Dr. Jonathan Wessler was selected unanimously by the congregation of First Lutheran Church of Boston to become its new Minister of Music and will assume the position effective September 1, 2016. Wessler, Assistant Organist at the Church of St. Paul in Cambridge, will replace Balint Karosi who joined St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City last November.
“The Minister of Music plays an important role within our congregation and, given Boston’s love of early music, the entire community,” said Pastor Ingo R. Dutzmann, senior pastor of First Lutheran. “When the vacancy was announced late last year, we knew we’d receive numerous expressions of interest from very well qualified professionals from around the world, based on the reputation the church has built during the last decade. But, we were blessed by the fact that many of those who were interested in the position did so not only because of the Richards & Fowkes Opus 10 organ that graces our sanctuary, or the annual Bach Birthday celebration or any other event, but because they saw their own calling to continue to build on the music and worship program we’re working hard to develop.
“Of those applicants, Jonathan best exemplified what we were searching for in terms of his professional talent, his ability to lead our congregation’s liturgical worship, to continue our tradition of promoting Bach and other early church composers, and his commitment to advance First Lutheran role in the greater Boston community as a place that has a deep appreciation of early music of the church.”
Wessler recently completed his fifth year as the Assistant Organist at the Church of St. Paul, 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.
“I’m honored to have been selected from what I understand to be a very talented pool of applicants,” Wessler noted. “My time at St. Paul’s was a terrific learning experience, the lessons of which I know have prepared me for the opportunities, and challenges, at First Lutheran. I’m honored to have been selected among so many peers for whom I have the utmost respect.”
Among Wessler’s responsibilities beyond Sunday services and other worship will be to continue development of First Lutheran’s choir and potential for expanded choral opportunities. The church is known for its annual Bach birthday celebration, Bach vespers services, its role as a host during the Boston Early Music Festival and venue for early music and choral performances.
In 2011 Wessler received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from the Eastman School of Music. He previously earned the Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Master of Sacred Music degree from the University of Notre Dame. He has studied with Sherry Seckler, Christiaan Teeuwsen, David Boe, Craig Cramer, and William Porter. He holds the Colleague certificate from the American Guild of Organists and was a finalist in the 2007 Arthur Poister Organ Competition.
Wessler lives in suburban Boston with his wife, Joy, and their children, Julia and Matthew.
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