Jonathan Wessler has served since 2016 as the Kantor at First Lutheran Church of Boston, where he oversees a thriving music program specializing in the finest liturgical music of the Lutheran tradition. Under his direction, the FLC choir and orchestra present music of Bach, Praetorius, Schütz, Handl, Hassler, Senfl, and others, as well as liturgical chant as retained in the Lutheran missals. He is honored to play the church’s fine Baroque pipe organ, built in 2000 by Richards, Fowkes & Co. Known as “Boston’s Bach Organ,” it renders the music of Bach and his contemporaries with the utmost authority. Wessler also serves as the artistic director of the annual Boston Bach Birthday, which draws hundreds in celebration of Bach’s contributions to sacred music.
Wessler received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from the Eastman School of Music, studying with William Porter. His primary research interest was in early Lutheran liturgy, and his doctoral essay concerned the reception of Martin Luther’s Latin and German settings of the Mass by the second generation of Lutherans, as evidenced in Johann Spangenberg’s Cantiones ecclesiasticae/Kirchengesenge Deudsch (1545). He previously earned the Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, studying with David Boe, and the Master of Sacred Music degree from the University of Notre Dame, studying with Craig Cramer. He additionally mentored under Sherry Seckler and Christiaan Teeuwsen. He holds the Colleague certificate from the American Guild of Organists and was a finalist in the 2007 Arthur Poister Organ Competition.
Wessler previously worked as the Assistant Organist at the Church of St. Paul in Harvard Square and St. Paul’s Choir School, where he accompanied the Choir of St. Paul’s, the premier Catholic choir of boys and men in America. He also trained the Probationers, directed the St. Paul Parish Choir and the Schola Cantorum, and taught music theory in the Choir School. He maintains an active career as a recitalist and continuo player.
Wessler lives in suburban Boston with his wife, Joy, and their children, Julia, Matthew, and Benjamin.