Doctor of Music - McGill University, Montreal, QC (2012)
Artist Diploma - Oberlin Conservatory, Oberlin, OH (2009)
Diplôme de Formation Supérieure - Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, Paris, France (2007)
Church Music Diploma - Hochschule für evangelische Kirchenmusik, Bayreuth, Germany (2004)
In the last two decades, German organist Dr. Jens Korndörfer has established himself internationally as performer, educator and church musician.
Praised as “a virtuoso in the grand Romantic tradition” who creates “performances that are deeply musically satisfying as well as exciting” (The American Organist), Korndörfer is frequently invited at the most prestigious venues and festivals around the world. Highlights include solo concerts at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, Merrill Auditorium in Portland (ME), Duke University Chapel, the Cathedral-Basilica in St. Louis, the Montreal Bach Festival, the Cathedrals in Washington, Berlin, Paris, Salzburg, Oslo, and Moscow, Westminster Abbey in London, the Royal Chapel in Versailles, the Minster in Ulm, Suntory Hall and Metropolitan Art Space in Tokyo, Kyoto Concert Hall, and the Cultural Centre in Hong Kong.
Korndörfer’s repertoire reaches from the Renaissance to the 21st century, including transcriptions, commissions and world premieres for organ solo, and organ with other instruments or choir. Widely recognized as a “prodigious technician” (La Presse, Montreal), his “effortless and poetic playing” (Susan Landale) “that is superior both technically and musically” (The American Organist), and his “well-planned, dramatic programming” (Nordbayerischer Kurier) delight both organ aficionados and first time visitors alike. In addition to frequently collaborating with other musicians, he has also performed with ensembles such as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, and the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini.
Frequently invited as guest speaker and clinician, Korndörfer has given master classes and presentations for chapters of the American Guild of Organists, at conventions, universities, and concert halls around the world, and he has served on the jury of competitions.
As Director of Worship and the Arts, and Organist at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, GA, Korndörfer oversees a thriving music and arts ministry. Under his leadership, the sanctuary organ was not only renovated, but enlarged to 112 ranks in 10 divisions, equipped with a state-of-the art control system by Syndyne and completely re-voiced by organ builders Klais (Bonn, Germany) and Schlueter (Lithonia, GA). The church also just added a new Steinway Concert Grand Piano to its collection of instruments, and the concert series has expanded significantly in scope and attendance thanks to collaborations with major local cultural players (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, HIGH Museum of Art, Atlanta Opera, Alliance Theatre).
Acutely aware of the arts’ responsibility towards our society, Korndörfer began a highly successful partnership with Challenge the Stats, an organization that raises awareness for minorities in the classical arts scene, and helped create scholarship opportunities for children from minorities in the church’s School of Fine Arts. Through presentations and lecture series on inter-disciplinary topics in collaboration with FPC’s resident theologian, and through creative events such as multi-media tours of the organ and lecture-recitals with organ arrangements of popular works, Korndörfer further increased the reach of the church’s music and arts ministry in the city of Atlanta and beyond.
A top-honor graduate from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, the Oberlin Conservatory, the Musikhochschule in Bayreuth and McGill University in Montreal, Korndörfer’s teachers include Olivier Latry, Michel Bouvard, James David Christie, and Ludger Lohmann. His talent has also been recognized with numerous prizes and scholarship awards from the Canadian International Organ Competition, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Oberlin Conservatory (Dean’s Scholarship), McGill-University (Max Stern Fellowship) and the Government of Quebec (Quebec Merit Scholarship).
Among Korndörfer’s many formative experiences, his tenure as organist in residence at the Concert Hall Kitara in Sapporo, Japan, in the 2005/06 season is of particular importance: In addition to a packed schedule with performances, recordings and teaching all over Japan, he was particularly inspired by the imaginative marketing and highly creative outreach efforts of the hall’s administration, which resulted in frequently sold-out organ concerts (a rare occurrence in the Western World) and a very diverse audience that included all age groups. Ever since, in his positions Jens has striven to make the arts and especially the organ as successful as they were in Sapporo.
YouTube Channel: More than 200 videos from concerts and recordings on outstanding instruments around the world
- Windows of the Spirit: Works by Beethoven, Decker, Reger, Wagner, et al (First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, OGM 191036)
- Variations on America: Works by Albright, Barber, Bolcom, Lemare, Foote, Ives, et al (Sts-Anges-Gardiens, Lachine, & St. Andrew and St. Paul, Montréal, ifo classics, ORG 7238.2)
- Trumpet & Organ: Works by Bach, Caccini, Fauré, Grieg, Hovhaness, Neruda & Rachmaninov (with Kazuhiro Maekawa, Harmony Hall, Fukui, Japan, Jasrac, R-0870162)
- Great Moments in German Music: Works by Bach, Brahms, Liszt, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, et al (Kitara Concert Hall, Sapporo, Japan, SCH-008)
Film & DVD
- In the Key of Bach: Musical documentary directed & written by Hilan Warshaw for release by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and television broadcast on Georgia Public Broadcasting on 20 June, 2021
- Let’s see Kitara’s Pipe Organ: DVD about the Kern Organ (IV/68) at Kitara Concert Hall in Sapporo, Japan
- Albert Schweitzer: A Progressive Conservative’s View of the Ideal Bach Organ The Organ. 360 (2012): 44-46.
- Arranging Orchestral Music for the Pope of Instruments The Organ. 363, 364 & 365 (2013).
- Aus der neuen Welt: Kirchenmusik in den USA Gottesdienst und Kirchenmusik. 4 (2009): 2-10.
- Die kirchenmusikalische Verbandsarbeit in den USA Musica Sacra. 2 (2017): 76f.
- ОРГАН – НЕМУЗЫКААЬИЫЙ МОИСТР Орган. 1 (2011): 38-44.
- Franz Liszt and Johann Gottlob Töpfer: A Fruitful Relationship in Weimar The Diapason (August 2013): 24f.
- Geschichte und Gegenwart der amerikanischen Orgel – Teil 1: Der Orgelbau ORGAN – Journal für die Orgel. 3 (2010): 24-31.
- Geschichte und Gegenwart der amerikanischen Orgel – Teil 2: Die Orgelmusik ORGAN – Journal für die Orgel. 1 (2011): 6-9.
- Glaube, Gaben und Gesang – Kirchenmusik in den USA Musik & Kirche. 4 (2018): 254-261.
- L’Orgue, un monstre non musical? La Tribune de l’Orgue. 61/3 (2009): 3-12.
- More than mere Quotation: Gregorian Chant in Olivier Messiaen’s Organ Works Orgelkunst (June 2014/2): 70-79.
- Secular or Sacred: Selected Popular Elements in Organ Music The American Organist. 45/6 (2012): 56-59 & 46/7 (2012): 50-53.
- Wider die Fesseln des Historismus ORGAN – Journal für die Orgel. 1 (2005): 20-23.