BEEVILLE – On Sunday, March 9, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church will host its third concert of their series “Music in the Nave.” This concert will feature Benjamin Sheen, an organist from the United Kingdom who is currently the assistant organist at St. Thomas Church in New York City.
Sheen is one of the UK’s brightest young organists, having recently won the inaugural Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition. He has also recently been awarded Second Place and the Jon Laukvik Prize at the 2013 St. Alban’s International Organ Competition in its 50th year. In addition to his competition successes, he has also completed his master of music degree at the Juilliard School in New York, having studied with Grammy award winning organist Paul Jacobs.
Sheen began his musical education as a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where he took up the organ at age 10. In 2003, Sheen became the youngest person ever to give a recital in the cathedral’s Sunday evening series at the age of just 13. Sheen was awarded a music scholarship to Eton College where he studied organ with Alastair Sampson and David Goode. While at Eton, he gave several recitals across the UK, including Liverpool Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and York Minster as well as appearing a number of times in the Windsor Festival as a soloist. He also toured the USA with the Eton College Choir and also giving a number of solo concerts in New York, Denver, Washington and Princeton University.
For three years, Sheen held the position of organ scholar at Christ Church Cathedral where he was responsible for daily service playing as well as occasionally conducting the renowned cathedral choir. While studying at Oxford, he combined his position as organ scholar in the cathedral with a busy solo career, which led him to numerous performances in cathedrals and concert halls across the UK, as well as further afield in Australia and Germany. Recently, Sheen has given several performances of his own transcription of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, as well as several concerto performances of Guilmant and Poulenc. He has made appearances on BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio 3 with Christ Church Cathedral Choir. He has also collaborated with prestigious orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Nicholas Cleobury and Duisburg Philharmonie with Jonathan Darlington.
As a pianist, Sheen gained the highest mark in grade 8 in 2004, and was awarded the Sheila Mossman prize. In the summer of 2008, Sheen gave a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with the Eton College Symphony Orchestra. He is also a keen chamber musician, having performed piano trios by Mendelssohn, Faure and Brahms.
Sheen is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, winning the Limpus, Durrant and Frederick Shinn prizes and has recently been awarded the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal for 2011.
Sheen is generously supported by the Hattori Foundation and the Rotary Club of the USA.
The concert begins at 3 p.m. in St. Philip’s Nave. The Rainbow Room, which supports area children who for various reasons are in distress, will be the recipient of charitable funds collected.