The James M. Weaver Prize in Organ Scholarship

Sponsored by the Organ Historical Society

The James M. Weaver Prize in Organ Schol­ar­ship cel­e­brates and fos­ters the schol­ar­ly research of pipe organs. Through lec­ture and per­for­mance, final­ists will illus­trate the influ­ence that prove­nance has on reper­toire, per­for­mance prac­tice and cre­ation of the instrument.

The Organ His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety mis­sion encour­ages the con­ver­gence of schol­ar­ship and per­for­mance to tell the his­to­ry – the sto­ries – of pipe organs in Cana­da and the Unit­ed States. Com­peti­tors will craft and exe­cute a schol­ar­ly pre­sen­ta­tion about an instru­ment that has cap­tured their pas­sion. This will include not only the his­to­ry of the instru­ment and its sig­nif­i­cance to the organ world, but also a demon­stra­tion of its voice – music that makes this instru­ment come alive with song and spir­it. Com­peti­tors need to have the skills for research (the OHS Library and Archives must be used for a por­tion of the research), for reper­toire per­for­mance, and to present a nar­ra­tive that will cap­ture, cap­ti­vate, and con­vince the lis­ten­er of the virtues and val­ues of the select­ed instru­ment. This is the back­drop for the Pre­lim­i­nary Round of this prize. Once three final­ists are select­ed for the Final Round, they will be assigned anoth­er instru­ment to research and present with sim­i­lar require­ments in the geo­graph­ic area of the OHS Nation­al Fes­ti­val. This prize is des­ig­nat­ed to cel­e­brate those that have the tal­ent and com­mit­ment to make organ schol­ar­ship vibrant and inspiring.

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About James M. Weaver

James Mer­le Weaver began his life­long engage­ment with music as a piano, and lat­er, organ, stu­dent in his home­town of Danville, Illi­nois. While on a high school field trip to Wash­ing­ton, DC, Weaver saw his first harp­si­chords at the Smith­so­ni­an’s Nation­al Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ry. Some­time dur­ing his sopho­more year at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois, he decid­ed to go to Ams­ter­dam to study harp­si­chord and the just-devel­op­ing field of his­tor­i­cal per­for­mance prac­tice with Dutch organ­ist and harp­si­chordist Gus­tav Leon­hardt. Return­ing to Illi­nois, Weaver com­plet­ed his bach­e­lor’s (1961) and mas­ter’s (1963) degrees, dur­ing which time he dis­cov­ered” the late-18th-cen­tu­ry fortepi­ano, an instru­ment Weaver even­tu­al­ly added to his reper­toire of his­toric keyboards.

About the Scholarship

The OHS James M. Weaver Prize in Organ Schol­ar­ship cel­e­brates and fos­ters schol­ar­ly research on pipe organs, where­in final­ists, through lec­ture and per­for­mance, illus­trate the influ­ence that prove­nance has on both reper­toire and per­for­mance practice.

The OHS Mission Statement

The Organ His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety cel­ebrates, pre­serves, and stud­ies the pipe organ in Amer­i­ca in all its his­toric styles, through re­search, edu­ca­tion, ad­vocacy, and music.

The Organ Historical Society

330 North Spring Mill Road
Vil­lano­va, PA 19085 – 1737
(484) 488-PIPE (7473)