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May 3, 1912 He is born in Princeton, Illinois.

Image: Virgil (left), his parents, and brother Warren

1926 He makes his concert debut at Withrow High School (Originally East High School) in Cincinnati before an audience of 2,500. Skinner Organ Co., 1919, Opus 292.

Image 1: The Stage and Skinner Organ
Image 2: The Auditorium
Image 3: An early postcard of the campus

1926-1929 He studies in Chicago with Wilhelm Middelschulte, who was then Organist of the Chicago Symphony.
1929 He is selected unanimously by the National Federation of Music Clubs as winner of its Biennial Contest in Boston—the first organist to win this honor.
1930 He graduates Salutatorian from Princeton Township High School.

Image: Princeton Township High School

1931 He becomes the first organist to win a full scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where he studies with Louis Robert. During the school year, he plays five recitals from memory and performs with the school’s symphony orchestra.
May 1932 He receives the "Artist Diploma"—Peabody’s highest award. He has the distinction of being the fourteenth organist, and the first one-year student ever, to receive the award. He is also the first student ever to receive the "Church Organist’s Certificate."
Fall 1932 He goes to Paris for a year to study with Marcel Dupré at St. Sulpice (where he also took lessons from Joseph Bonnet, for which he got into trouble with Dupré).

Image 1: Marcel Dupré at the Wanamaker console (1948)
Image 2: Pages from Virgil's "Carte D'Identité"

Apr 26, 1933 He makes his European debut at London’s Kingsway Hall before an audience of 1,100.
Fall 1933 He makes his New York debut at the Wanamaker Store’s 118-rank organ, and joins the management of Bernard R. La Berge, a major organ impresario.
Note: The New York Wanamaker store, a famous landmark in the city, was razed by fire in 1956, 34 years after the death of its founder, John Wanamaker.

Image: Bernard La Berge

Jan 1934 He makes his first American concert tour. The Episcopal church on Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin declines to book him for a fee of $50!  
Feb 19,1934 He plays in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Bach, Pas. & Fugue in c; Dupré, Fileuse; McAmis, Rose Breaks into Bloom; Russell, Bells of St. Anne de Beaupre; Guilmant, Pastorale (Sonata I); Bach, Sing Praise to God, In dulci jubilo; Vierne, Finale (Sym. IV); Middelschulte, PM; Handel, Allegro Mod. (Conc. in F); Franck, Finale in B-flat [from 3x5 card; note in upper right corner: Fox]
Mar 14, 1934 He plays at the John Wanamaker Store, New York City: Bach, Pass & Fugue; Guilmant, Pastorale (Son. I); Handel, All. Mod. (Conc. in F); Brahms, Rose B. Bloom; Schumann, Canon in b; Weagly, A Poeme; Dupré, Nativité (Passion Symphony); Vierne, Finale (Sym VI); Clokey, the Kettle Boils; Middelschulte; Franck, Finale in B-flat [from 3x5 card; note in upper right corner: Fox 21 years old (ed: this must have been his New York debut concert)
May 1, 1934 He is appointed Organist of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (where he plays a four-manual J.W. Steere with an Echo division) in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Richard Weagly is appointed choir director.
Oct 27, 1934 He plays in Chanbersburg, Pennsylvania at Wilson College: Dupre, Noel (with contrapuntal finale) d'Aquin; Bach, Trio Son in E minor, Allegro; Brahms, Rose B into Bloom; Bach, F & F in G minor; Franck, Andante from "GPS"; Dupré, The Spinner; Franck, Chorale in A minor; Middelschulte, PM; McAmis, Dreams; Mulet, Toccata [from 3x5 card; note in upper right corner: Fox]
1935 He is appointed Organist at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, which also has a four-manual E.M. Skinner organ. Richard Weagly follows as choir director.
May 8, 1936 He becomes the first organist to play a paid-admission concert at Carnegie Hall, New York. He is presented by his first concert management, Bernard R. La Berge Mgt., Inc.

Image 1: Carnegie Hall flyer
Image 2: Carnegie Hall exterior

May 1936 He is appointed head of the organ department at the Peabody Conservatory.

