Dennis Keene is today best known as one of the country's leading choral conductors – the founder and artistic director of Voices of Ascension. But he began his career as an organist. He received the BM, MM, and DMA degrees at the Juilliard School, and was the winner of the prestigious Gaston Dethier Prize for Excellence in Organ Playing. His teacher was Vernon de Tar. In the winter of 1977 he studied in Paris with Marie-Madeleine Duruflé, André Marchal, and André Isoir. He was active as an organ teacher for many years, and was on the Organ Faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School.
Dennis Keene's association with the music of Duruflé is known internationally. In 1989 he mounted the first-ever complete retrospective of he music of Duruflé, and conducted the complete choral works to great critical acclaim. For many years he played the Duruflé organ works in recital repeatedly, and has taught them in countless masterclasses. Likewise, he has conducted and taught the choral works many times throughout the United States. Mme Duruflé referred to Dennis Keene as the "Perfect Interpreter of my husband's music." His friendship with Mme Duruflé lasted until her death in 1999. Dennis Keene is a member of the Comité International de Soutien of the Duruflé Association.
His strong interest in French Baroque music lead him to studies with André Isoir. And, while a doctoral candidate at Juilliard, he completed his dissertation, "Ornamentation in the organ music of Jehan Titelouze." He looks forward to playing and teaching all this literature on the new Quoirin organ at Ascension.
Dennis Keene is the Organist and Choirmaster of Church of the Ascension.
A further biography of Dennis Keene can be found here on this site.
Press and public alike acclaim American organist Jon Gillock for his sensitive and moving performances. He is especially fond of performing the "French spiritual repertoire". This includes music of such composers as François Couperin, Maurice Duruflé, Nicolas de Grigny, César Franck, Charles Tournemire, Louis Vierne, and, of course, Olivier Messiaen and Johann Sebastian Bach.
Jon Gillock earned the BM and MM degrees at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and the DMA at The Juilliard School in New York City. He also studied with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory.
A friend of Messiaen and one of his preferred interpreters, Gillock gave premieres of several of Messiaen's works for organ in New York City, across the United States, and in Japan. He is known internationally as an authority on this repertoire. During 2008 he celebrated Messiaen's centenary around the world with concerts (including the first complete performance of the organ works in Japan), masterclasses, and lectures. His book, Performing Messiaen's Organ Music: 66 Masterclasses, was published by Indiana University Press in 2010.
Jon Gillock has established an international career not only as a performer but also as a master teacher. Now a resident of Paris, he has been a member of the organ faculties of both The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. From 2004-2009, he participated as Artist Faculty with Yuko Hayashi in the Boston Organ Academy. This summer he will begin a similar teaching venture with the Ascension Organ Academy, Church of the Ascension, New York City, centered around the new French organ by Pascal Quoirin. He has also served as a jury member for international organ competitions.
Jon Gillock was named International Performer of the Year, 1999-2000, by the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. This prestigious honor was awarded to him "in recognition of his outstanding achievements and contribution to organ performance". Among the awards he has received for his recordings are the Diapason d'Or and the 10 de Répertoire in France and the Deutsche Schallplatten Preis in Germany.