Acclaimed Organist Gregory Zelek to Perform on Historic Symphonic Organ at Scranton

November 3, 2015

Performance Music at The University of Scranton will present “In Recital” featuring organist Gregory Zelek on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the University’s Houlihan-McLean Center. Admission is free and the performance is open to the public.

Praised for his “effortless facility on the instrument” (South Florida Classical Review), Zelek is increasingly recognized as one of the most exciting young organists in the American organ scene. In addition to concertizing throughout the United States, he has performed with orchestras as both a soloist and professional ensemble member. In 2011, Zelek performed Poulenc’s “Organ Concerto” with the Miami Symphony Orchestra, and in 2012 he played Strauss’s “Alpine Symphony” with the MET Orchestra in Carnegie Hall conducted by Semyon Bychkov. He was the organist in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of “Faust,” and performed twice with the New World Symphony in 2014. His performance of Lukas Foss’ “Phorion,” under Michael Tilson Thomas, was videoed and recorded for later screening and he has recently performed with the Ridgewood Symphony in New Jersey.

Zelek has performed in many different venues throughout the U.S., including a performance of Cochereau’s “Bolero for Organ and Percussion” in Alice Tully Hall, which was broadcast on American Public Media’s radio program “Pipedreams.” He also closed the WQXR Bach Marathon at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, which was streamed live on New York City’s only classical music station. A proponent of new music for the organ, Zelek has premiered and performed works by fellow Juilliard composers and faculty, including Wayne Oquin’s “Reverie” and Samuel Adler’s “Partita for Organ” in concerts throughout the country.

A native of Miami, Florida, Zelek is a graduate student of Paul Jacobs at the Juilliard School, where he received his bachelor of music degree. Also at Juilliard, Zelek is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship, having been one of 19 selected for the inaugural fellowship that covers full cost of attendance. He was the first prize winner in both the 2012 Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition and the 2012 West Chester University Organ Competition, and was selected as a 2010 NFAA Young Arts Silver Medal Winner. He won first prize, as well as the “Bach Prize,” at the East Carolina University Organ Competition, and was a prizewinner in the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival.

Zelek is the music director and organist at the Episcopal Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy in New York City. Prior to this appointment, he served as organ scholar at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church in Scarsdale, New York. Zelek, who is a Cuban-American and a native Spanish speaker, was the music director of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Miami, and has served as the summer organist for San Pedro Apostol Church in Ramales de la Victoria, Spain. 

The Houlihan McLean Center organ is an historic Austin opus #301 symphonic organ, a classic 20th century pre-WWII symphonic organ. The rebuilt instrument contains 3,178 pipes, 45 ranks and 4 manuals. Cheryl Y. Boga, conductor and director of Performance Music at the University, was on-site project manager for the re-building of the organ, a process which, from initial feasibility study, pursuit of funding and research of rebuilders, to contracting, the re-build process itself and completion, took more than a decade. The work was done by Patrick J. Murphy & Associates, completed in January of 2005, and the instrument was re-dedicated in a recital by Thomas Murray, head of the organ program at Yale University. Notable organists who have performed on the instrument include Timothy Smith, Frederick Hohman, Thomas Murray, Christopher Johnson, David Ball, Aaron Diehl and Zelek, among others.

For additional information regarding this event, email music@scranton.edu, call 570-941-7624 or visit www.scranton.edu/music.

Back to Top