Image: Peabody Institute, 1949

Aug/Sep 1938 He plays in Great Britain at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge; Lincoln Minster; Durham Cathedral; and in Germany at the Thomaskirche, Leipzig (Bach’s church—where he becomes the first American organist ever to perform publicly there); Marienkirche, Lübeck (Buxtehude’s church); and Dom zu Berlin. An admiring reviewer in the Leipziger Tageszeitung writes, "He reveals the innermost secrets of the art of Bach."
Summer 1939 He plays "Come, Sweet Death" at the AGO National Convention in the Wanamaker store, Philadelphia.

Image: Virgil Fox at the Wanamaker console
(Note similarity to Dupré's photo above)

Summer 1939 A one minute home-movie of Virgil Fox, age 26, at the home of Henry Baecker, curator of the Wanamaker Organ. Pictured are Virgil, Henry's wife and daughter.

QuickTime Movie: 1:00 8mm home movie

Dec 1, 1939 He plays at Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, Maryland: Tournemire, Festum Omnium Sanctorum (L'Orgue Mystique); Bach, Trio Sonata VI, Come Sweet Death, Fugue in D; Willan, Intro, Pass, Fugue in c; Manari, Salve Regina; Vierne, Scherzo, Clair de lune; Katherine Lucke, Psalm XVIII [from 3x5 card; note in upper right corner: Fox]
Feb 15, 1940 He plays in Buffalo, New York: Purcell, Trumpet Tune & Air; Bach, Trio Sonata VI, CSD, Fugue in D; Franck, Gd. Piece Symph; Middelschulte, PM; Vierne, Scherzo, Clair de lune; Mulet, Thou Art the Rock [from 3x5 card; note in upper right corner: Fox]
Mar 13, 1940 He plays at St. Bartholomew's Church, New York City; Barestetter, Sarabande; Marchand, Fond d'Orgue; Bach, Nun freut Euch, Komm Susser Tod.; Purcell, Trumpet Tune & Air; Bach, Passacaglia; Widor, Symphony V (complete) [from 3x5 card; note in upper right corner: Fox]
1941 His arrangement of "Come, Sweet Death" is published by H.W. Gray.
Oct 1941 He records his first commercial releases with RCA on the Chapel Organ at Girard College. See OrganArts for complete details about this recording and the compact disc re-release (2004).
May 20, 1941 He plays at Kimball Hall, Chicago, Illinois: Hure, communion; Bach, CSD; Robt. R. Bennett, Allegrette grancosa (Sonata in G); Bach, Toccata & Fugue in d; Andriessen, Toccata; Encores: Mulet, Thou Art the Rock; Bach, Jig Fugue; Middelschulte, PM [from 3x5 card; note in upper right corner: Fox]
1942 He enlists in the Army Air Force and takes a leave of absence from Brown Memorial Church and the Peabody Conservatory. He enters as a Private and is promoted to Corporal and then Staff Sergeant. While stationed at Bolling Field, he plays three recitals and five services weekly. At one concert, Eleanor Roosevelt attends. He has to nod to her after each piece so that she can check off pieces on her program and know where he is. She explains to him that she is totally unmusical! He plays three times at the White House on the ornate Steinway piano.
Mar 1943 Washington, D.C. He and other enlisted personnel perform at Bolling Field, for a kitchen shower of the Walsh Club for war workers, with members of the club and Mrs. Stuart Godfrey, chairman of Music for the Services.

Photo Caption: Left to right: Corporal Virgil Fox, noted organist and pianist; Corporal Don Benjamin, director of the show; Mrs. Marion McGregor, in charge of publicity for Music for the Services; Miss Betty Baum, concert singer; Sergeant Bob Shortmeyer; Miss Hedy Miller, member of the club; Mrs. Stuart

Apr 29, 1945 Staff Sergeant Fox plays a recital at Cadet Chapel, West Point, New York, on the 206-rank organ.

Image: West Point program

1946 He is discharged from the Army Air Force after having played more than 600 concerts while on duty.
1946 He accepts the position of Organist of the Riverside Church, New York, with Richard Weagly as choir director.

