There is no shortage of descriptive words one could apply to Dr. John Schwandt: talented, fastidious, passionate, are but a few. Yet I think “communicator” describes him the best.
Criticism is easy to dish out, but it takes a special kind of communicator to deliver truly constructive criticism. As one who studied with Dr. John Schwandt for three years, I can attest that I was very often on the receiving end of musical criticism. Yet not once did I ever think any of it was unwarranted. On the contrary, his criticism illuminated the various factors that were holding me back as a musician.
When performing concerts, Dr. Schwandt’s virtuosity allows him to communicate music of divergent styles, from Baroque to 21st century Jazz. As a hymn player and improvisor, he very clearly communicates as a theologian, interpreting texts creatively and passionately.
Finally, whether it’s a bunch of football players or retirees on a field trip, Dr. Schwandt knows how to quickly size up an audience and ardently advocate for the pipe organ.
To this end, I am thrilled that he will continue to communicate to current and future organists and organ technicians through the American Organ Academy and wish it every success!
Dr. Andrew Schaeffer
Director of Music | Luther Memorial Church, Madison, Wisconsin
Editor-at-large | The Diapason, Arlington Heights, IL