Tom Hazleton

Performs a Special Program featuring the music of
George Gershwin
from "Swanee" to "Rhapsody in Blue"

March 13, 2006

Tom Hazleton, 1942 - 2006

OCTOS extends is deepest sympathies to the family and friends of  Tom Hazleton. Mr. Hazleton passed peacefully in his sleep after a successful day of recording on the Midmer-Losh organ installed at the home of Adrian Phillips.

Tom Hazleton last played at the Plummer Auditorium on September 11, 2005. We enjoyed a wonderful concert. See photos here.

Internationally-acclaimed Tom Hazelton is called "The Dean of American Theatre Organists" in this country. Hailing from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Tom was named 1995's Organist of the Year by the American Theatre Organ Society. A long and successful career, numerous recordings, and the recognition of his peers have resulted in his being inducted into the American Theatre Organ Society's Hall of Fame.

Tom Hazleton is "A master of the 'King of Instruments' ", according to the Los Angeles Times. Tom is considered to be one of the few concert organists to be equally at home at the consoles of the largest classical and theater organs in the world. He was named "Organist of the Year" in 1986 by the American Theater Organ Society. As a leading recording artist, Tom has over 35 LPs, cassette tapes and compact discs to his credit.

Hazleton studied at San Franscisco State University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and was a student of, and assistant to, the noted organist-composer Richard Purvis at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. He was the last staff organist at the Paramount Theater in the same city. Tom has concertized world-wide, including at the Mormon Tabernacle, Sydney Opera House, Radio City Music Hall, the John Wanamaker Store, on the Allen Organ in the Sacred Heart Cultural Center, Augusta GA, and the Crystal Cathedral. He is probably the most inventive and entertaining theater organist in the country to ever come to Plummer Auditorium.

YES!! Tom's performance certaininly did "knock the socks off" of the audience at this performance!!

Hazleton was organist and associate minister of music for fourteen years at the Menlo Part Presbyterian Church in California, as well as professor of organ at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. For the last twenty years, he has resided in Pennsyvania's Lehigh Valley where he has been a design consultant to major organ manufacturers, and where he recently accepted the staff position of tonal director with the Allen Organ Company in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Tom is married to Mimi Hazleton, who is a noted lyric sprano, and they have two sons, Christopher, who is a graphic artist, and Nicolas, who is a telented trumpet soloist. As a leading organ designer and tonal consultant, his specifications appear on many of the world's finest organs, including instruments for First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL; Shea Performing Arts Center, Buffalo, NY; the Palace of Music (the world's largest theater organ), Barrington, Hills, IL; and numerous instruments in churches and homes throughout the world.

"I believe that the organ has been and will continue to be the instrument of choice for the church, the worship, and the high praise of Almighty God," Tom says.

On August 2, 1998, radio station KUSC FM, Los Angeles, California, broadcast "Pipedreams", hosted by Michael Barone, featured Tom Hazleton playing the following instruments and selections:

PIPEDREAMS Program No. 9830 v

"Son of San Francisco" . . . Bay-area favorite Tom Hazleton returned to home territory for concert performances at the Castro Theater and Trinity Church on Bush Street, where California landmark instruments were recorded during an Organ Historical Society convention. Mr. Hazleton performed on a 26-rank Wurlitzer (Castro Theater) and a 1924 Skinner organ (Trinity Church), plus the 36-rank Wurlitzer at San Sylmar.

At that time, Tom performed the following selections:

IRVING BERLIN: "There's No Business Like Show Business"; JULE STYNE: "Mame"; LEONARD BERNSTEIN: "Tonight", from "West Side Story"; GUY ROPARTZ: "Sur un theme Breton"; WILLIAM WALTON: "Crown Imperial", Coronation March; WALTER DONALDSON: "Just a bird's eye view of my old Kentucky home"; RICHARD RODGERS: "Out of my dreams"; SIDNEY TORCH: "On a spring note"; HAYDEN WOOD: "The Horse Guard, Whitehall", March; JOHNNY MERCER: "Blues in the night"; PETER TCHAIKOVSKY: Andante cantabile, from String Quartet No. 1; GEORGE GERSHWIN: Andante, from Piano concerto in F; RICHARD RODGERS: "South Pacific", Medley.

[Used by permission of Michael Barone and Minnesota Public Radio]

Last Update: March 15, 2006

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