Image: Early photo of The Riverside Church before additions

Oct 1946 He records on 78RPM A Program of Organ Music at Hammond Castle.

Image 1: Virgil in the basement of Hammond Castle with recording engineers
Image 2: Seated at the console during the recordings
Image 3: Cover of the original record album

See OrganArts for complete details about this recording and the compact disc re-release (2004).

Feb 15, 20, 26
He plays 44 major works (in three concerts) from memory at the Library of Congress under the auspices of the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation in the Coolidge Auditorium.

Image 1: Program Cover
Image 2: February 15 concert
Image 3: February 20 concert
Image 4: February 26 concert

1948 The Riverside Church acquires a new five-manual Æolian-Skinner console for the Hook and Hastings organ.

Image 1: Virgil seated at the new console
Image 2: Virgil seated at the new console
Image 3: Virgil and Richard Weagly at the new console
(Pictures 2 and 3 taken from "The Church Monthly", a publication of The Riverside Church, Volume 23, November, 1948

Jul 1949 He meets Albert Schweitzer in New York.

Image: Portrait of Schweitzer

Early 1950's? He is photographed with famous English organbuilders Henry Willis and son, in Westminster Cathedral, London.
Sep 27, 1950 He plays in England at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Canterbury; and in Paris at the Salle Pleyel.

Image 1: Virgil at the marquee in front of Salle Pleyel
Image 2: Concert Flyer
Image 3: Concert Program
Image 4: Canterbury Cathedral

Oct 8, 1951 He is photographed at Delta Airlines in Augusta, Georgia with Carrie McClatchy and unidentified woman. Photograph from the Chronicle.
1952 He is voted "America’s Most Popular Organist" by 17,000 subscribers of Choral and Organ Guide. The award was named "Big Ten of the Organ World.

Image 1: Photograph of the engraved "Winners Cup"
Image 2: Close-up of the engraved names

1952 He leaves Bernard R. La Berge Management and contracts with Roberta Bailey as his new manager.

Image 1: Roberta Bailey signed photograph to Ted Alan Worth
Image 2: Virgil and Roberta seated at the console of Methuen Memorial Music Hall (6-4-52)
Image 3: Virgil seated at the console of Methuen Memorial Music Hall (6-4-52)

Feb 5, 1952 He plays a solo concert at Boston Symphony Hall.

Image 1: Virgil seated at the console
Image 2: Virgil bows to the audience
Image 3: Concert review excerpts

Aug 1952 He plays in England at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Canterbury.
Aug 1952 He is chosen by the State Department to represent the United States at the First International Conference on Sacred Music, in Bern, Switzerland.

Image 1: In front of Bern Cathedral
Image 2: Close-up in front of Bern Cathedral
Image 3: At statue in front of Bern Cathedral
Image 4: With Flor Peeters in front of Bern Cathedral
Image 5: With Flor Peeters in front of Bern Cathedral
Image 6: With Flor Peeters and Margaret Field-Hyde inside Bern Cathedral
Image 7: Virgil writes about his experience

Apr 1953 He visits Rockefeller Center, New York City
Jan 1954 He appears on the cover of Listen

Image: The cover of Listen

Jul 1, 1954 He plays for the first time with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Arthur Fiedler conducting, at Boston Symphony Hall.
Oct 1954 He appears on the cover of Hammond Times.

Image: The cover of Hammond Times

Mar 1955 He appears on the cover of Musical Courier.

Image: The cover of Musical Courier

Mar 25, 1955 He gives a solo dedicatory recital on the new organ at the Riverside Church.

Image: Riverside program
(Virgil writes in number of attendees)

Mar 30, 1955 He gives an orchestral dedicatory recital at the Riverside Church with the New York Philharmonic, Dimitri Mitropoulis conducting. The program includes Bach’s "Concerto in D Minor" and Joseph Jongen’s "Symphonie Concertante."

Image: Riverside program
(Virgil writes in number of attendees)

Apr 26, 1955 He plays a concert at Hugh Becket's Moore Theatre sponsored by the Seattle Hammond Organ Society.

