The Broadway Series: Organist Johann Vexo
Broadway Baptist Church launched their 2017 Broadway Series season with renowned French organist, Johann Vexo (see biography below) on Sunday evening, October 1. Vexo, the choir organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris–the one in France…not Texas–left no doubt that the pipe organ remains the IMAX theater version of musical instruments. Plus, the concert was performed on the largest organ in Texas–the 191-rank, 10,615-pipe Rildia Bee O’Bryan Cliburn Organ, name for the mother of famed Fort Worth pianist, Van Cliburn, who was a longtime member at Broadway.
Vexo’s program presented seven works in chronological order:
- Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 | Bach
- Variations sérieuses, Op. 54 | Mendelssohn
- Choral No. 2 in B minor | Franck
- Dance macabre, Op. 40 | Sant-Saëns
- Allegro vivace (from Symphonie No. 5, Op. 42, no. 1) | Widor
- Lied (from Douze pièces) | Litaize
- Prélude et fugue sur le nom d’Alain, Op. 7 | Duruflé
About Johann Vexo
“Johann Vexo was born in the French city of Nancy, close to the borders of Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. Influenced by the rich musical and cultural heritage of this part of Europe, Johann’s training and performance career developed rapidly and at age 25 he was appointed Organiste de Choeur (Choir Organist) at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris. Soon thereafter he was also appointed Organist of the Cavaillé-Coll organ of the Cathedral in Nancy, Professor of Organ at the Angers Conservatory, and the European Music Summer Academy in Nancy.
Johann Vexo began his organ studies with Christophe Mantoux at the Strasbourg Conservatory where he was awarded Premier Prix in organ. He continued at the Paris Conservatory where his teachers included Michel Bouvard and Olivier Latry for organ and Thierry Escaich and Philippe Lefebvre for improvisation.
He has performed extensively throughout Europe, the United States, Canada and Russia including performances in Houston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Montréal. Recitals during the 2015-16 season took him to Russia, Dallas, and Helena (U.S.), Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, and Switzerland. His September-October 2016 U.S. tour will find him in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. Known for his generous, supportive, and captivating teaching style, Mr. Vexo has taught master classes at Rice University, the Curtis Institute of Music, and Westminster Choir College.
Johann Vexo has made recordings of French classical and German romantic music on historic French organs. His most recent recording of the works of Liszt, Franck, Vierne, Duruflé, and Escaich, performed on the great organ of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, was released on the JAV label in 2010.
Johann Vexo is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.”
In case you missed the concert, here’s a video from YouTube featuring Vexo performing in 2013 on the organ at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.
Sunshine on Broadway Baptist Church on the near southside of Fort Worth 15 minutes before the concert (FWPP/Anthony Mosley).