Gordon Turk at the Ocean Grove (NJ) Auditorium organ
New Jersey, U.S.
Gordon Turk is a prominent American concert organist. He has played throughout the United States, made two concert tours in Japan, and performed frequently in Europe, including Ukraine and Russia, both as solo organist and with orchestra.
Early years and education
The son of a Methodist minister in New Jersey, Turk began piano studies at age five and then organ when he was ten years old. He graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied piano and organ. He also studied with New York composer and organist McNeil Robinson at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, earning the master's degree and the Doctor of Musical Arts, both with honors. He is a former Professor of Organ at West Chester University (1992–1999) and in 2013 became professor of organ instruction at Rowan University.
Turk is particularly well known as resident organist of the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Since he took this post in 1974, the famed Robert Hope-Jones organ has been enriched with a remarkably diverse tonal palette and expanded to its current size of 189 ranks and 11,558 total pipes, played from a five manual console.
Besides playing for weekly Sunday services, Turk offers solo recitals (along with guest concert organists) in the Auditorium on most Wednesdays and Saturdays in July and August. Turk has described the Auditorium organ as unique, saying "I know it when I hear it, even a recording on the radio."
He also serves as artistic director of the acclaimed "Summer Stars Classical Series" held there on Thursday evenings. On July 3, 2008, Turk presented the Organ Centennial Concert as part of the Summer Stars Classical Series to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the organ's dedicatory recital on July 3, 1908. In May 2006, he was one of the first organists to perform on the newly installed Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The previous year, he gave a recital on the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia, the largest functioning musical instrument in the world.
He has also appeared in concert as a harpsichordist, pianist, and conductor (choral and orchestral). As a composer, he has written compositions for string orchestra, woodwinds, organ, piano, voice and chorus. In January 2000, his composition Elegy for string orchestra and oboe was performed live on television in Japan.
Awards and honors
Turk has received the John Cerevalo Prize for "Excellence in the Performance of the Music of Johann Sebastian Bach". He also has been a prize-winner in the national improvisation competition of the American Guild of Organists.
- Ocean Grove – French Spectaculars on the Great Ocean Grove Auditorium Organ
- Organ Echoes – Sacred Classics
- Organ in the Grand Tradition
- Amico, Ross (July 26, 2013). "Organist Gordon Turk to headline concert at Ocean Grove's Great Auditorium". NJ.com. Trenton Times. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
- Gordon Turk's biography (2001). Organ Echoes – SacredClassics (CD). Atlas Communications.
- Lawrence Van Gelder (July 30, 1998). "Footlights". The New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2008.
- Walton, Mary (June 28, 2012). "With New Pipes, a Great Organ Gets Even Better". Blogfinger.net. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
- Stearns, David Patrick (July 20, 2008). "The grand old pipe organ of Ocean Grove". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. H1.
- Leslie Kandell (July 26, 1998). "Music: The Heart of a Shore Community". The New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2008.
- "Summer Stars Classical Series presents an Organ Centennial Concert" (program), July 3, 2008.
- St. Mary's Episcopal Church Archived July 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.