Image: Virgil and Roy Leighton, President of the SHOS

Dec 1955 He plays for the AGO Midwinter Conclave at the Wanamaker Store, Philadelphia.
Jun 1956 He plays the Guild Service for the AGO National Convention at Riverside Church: American première of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ "Dona Nobis Pacem" with the Riverside Choir, Richard Weagly conductor; American première of Maurice Duruflé’s "Suite, Opus 5." He plays "Roll Out the Barrel" on the Paramount Theatre Wurlitzer during a late night theatre organ concert.
Oct 1956 He travels to Paris, France and poses with Maurice Duruflé and Pierre Cochereau at the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
1957 He shares with Frederick Swann the title and duties of Organist of The Riverside Church, New York.
Mar 19, 1958 The Christian Science Monitors reviews his solo performance at Symphony Hall, Boston.
Sep/Oct 1959 He plays in Europe at the American Church in Paris, St. Matthäuskirche (Munich), St. George’s Hall (Liverpool), Colston Hall (Bristol), the Royal Air Force Church of St. Clement Danes, and Birmingham Town Hall.
May/Jun 1960 He and Frederick Swann dedicate the Austin organ in Christ Chapel, Riverside Church, New York.
1960 He is contracted to record six albums for Capitol Records.
Jun 1960 He plays the Jongen "Symphonie Concertante" for organ and orchestra with the Detroit Symphony at Ford Auditorium during the AGO National Convention.
Jun 1961 He records Joseph Jongen’s "Symphonie Concertante" with George Prêtre and the Paris Opera Orchestra at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris.

Sep 1961 He plays in England at St. Mary Abbots, Kensington, and at Birmingham Town Hall.
1961-1962 He is presented in several all-Bach concerts at Riverside, organized at his request by E. Paul Fitz Gerald. He decides that playing all-Bach recitals should be a main theme of his career from this point on.
Jun 1962 He hires Richard Torrence as his secretary and personal representative.

Image: Virgil Fox and Richard Torrence

Jun 1962 He plays at Richard Simonton’s home for a private concert during the National Convention of the AGO in Los Angeles, California.
Dec 15, 1962 With Catherine Crozier and E. Power Biggs, he dedicates the new Æolian-Skinner organ in Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York.

Image 1: Façade of the organ
Image 2: Biggs, Crozier and Fox

Jan 7, 1963 He performs the first solo organ recital at Philharmonic Hall.

Image 1: Philharmonic program cover
Image 2: Virgil accepts the applause from the sold out house

Jan 23 & 24,
He makes the first recording on the Philharmonic Hall Æolian-Skinner organ for Command Records: Bach's "Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor", Messiaen's "Dieu Parmi Nous", and Franck's "Grande Pièce Symphonique."
Apr 1963 He informs Roberta Bailey that, effective in June, Richard Torrence will be his concert manager.
Jun 1963 He becomes (and often insists on being called) "Dr. Fox" after being awarded an honorary degree from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He claims that the honorific helps him get better service from hotels and airlines.
Aug 1963 Hi-Fi Magazine presents a one page article on Virgil Fox titled "Virgil Fox, Forty thousand pounds of organ stand up and speak."

PDF File: Hi-Fi Magazine article

Fall 1963 He records an all-Bach album for Command (his first was for RCA Victor in the 1950s, also at Riverside).
Sep/Oct 1963 He plays in England at Bolton Parish Church and Birmingham Town Hall.
1964 He records on the Wanamaker organ in Philadelphia in the spring; records the organ at Royal Albert Hall in London for Readers Digest Records in the fall; and records "The Christmas Album" for Command at St. Paul the Apostle, New York.
1964 He receives the "Distinguished Alumni Award" from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
Jun 1964 He plays a morning concert at the Wanamaker Store during the AGO National Convention in Philadelphia, and celebrates the release of his Wanamaker Command album.
Sep 1964 He begins his "sabbatical" from the Riverside Church.
1965 He makes two final records for Command, both at Boston Symphony Hall.
Jun 1965 He resigns from the Riverside Church.
Jun 1966 He plays at The Temple, Atlanta, Georgia, for the AGO National Convention. The G. Donald Harrison four-manual Æolian-Skinner organ was designed by Virgil and Emilie Spivey, Temple Organist.
Spring 1967 He plays his first recital on the Rodgers Touring Organ ("Black Beauty") in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Image: Black Beauty console
Apr 23, 1967 He plays a Philharmonic Hall recital (Mendelssohn, Duruflé).

