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Biggs, E. Power (29th March 1906-10th March 1977)

He was an organist, harpsichordist and teacher born Edward George Power Biggs in Westcliff on Sea, England, and grew up on the Isle of Wight.   He studied organ and harpsichord at the Royal Academy of Music in London and in 1930 he emigrated to the United States. In 1932 he accepted a position as organist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and this job would be one that he continued with until his death.

He toured Europe in 1954 following which he believed that organ music by Baroque composers such as Pachelbel, Bach, Buxtehude etc should be performed on instruments styled for the period they were written in.  This led him to renewing American building of the organ in the Baroque style of Europe. He was a champion of the tracker organ installed at the Busch-Reisinger Museum in Harvard and made many recordings on that instrument. He was also known to favour the Challis pedal harpsichord for performances and recordings of works by Scott Joplin and Johann Sebastian Bach.

His repertoire ranged from Baroque to Ragtime and he recorded extensively for more than three decades as well as hosting a weekly radio show playing specifically organ music.

His many albums include Bach: Four Great Toccatas & Fugues, Bach: Great Organ Favourites, Plays Bach in the Thomaskirche, Mozart: The Music for Solo Organ, A Festival of French Organ Music, Stars and Stripes Forever – Two Centuries of Heroic Music in America, Historic Organs of England, Holiday for Harpsichord, Haydn: Three Organ Concertos, The Magnificent Mr. Handel, Plays Scott Joplin on the Pedal Harpsichord and the Grammy Award winning Glory of Gabrieli Vol. II – Canzonas for Brass, Winds, Strings and Organ.

In the field of musical education he was a teacher at Peabody Conservatory’s Longy School of Music.

He died in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 10 1977 aged 70 and now has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to music and the recording industry.

Gregg Smith Singers recordings
Angels We Have Heard on High (French traditional/James Chadwick/Edwin Shippen Barnes )
Sony 66300 (CD: Voices of Christmas)
Gregg Smith Singers
Texas Boys Choir
Organ – E. Power Biggs
ArrangerRobert De Cormier

Here is his performance of J.S. Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”…