St. James by-the-Sea
Bruce Neswick appointed Artist-in-Residence at St. James by-the-Sea
Updated: Sep 9, 2022
Our world-class new pipe organ is taking shape, and it is time to plan for the exciting future ahead. St. James by-the-Sea is thrilled to announce that Bruce Neswick will join the part-time music staff this fall in a newly created position, Artist-in-Residence. In this role, Mr. Neswick will be a regular presence at the organ for Sunday services, and he will act as an ambassador for the new organ in our community: innovating creative new projects, performances, and educational opportunities.
"I am overjoyed to be coming to St. James and can't wait to be there, beginning in a few weeks,” said Neswick. “My first experience in La Jolla was almost 50 years ago, when my college choir sang at St. James by-the-Sea. I fell in love with the place then and can't quite believe my good fortune in being able to associate myself with this wonderful parish again, nearly a half-century later! In Portland, I have loved playing one of the first great organs by the LA builder, Manuel Rosales, and now I look forward to making music on his most recent instrument. Most importantly, I have enormous respect for Alex Benestelli as a musician and as a person and look forward to assisting him in any way I can be helpful."
Director of Music, Alex Benestelli, said of Neswick's arrival, "It is a privilege to have Bruce join our music staff at St. James'. He has dedicated his life's work to music ministry in The Episcopal Church, and I am deeply grateful that he will use his gifts to reach the San Diego community in new ways. Our choir learned so much from him as a guest clinician last year; we can't wait to welcome him into the St. James community."
Mr. Neswick recently announced his retirement from full-time music ministry, having served as Canon for Music at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon since 2015. Prior to this, he served many prominent institutions, including the Episcopal cathedrals in Buffalo, Lexington, Atlanta, Washington, DC, and New York City, where he was Director of Music of the historic Cathedral of St. John Divine. In addition, he has held faculty positions at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington.
A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University and of the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, Mr. Neswick also holds Fellowship degrees from the American Guild of Organists and the Royal School of Church Music and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of the South (Sewanee, TN) in 2016. He has conducted dozens of summer camps and festivals for boy and girl choristers and has been commissioned to compose for performers and churches throughout North America. Mr. Neswick’s skill at improvisation garnered him three first prizes from the 1989 San Anselmo Organ Festival; the 1990 American Guild of Organists' national convention in Boston; and the 1992 Rochette Concours at the Conservatoire de Musique in Geneva, Switzerland.
As a recitalist, Mr. Neswick has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe and has been a frequent performer at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists. In 1994, he played the opening convocation for the national AGO convention held in Dallas, Texas, and he was a featured artist at national AGO conventions in Seattle (2000), Washington, DC (2010) and Boston (2014).
Equally gifted as a composer, Mr. Neswick has been commissioned to compose for dozens of performers and churches throughout the United States. His organ and choral music are widely published and performed in concert and liturgy, including by our own Choir of St. James by-the-Sea. His hymn tune, Tomter, can be found in The Hymnal 1982 to the well-known text, “In the cross of Christ I glory.”
Mr. Neswick is looking forward to joining his husband, Texu Kim, in San Diego. Kim, an award-winning composer of instrumental and orchestral music, serves on the music theory and composition faculty at San Diego State University. We will welcome Bruce and Texu to La Jolla in October – about the same time that the sounds of our new organ are coming to life.
We are immensely grateful and humbled that Bruce has agreed to take on this new role here at St. James. With his talents and that of our dedicated volunteers, staff singers, and choral scholars – together with the amazing new Rosales/Parsons organ – our ministry will blossom and flourish in the years ahead.