Image 1: Exterior of Philharmonic Hall
Image 2: Ticket stub from concert

Dec 24, 1967 He performs on the "Ed Sullivan Show."
1968 He hires Alix Williamson to publicize his career, at the urging of Richard Torrence and Marshall Yaeger. Williamson requires that he perform a four-concert series in New York that she can publicize.
1969 He records an album of hymns on the Rodgers Touring Organ for Kapp Records ("Songs of Inspiration").
Oct 21, 1969 He performs "The Bach Gamut" on the first of the Fanfare for Organ series at Philharmonic Hall.
Nov 25, 1969 He performs "The Gallic Greats" on the second of the series.
Jan 18, 1970 He performs "La Belle Époque" on the third of the series.
Feb 24, 1970 He performs "The Contemporary Concerto" on the fourth of the series with the Symphony of the New World (Joseph Jongen "Symphonie Concertante," Jan Hanus "Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani," and the Francis Poulenc "Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani").
July 3-5, 1970 Close-Up on Bach - Virgil Fox and Roslyn Tureck hosted a 3 day seminar in Glen Cove New York featuring concerts, masterclasses and lectures.

Image 1: Roslyn and Virgil reviewing a score
Image 2: Roslyn and Virgil with bust of Bach

Dec 1, 1970 He performs the first "Heavy Organ" concert with Joe’s Lights at the Fillmore East, New York, recorded by Decca Records, a Division of MCA Inc.

Image 1: Virgil poses in front of marquee at Fillmore East
Image 2: Color Publicity Photo of Virgil at the console with the light show during this performance
PDF File: Heavy Organ Promotional Brochure

Dec 14, 1970 He performs the second Heavy Organ concert at the Fillmore East.
Apr 27, 1971 He dedicates the four-manual Saville #100 (172 equivalent ranks; the largest electronic organ at that time) in the Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, Illinois with chamber orchestra, Victor Allessandro conducting.
1971-1974 His four Heavy Organ "live" recordings are listed among Billboard Magazine’s best-selling classical albums during most of this period.
Summer 1971 He begins his first national Heavy Organ tour with Pablo Lights, playing in Washington, D.C. at Constitution Hall, and as far West as the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Image 1: Members of Pablo Lights
Image 2: Newspaper AD for July 15 Washington DC Concert

Oct 14, 1971 He plays his first West Coast performance of Heavy Organ with Pablo’s Lights at Winterland, San Francisco. Decca records the concert.
Jan 15, 1972 Heavy Organ concert with Pablo Lights, McKay Auditorium, Tampa, Florida.

Image: Concert Ticket

Summer 1972 He tours Heavy Organ with concerts at Wolf Trap Farm Park in Washington, D.C. and at Temple University Music Festival, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Oct 14, 1972 He plays his final Heavy Organ concert with Pablo Lights in Beckman Auditorium at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
Oct 17, 1972 He plays his first Heavy Organ concert with Revelation Lights at San Diego College.

Image: Virgil Fox and David Snyder

Nov 9, 1972 He appears on the "Mike Douglas Show" to promote an album of wedding music for Decca Records.
Dec 20, 1972 He plays Heavy Organ in Carnegie Hall, recorded by RCA.

Image 1: Heavy Organ Poster designed by David Byrd
Image 2: Heavy Organ Flyer based on the Byrd Poster

May 2, 1973 He appears again on the "Mike Douglas Show."
Jun 15, 1973 He plays "Tea for Two" with Liberace on the "Mike Douglas Show."

