Stephen Tharp delights audiences with his playing, which is transparent and weightless even in the most virtuosic passages. The American musician dedicates his debut at the Philharmonie organ to the toccata, the genre that allows organists to show off their brilliance particularly well. Stephen Tharp studied organ and piano in Illinois/USA and Paris under Wolfgang Rübsam, Gillian Weir and Jean Guillou, among others. He has lived in New York since the 1990s, where he is the titular organist and resident artist of several churches in Manhattan. He sets standards on his instrument, especially in contemporary music. He has premiered numerous works, including pieces by Thierry Escaich and David Briggs' Toccata Labyrinth. The American is also active as a composer and has received commissions from Cologne Cathedral and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Stephen Tharp performs worldwide as a chamber musician, not only on the organ but also on piano and harpsichord, and gives concerts with artists such as the singer Thomas Hampson and the violinist Itzhak Perlman. In addition to his extensive concert activities, he gives master classes in the USA and Germany. He has also released numerous solo CDs on various labels. In 2009, he was awarded the German Record Critics’ Award for his recording of the complete works of Jeanne Demessieux, a pupil of Marcel Dupré who is known for the technical difficulties of her works. The American Guild of Organists presented him with the International Performer of the Year Award in 2011, and in 2015 Stephen Tharp received the Paul Creston Award, which recognises artistic excellence by a significant figure in church music and the performing arts.