Mercer Names Mitchener Professor of Organ and Church Music
and Director of Townsend-McAfee Institute

March 22, 2012

Media Contact:  J. Cindy Hill, (478) 301-2933 or hill_c@mercer.edu

MACON – Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music today announced the appointment of Dr. Jack Mitchener as associate professor of organ and church music and director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music. Dr. Mitchener currently serves as associate professor of organ at Oberlin College and Conservatory.

“The hiring of Jack Mitchener initiates an exciting, innovative collaboration between our organ program and our Townsend-McAfee Institute for Church Music,” said Dr. John H. Dickson, dean of Townsend. “Dr. Mitchener brings to Mercer the artistry of an outstanding concert organist along with his experience and passion as a church musician. His vision for the role of the organ in traditional, classical and historical church music, and its significance to thoughtful worship, will ensure a great future for both organists and church musicians. We are most fortunate to have this nationally prominent organist join our faculty.”

Dr. Mitchener has performed widely and received critical acclaim for his “expressive and original playing” and his “poetic style” from The American Organist. He has given recitals, lectures and master classes for conventions of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), the Organ Historical Society, the Music Teachers National Association, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians (Montreat Conference), the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, the Society for 17th-Century Music and the Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society.  He has performed in notable venues such as St. Sulpice and the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, St. Thomas Church in New York City, the Augustinerkirche in Vienna and the St. Jacobikirche in Lübeck. He also has collaborated with renowned musicians such as Nick Eanet, the concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Mendelssohn and Ying String Quartets, lutenist Paul O’Dette, baroque flutists Sandra Miller and Rebecca Troxler and composer John Corigliano. 

“I am delighted to have been chosen for a position among such an outstanding faculty,” said Dr. Mitchener, who served as the Kenan Professor of Organ and chair of the keyboard department at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, prior to joining Oberlin. “I look forward to joining the Mercer family and greater Macon community.”

Dr. Mitchener holds three degrees and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate in both organ and harpsichord from The Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester.  During his two years studying in Paris, he won the Médaille d’or (Gold Medal), Prix d’Excellence and Prix de Virtuosité at the Conservatoire National de Rueil-Malmaison, France. He has served on the faculties of the Eastman School of Music Community Education Division, the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, the UNC School of the Arts, Salem College and Oberlin.  He has been a member of competition juries including the recorded round of the AGO National Competition and the Biarritz International Organ Competition in France.

“Jack’s colleagues in the American Guild of Organists recognize his immense talents as a concert organist and his dedication and unwavering commitment to church music,” said Dr. C. David Keith, director of graduate studies and the Townsend-McAfee Institute, and associate professor of music and church music. “I believe that Dr. Mitchener will be a great representative for the Townsend School of Music as we continue in our quest to become one of the leading schools of music in the country.” 

In addition to teaching and performing, Dr. Mitchener has had a long career in the field of church music, serving several congregations including the American Cathedral in Paris and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he played the historic E.M. Skinner, Opus 712. For the American Guild of Organists, he has been a chapter dean and a member of the National Committee on Professional Education.  He currently serves on the executive committee of the Cleveland AGO. 

“The arrival of Dr. Mitchener begins another exciting chapter in the Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music,” said Mercer trustee and benefactor Carolyn McAfee. “The rapid progress the young Institute has already experienced will be transformed into even greater momentum with an internationally recognized artist and church musician at the helm. The future of the Institute and its deserving students is in very capable hands.”

Dr. Mitchener will begin his work at Townsend this August. Learn more about Dr. Jack Mitchener at jackmitchener.com.

Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music is nationally recognized for its outstanding faculty, award-winning students, performance ensembles and state-of-the-art facilities. The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, a special institute within Townsend, is a highly selective program that prepares string students for success in the real world. Students study with some of America’s most renowned string musicians, receiving music instruction of conservatory quality, while earning an academically well-rounded education from a comprehensive, nationally recognized university. For more information and a complete listing of this season’s concerts please visit mercer.edu/music or call (478) 301-5751.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,300 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with four teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus — and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. www.mercer.edu

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