Image: Mike Douglas, Virgil, and Liberace

Summer 1973 He tours Heavy Organ with concerts at Wolf Trap Farm Park in Washington, D.C. and at the Meadowbrook Festival near Detroit, Michigan. According to Wolf Trap Farm Park (seating capacity 6,000), the two largest "draws" in the facility’s history are Heavy Organ with Virgil Fox and the popular duo-piano team, Ferrante and Teicher.

Image: Roberta Bailey and family at Wolf Trap posing near the Heavy Organ trailer truck.
Oct 5, 1973 He plays for the first time (as a "Founding Artist") at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Martin Feinstein, head of Kennedy Center, calls two weeks before to schedule an after-concert party for Virgil, expressing surprise that the concert is already sold out! As a Founding Artist, he gets his name chiseled in a white marble wall of the Kennedy Center (and, according to Richard Torrence, "gets chiseled out of a fee!").

Image: Audience and stage shot of concert

Dec 20, 1973 He records a second Heavy Organ concert in Carnegie Hall, also released by RCA.
Jan 7, 1974 Heavy Organ receives a positive review in Time Magazine.
Spring, 1974 He records the Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra on the Rodgers Touring Organ for RCA Records. Virgil had offended Ormandy many years before with one of his performance antics, but this time, Ormandy was overwhelmed by his artistry, and felt that he brought out inner voices in the Saint-Saens that he never knew existed. Later they performed the work at the Saratoga Center for the Performing Arts.

Image: An early photo of Virgil with Maestro Ormandy, probably in 1957 during the Worcester Music Festival.

May 3, 1974 He plays with the Boston Pops, Arthur Fiedler conducting. The concert is later televised on PBS. Friends wish him "Happy Birthday" from the audience.

QuickTime Movie 1: "Gigue Fugue"
QuickTime Movie 2: Middelshulte Pedal Solo
Image: Arthur Fiedler and Virgil

Oct 1, 1974 He dedicates the new five-manual Rodgers organ (the largest electronic organ ever built at that time) in Carnegie Hall, New York. The concert is recorded by RCA but never released (the organ sounds awful). Time Magazine gives a positive review to Virgil and the new organ. (Rodgers supplies the organ with new speakers in 1975, and it is revoiced by Ted Alan Worth.)

Image: Concert Program

Dec 1974 Virgil Fox does a "Radio Call-In" to WCRB Boston's "King of Instruments" Program with Nat Johnson. Listen through to the end, as Nat recites a poem about the Hammond Castle. Sound file courtesy of Peter Krasinski.

MP3 File A: Virgil Fox calls in to the Radio Show
MP3 File B: Nat Johnson reads Virgil Fox's Statement of Intent for the Hammond Castle published in "The Gloucester Daily Times", August 29, 1974



Jan 14, 1975 He plays for Albert Schweitzer’s 100th Anniversary celebration in Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Westenberg. The all-Bach concert also features pianist Eugene Istomin, a spoken message by Marta Casals (who later becomes Marta Istomin), and the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The first Albert Schweitzer Music Award, created by E. Paul Fitz Gerald, Richard Torrence, and Marshall Yaeger, is given to Isaac Stern "for a life’s work dedicated to music and devoted to humanity." The concert is presented under the auspices of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

Image 1: Virgil at the console
Image 2: Virgil with Westenberg and Torrence

Feb 1975 He plays a 20-minute showcase of Heavy Organ at the National Entertainment Conference (a rock’n’roll booking conference for the university market) in Kansas City. He plays the only encore in the history of the NEC showcases (strictly verboten!), the "Perpetual Motion for Pedal Alone." The 2,000 conference delegates vote him the second most popular showcase performer (after "Flash Cadillac").
Jun 1975 He acquires the rights to operate the Hammond Castle Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The medieval castle has a four-manual, 135-rank pipe organ on which he had previously made 78-RPM recordings.

Image 1: Virgil at the console of the organ at Hammond Castle
Image 2: Virgil at the "Opening Gala" of the "Virgil Fox Center for the Performing Arts"
Image 3: A "birds-eye view" of the Great Hall
Image 4: Exterior of Hammond Castle

Sep 17, 1975 He plays the world première of the five-manual Rodgers touring organ (the "Royal V") at the Concord Pavilion near San Francisco.

