Jonas Nordwall enjoys the most diversified career of any organist being a renown theatre organist, concert organist, church organist, organ builder, product marketer and music educator. He has performed in North America, Japan, Europe, and China and has performed fourteen concert tours in Australia. Nordwall is the only American organist to play a public recital on the famous Sydney Town Hall concert organ to an audience over 2000 that was also broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Company. In 1999, he was an adjudicator and guest recitalist for the Swiss International Organ Competition in Geneva, Switzerland.
Nordwall has performed numerous programs on the world famous Speckles outdoor pipe organ in San Diego’s Balboa Park for their International Artist Series. He has over 30 highly acclaimed recordings on a variety of labels. His recordings are frequently heard on the syndicated radio show, “Pipedreams”. Notable national television appearances include the “Today Show” and “Good Morning Australia.”
A Portland, Oregon native, Nordwall’s first musical studies began at age 4 on the accordion. Besides Portland teachers Joe Parente and Eileen Hagen, he tutored with Charles Magnante and Anthony Galla-Rini, two of the twentieth century’s most famous accordionists. At 16, Nordwall performed for Sweden’s King Gustav Adolf.
His studies expanded to piano and organ at age 10 with Portland teacher, Goldie Pos. Nordwall received a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Portland, where his piano, organ and orchestration studies were with Arthur Hitchcock, a former staff pianist and organist for 20th Century Fox Studios. Nordwall’s additional classical organ studies were with American concert organist Richard Ellsasser, Canada’s Frederick Geoghegan, and Richard Purvis, of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral.
Appointed in 1971, Nordwall is the organist for Portland’s First United Methodist Church and assumed the Director of Music position in 1990. There he oversees one of the finest music ministries in the United States. He has played for General Conferences of the United Methodist Church, the American Choral Directors Association conventions, and regional conventions for the American Guild of Organists.
As organist for the Oregon Symphony Orchestra during the tenure of Maestro James DePriest, Nordwall was a soloist for several concerts and recorded with the orchestra on the Delos label. Other solo orchestral appearances include the Vancouver, B.C. Symphony Orchestra, Portland Festival and Chamber Orchestras, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver, Washington Symphony Orchestra, the Peter Britt, Cascade Music Festivals, Symphony Silicon Valley (former San Jose Symphony) and the Bellingham WA Symphony.
Beginning in the mid 60s, Nordwall was one of few organists professionally playing theatre pipe organs. He was the organist for Howard Vollum Estate (co- founder of Tektronix) and later was the Senior Staff Organist for the Organ Grinder Corporation, performing in both Portland and Denver, Colorado on custom designed Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organs in lavish restaurant settings. The American Theatre Organ Society’s “Organist of the Year” Award was presented to Nordwall in 1987 and he was inducted into their “Hall of Fame” in 2022. He is the director of their highly successful ATOS Summer Youth Adventure, now in its 15th year.
In addition to his performing career, Nordwall has been a major influence in the latter 20th century design and manufacturing of both pipe and electronic organs. He was with the Rodgers Organ Company for over 30 years and presently is an artist for the Allen Organ Company.
“[H]is performance was a blockbuster . . .” - The Oregonian
“Nordwall, a real grandmaster of the organ arts” - San Jose Mercury News