UMKC Student to Perform for Renowned Organist Paul Jacobs

Addis will perform in Helzberg Hall on the new Casavant Organ

Tate Addis is preparing for the performance of a lifetime.

In less than a week, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory student will perform for Grammy-winning organist Paul Jacobs. The performance – and subsequent critique – will be held in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts’ Helzberg Hall, where Addis will be one of the first organists to play the new Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ. He is participating in a Master Class conducted for outstanding students by Jacobs, scheduled for Saturday, June 16 at 11 a.m.

As the Master Class session nears, excitement is winning out over Addis’ nerves. Perhaps that’s because just one element of this experience, whether it the venue, instrument or instructor, would be reason enough for celebration.

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity, because we have this beautiful new hall with this amazing new organ. That alone is very exciting. And then of course to combine that with being able to work with someone as gifted and knowledgeable as Paul will make it an extraordinary experience,” Addis said.

The class is part of the ongoing Inside Music Series sponsored by the Kansas City Symphony. In each session, talented students perform for seasoned professionals. Not long ago, UMKC student Chris Carr performed for internationally acclaimed opera star Joyce DiDonato. Prior to that, UMKC Conservatory student Wei Shen participated in a Master Class at the Kauffman Center with virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

This Saturday’s Master Class is free and open to the public, although reservations are required. To make a reservation, visit the Kansas City Symphony’s website.

Addis will have just two to three hours of practice time on the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ. The organ was built by the company Casavant Freres, which has been building pipe organs since 1879. The instrument is the latest addition to the Kauffman Center.

Since there is no standardization from organ to organ, Addis will have to quickly memorize the instrument’s features. It’s a task Addis is happy to take on. Addis is currently working on an artist’s certificate in piano performance. He began playing the piano when he was three, and took up the organ when he was 13. His background has given Addis an appreciation for the high-quality Casavant organ.

Addis plans to perform the Fugue on ‘Ad nos, ad salutarem unda’ by Franz Liszt. Earlier this year, Addis performed Liszt’s longest solo piano work and his longest solo organ work in one performance.

In a way, it was a small nod to Paul Jacobs. In 2000, Jacobs gained national attention when he performed the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach for 18 hours without stopping. In 2004, Jacobs became the chairman of the organ department at the Juilliard School in New York.

Addis remembers hearing about Jacobs’ marathon performance several years ago. The fact that Addis has kept up with Jacobs’ career makes this opportunity even more exceptional.

“I am so fortunate to be in a school and in a city that provides these opportunities. This is really one of the things that makes the conservatory and UMKC so special,” Addis said. Such opportunities would be expected to increase if the proposal for a new UMKC Downtown Campus for the Arts comes to fruition.

UMKC recently hired Helix Architecture + Design, Integra Realty Services and HGA Architects and Engineers to complete a feasibility study for a downtown UMKC Arts Campus. One of the “Big 5” ideas championed by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the UMKC Arts Campus plan would relocate the Conservatory of Music and Dance, UMKC Theatre and other arts programs to a new downtown location, reinforcing the university’s missions to advance urban engagement and excel in the visual and performing arts. The UMKC Arts Campus could bring as many 1,000 students, faculty and staff downtown each week.

If the feasibility study proves the UMKC Arts Campus to be a worthwhile investment, the preliminary goal is to raise between $50-80 million for the move. Funding will rely almost exclusively on local revenue streams.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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