Image 1: Concert Poster
Image 2: Concert Ticket

1976 Palm Beach - Virgil, his mother and various friends at his beachfront in Florida.

QuickTime Movie: Home Movie - Florida

Sep 10 & 19,
Organ Arts, Ltd. presents "The Bach Gamut" in two concerts at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco as part of "A Triumphant Blaze of Sound and Light" (advertised as a "Festival of Organ Virtuosos and Illumination").

Image: Concert Poster

Sep 1976 Dr. Wm. Armstrong detects a cancerous lump on Virgil's prostate gland. He cancels November and December concerts. His prostate gland is surgically removed in Florida.
1977 He appears on The Dick Cavett Show.
Apr 1, 1977 He dedicates the new Fratelli Ruffatti organ at Garden Grove Community Church in Garden Grove, California.
Apr 1977 He plays "The Bach Gamut" in two concerts at St. Ignatius Loyola, New York, which includes his playing his first public concert on harpsichord (as well as organ) for non-organ Bach pieces required to comprise the complete musical scale.
May 1977 He celebrates his official gala jubilee (his 50th consecutive season on the concert stage) in a sold-out recital at Kennedy Center (a single-concert "Bach Gamut").
Jun 1977 He plays a solo recital ("The Bach Gamut" with organ and harpsichord) in NHK Hall in Tokyo, and performs the Jongen Symphonie Concertante with the NHK Symphony on NHK Television.

QuickTime Movie: Bach - "Fugue in D Major"
Walcker Organ

Aug 28,1977 He makes two direct-to-disc recordings (and the first American commercial digital recording ever) at Garden Grove Community Church for Crystal Clear Records.
Oct 1, 1977 He inaugurates his own four-manual Allen touring organ in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Nov 1977 His management (Richard Torrence and Robert Fry) appoint Marilyn Brennan to form Friends of Virgil Fox (soon renamed Virgil Fox Society) and to publish the first issue of The Clarion. He receives a Certificate of Honor from Delta Omicron, the International Music Fraternity.
Dec 18, 1977 Virgil Fox Interview with Robert Sherman for the Radio Program "Citibank's Great Artist Series" on WQXR, the radio station of The New York Times. This program celebrates Fox's 50th anniversary as an organist. Several musical selections are featured. Sound files courtesy of David Fiebiger.

MP3 Audio Files: About 22 minutes each file



Jan 17, 1978 He plays a full concert program on a two-manual, 22-rank Holtkamp baroque organ with no expression boxes at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The program defiantly includes Reubke’s Romantic "Sonata on the 94th Psalm."
Mar 1978 First issue of "The Clarion" is published. Virgil Fox signs the front cover with a personalized message.
Mar 2, 1978

Image: Kennedy Center concert program "The Gallic Gamut"

Jun 1978 He announces his change of management from Torrence Associates to Kolmar-Luth, effective for the 1979-80 season.
Mar 1979 He appears on the cover of Keyboard Magazine.

Image: The cover of Keyboard Magazine

May 1, 1979 Another Virgil Fox Interview with Robert Sherman for the Radio Program "The Listening Room" on WQXR, the radio station of The New York Times. David Snyder is also heard. Several musical selections are featured. Sound files courtesy of David Fiebiger.

MP3 Audio Files: About 22 minutes each file



May 6, 1979 He performs and records his last concert at the Riverside Church (the Bainbridge recording of the concert is called "Soli Deo Gloria"). He receives a Certificate of Merit from Glassboro State College, New Jersey.

