|Born||14 September 1985|
|Origin||Frankenthal, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany|
Felix Hell (born 14 September 1985) is a German organist.
Born in Frankenthal, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hell was a child prodigy, performing his first organ recital in Russia at the age of nine, and presenting concerts on the organ in many countries around the world before his 11th birthday. Beginning piano lessons at the age of seven, inspired by Bach's C-Major Prelude, his remarkable ability was quickly apparent. It was only eight months later he decided to undertake organ lessons.
On Easter, during the year he was eight years old, he was on duty in his first service as a liturgical organist, playing the organ at a Roman Catholic High Mass. At the age of nine, he presented his first organ recital, in Russia. He has concertized extensively ever since.
"Jugend musiziert" (Federal German competition for young musicians)
From the very beginning, Hell's piano teacher has been Prof. Siegbert Panzer, German State Academy of Music, Mannheim. Felix has been formally educated by Eckard Mayer, at the Hochschule für Kirchenmusik Heidelberg, with Johannes Michel focusing in organ literature, and Christiane Michel focusing on improvisation. In this period of his education, he received additional training courses from professors Martin Lücker, Frankfurt; Pieter van Dijk, Amsterdam; Oleg Yantchenko, Moscow; Wolfgang Rübsam, Chicago; Leo Krämer, Speyer; Franz Lehrndorfer, Munich; Robert Griffith, Delaware/Ohio.
In September 1999 Hell enrolled at the Juilliard School, New York, where he had been awarded a merit-based full tuition scholarship, studying organ with Matthew Lewis and piano with Frank Levy. From 2001 to 2004 Hell studied,again under full tuition scholarship, at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he graduated in May 2004. Additional coaching while studying at Curtis by Martin Jean (Yale University), Donald Sutherland (Peabody Conservatory) and Marie-Claire Alain, Paris. He also has studied extensively with Dr. John Weaver at Juilliard, whom he expressed particular gratitude to during a performance at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York. He then played one of Weaver's own compositions.
In September 2004 Hell enrolled in both the Master of Music and the Artist Diploma programs at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, studying under the guidance of Donald Sutherland, attending additional courses held by Joan Lippincott, Princeton University, and Gillian Weir, London. He has since graduated with both degrees. Hell is currently the resident organist at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as well as a professor of organ at nearby Gettysburg College. He also continues to concertize extensively. Besides his native German, Hell speaks perfect and unaccented English. His name, in German, means "bright", and he expressed amusement in the above-mentioned concert at Trinity Wall Street about finding out what his name meant in English when first coming to America. He went on to say that his dream is to someday found a conservatory for organ students, where the graduates will be able to say that they "got their degree from Hell".
Hell maintains a rigorous schedule comprising performances all across the globe. While in Germany, he averages approximately 7 performances/recitals per month, and while in the United States, about 12.
Hell has performed more than 650 recitals in Germany and abroad: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, Spain, France, Italy, Russia, Latvia, Iceland, Norway, Jamaica, and the United States, where he had given more than 350 concerts in 42 states.
Grandes Orgues Klais, Saint Peter's Church, New York City
Great Schantz Organ, Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark, New Jersey, USA
Schoenstein-Organ at First-Plymouth Congregational Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA