990
- Diploma, piano concentration, North Carolina School of the Arts, 1986
Professional Affiliations & Honors:
- Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
- American Guild Of Organists – Boone, Charlotte, European, Greensboro, Houston, District of Columbia, Winston-Salem chapters
- Association of Anglican Musicians
- Organ Historical Society
- Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
- Pi Kappa Lambda
- Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies
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