The College is pleased to announce the awarding of honorary fellowships - FRCCO(honoris causa) - to Marnie Giesbrecht, Joachim Segger and Frederick Swann for their significant contributions to the art of the organ. The citations are as follows:
Marnie Giesbrecht has performed in major cities, music festivals and universities throughout Canada, the United States, South Africa, Europe and Asia. A versatile keyboard artist, she performs regularly as organ soloist, chamber musician and collaborative keyboard artist. Dr. Giesbrecht is Professor Emerita at the University of Alberta, Adjunct Professor of Music at The King’s University in Edmonton and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Marnie Giesbrecht studied and concertized as a pianist throughout her undergraduate (University of Alberta) postgraduate and Master’s degrees (Mozarteum and the Eastman School of Music). She won the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Association Young Artists' Touring Award and Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarships for studies at the Mozarteum. Dr. Giesbrecht studied organ performance with Jacobus Kloppers and Gerhard Krapf (DMus, University of Alberta, 1988).
With Joachim Segger, Marnie Giesbrecht performs and records as Duo Majoya. In recognition of its artistic contributions, Duo Majoya was inducted into the City of Edmonton’s Cultural Hall of Fame in 2014. Along with Joachim Segger, Dr. Giesbrecht directs the music at First Presbyterian Church, Edmonton where they recently consulted for and supervised the restoration and renovation of the 1909 Casavant organ. She has recorded a broad range of solo, duo, concerto and organ with choir works on a variety of full and shared CDs and is a founding member of Early Music Alberta.
Marnie Giesbrecht is President of the Edmonton RCCO Centre and Artistic/Managing Director of Organic (formerly Sundays at 3) Concert Series. She served as National RCCO President from 2000 – 2002. Throughout her professional career Dr. Giesbrecht has been involved in and has been a strong advocate for the Royal Canadian College of Organists, for the continued study of the organ and for its enduring place in the musical framework of Canada.
Canadian keyboard artist Joachim Segger is a versatile musician who maintains an active career performing piano, duo and chamber recitals as well as concertos. A church organist since the age of nine, Joachim is well known for his workshops on improvisation for RCCO centres and at national conventions and has served as a Travelling Clinician for the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
Educated at the Eastman School of Music, the University of Alberta and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, Dr. Segger was one of the youngest students at Eastman to receive the Performer's Certificate. He also won the Concerto Competition and performed the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Eastman Philharmonia. At the age of twenty-one Joachim Segger performed a solo piano Carnegie Recital Hall debut. His standard and contemporary piano repertoire is vast and eclectic, as exemplified in his solo piano CD "Bravato."
Dr. Segger is Chair and Professor of Music at The King's University College, Edmonton and Adjunct Professor of Music/Keyboard at the University of Alberta. In demand as a collaborative artist he performs internationally with his colleague saxophonist Charles Stolte, often premiering contemporary music.
With Duo Majoya partner Marnie Giesbrecht, Joachim Segger has performed to critical acclaim. Ardent supporters and performers of contemporary music, in 2012 Duo Majoya performed in the Winspear Centre for Music, Edmonton four major works commissioned for them by Canadian composers Ruth Watson Henderson, Rachel Laurin, Barrie Cabena and Jacobus Kloppers. Duo Majoya has made significant contributions both performing and commissioning works for the genre of organ/piano duet and has recorded two CD's for this combination: "Transcriptions for Two" and "Skyscape." In addition, they have recorded a piano duet CD 'The Elegance and the Ecstasy" and "Duo Majoya: Organ Duets on the Davis Concert Organ" at the Winspear Centre for Music. With their enthusiasm, mastery and on-stage charm together they continue to bring the organ to a widening audience, connecting with long time aficionados and enticing a new generation.
Frederick Swann is past President (2002-2008) of the American Guild of Organists. He is Organist Emeritus of the Crystal Cathedral and of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, and is presently Organ Artist-in-residence at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, California. Mr. Swann is also University Organist and Artist Teacher of Organ at the University of Redlands.
Fred Swann has a special interest in Canada and its organ music and was instrumental in making the RCCO part of the joint publication The American Organist. He has played frequently in Toronto and in other College centres and was featured in the recent Edmonton and Ottawa conventions. When learning of the composition Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue by Healey Willan, he came to Toronto to study this piece with Willan. Over the years he has regularly featured Canadian works in his recitals and with his choirs.
Mr. Swann has probably presided over more ranks of pipes and stop knobs than any other organist in history. This is perhaps true given the size and prominence of the instruments with which his career has been notably associated: Riverside Church in New York City (1957-1982) The Crystal Cathedral (1982-1998) and First Congregational Church of Los Angeles (1998-2001).
Mr. Swann holds degrees from Northwestern University and the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York, each granted “with distinction.” In addition to his prominent church positions, he was for ten years Chair of the Organ Department at the Manhattan School of Music and served on the faculties of Teacher’s College of Columbia University and of the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
For more than forty years he was a major artist represented by Karen McFarlane Artists, and has performed recitals in all 50 states of the United States and eight foreign countries. Throughout his career Mr. Swann has been sought after as a leader of organ and church music workshops and has been retained frequently as a consultant for new pipe organs, including some of the largest and most prominent in North America. His many recordings, past and present, have assisted in making his name one of the best known throughout the music world.