We are pleased to welcome Professor Arvid Gast of Lübeck, Germany, returning for this year’s Boston Bach Birthday celebration. He joined us in 2015, when he also gave lectures at both Harvard and Yale on the history of organbuilding in Lübeck. But he has a new role this year: chair of the jury for the inaugural Boston Bach International Organ Competition that we will host in September. On this visit he will be meeting with committee heads of the BBIOC. Prof. Gast’s connection with FLC goes back to 2008, when he was a member of the jury for the famous Leipzig Bach organ competition, in which our former Minister of Music Bálint Karosi made it all the way to first place! Some years earlier as a student, Prof. Gast too competed in the Leipzig Bach event. The BBIOC is modeled after Leipzig’s, and we are privileged to have Mr. Gast’s expertise as jury chair.
Arvid Gast is director of the church music institute and principal teacher of organ at the conservatory in Lübeck, one of the former Hanseatic League cities on Germany’s Baltic coast. He also serves as Titular Organist at Lübeck’s St. Jakobi, where he has oversight of four historic organs. These include two instruments dating from the 1600s. During a typical year there are over 100 concerts on these organs, given by visitors from all over the world, students from the conservatory, and church staff. Not surprisingly, both Bálint Karosi and Jonathan Wessler, together with FLC resident ensemble Canto Armonico, have performed in St. Jakobi at the invitation of Prof. Gast. Every three years, Prof. Gast convenes a jury in Lübeck for the International Dieterich Buxtehude Organ Competition, which he founded in 2007.
Raised in Bremen, Arvid Gast studied organ performance and church music at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany. From 1990 to 1993 he held the position of organist and choirmaster at St. Nikolai Church in Flensburg. He was then appointed Professor of Organ Performance at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” and University Organist in Leipzig, where he remained until 2004 when he moved to Lübeck. From 2008 to 2014, he was also Titular Organist at the concert hall “Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen” in Magdeburg.
Arvid Gast concertizes, leads masterclasses, lectures, and adjudicates many organ competitions in Germany and beyond, with notable engagements in Europe, Russia and the Far East. This is his second visit to the USA. Last November, he played with members of the Berlin Philharmonic. Music of Bach and of the north German baroque and German Romantic periods are his specialties, as is evident from his numerous CD recordings.