Image: Van Cliburn, Virgil and their mothers at the concert
QuickTime Movie 1: Duruflé - "Toccata"
QuickTime Movie 2: "O God Our Help in Ages Past"
Hazel Gravel, soloist in 4th verse
QuickTime Movie 3: Jongen - "Toccata"

Jun 1979 He begins his last full season, touring under the management of Kolmar-Luth.
Jul 12, 1980 He performs his last solo recital in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.
Sep 26, 1980 He performs for the last time with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as the soloist in the Saint-Saëns "Organ Symphony" and the Poulenc "Organ Concerto."
Oct 25, 1980 He dies of cancer in Palm Beach, Florida.
Oct 27, 1980 New York Times obituary.
Oct 28, 1980 Many friends attend his funeral at his home (Casa Lagomar) in Palm Beach, Florida.
Nov 9, 1980 Hundreds attend his funeral at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. Ted Alan Worth plays "Come, Sweet Death" and, for the removal of the casket, Mulet's Toccata, "Thou Art the Rock."

Image: Earlier color photo of Virgil, Robert Schuller and his wife
External Link: Gravesite information
1969-1970 He tapes "La Belle Epoque" for CBS-TV's "Camera Three," one of the most prestigious music and dance shows to ever appear on network television in the U.S. It is available for viewing at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York and Los Angeles. The producer was Merrill Brockway, and the writer Stephan Chodorov (who donated the tape to the Museum). Fox plays Harry Rowe Shelley's "Fanfare," Alexandre Guilmant's "Marche Religieuse," and Charles Ives' "Variations on America," and ends with two-thirds of Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance, March No. 1." The Rodgers Touring Organ sounds like one would expect in an acoustically dead television studio, but Virgil plays brilliantly, and talks a great deal to the camera. The camera work is beautiful, complete with a 360-degree crane shot during the Elgar. Virgil wears a purple velveteen suit with gold lace at his cuffs and collar. Well worth seeing if you want to see the master at work in his mature prime.

Image: Still shot of Virgil addressing the camera.
QuickTime Movie: 1:30 selection of the 30 minute TV show

This 30 minute program is available on the "Virgil Fox Plays the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ" CD/DVD.


Dec 1978 QuickTime Movie:
Bach - Fugue from "Toccata, Adagio & Fugue"
Austin organ
North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, AZ
Dec 1978 QuickTime Movie:
"O Come All Ye Faithful"
Austin organ
North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, AZ
Oct, 1980
  • Eileen B. Vernon managed the fundraising drive for the permanent monument to Virgil Fox that now stands in front of the City Hall of Princeton, Illinois (Virgil's hometown).
  • According to Eileen, Virgil's biography, Virgil Fox (The Dish), left out the fact that Virgil graduated from Princeton High School on North Euclid Street, and that his private music teacher's last name was "Fay." (She believes that Fay's first name was "Edward.")
  • Present when the monument was dedicated were local officials (including the mayor) and representatives of the local newspaper and radio station along with the minister.
  • After the dedication, Eileen and her family drove north to Malden, Illinois, where Virgil's ashes were buried in the family plot.
  • Eileen's daughter Donna played "Taps," and a concert was held later at Hampshire Colony Congregational Church on the same organ that Virgil had played while growing up.
  • Warren Mueller was the pastor.
  • A reception separated the two separate standing-room only concerts that followed, which were played by Mark Bani, a recent Curtis graduate.
  • David Snyder attended, having brought the ashes to the burial ceremony.
Nov 16, 1980 The Riverside Church has a memorial service for Virgil. Organists were Dr. John Walker and Frederick Swann.
May 3, 1981 National CIty Christian Church, Washington, D. C. presents the First Annual Virgil Fox Memorial Recital. Keith Chapman presents the recital on the 1976 Möller organ.
May 3, 1992 Virgil Fox - American Virtuoso (KBYU-FM, Utah)
An 80th birthday tribute broadcast on public radio stations throughout the USA in 1992. Dan Cronenwett, producer. Virgil Fox plays several selections including the complete Jongen "Symphonie Concertante" and interviews with Richard Torrence, Ted Alan Worth, Lon Schreiber, David Lewis, John Rose, and others.

MP3 Audio Files: 45 minute each file


Oct 2000 20th Memorial Concert at The Riverside Church, New York City. Sponsored by The Virgil Fox Society. Featured artists were Steven Frank, Tom Hazleton, Robert Hebble, Mark Miller, Timothy Smith, Frederick Swann, Robert Tall, and Carol Williams.

PDF File: Concert Program

Purchase the Concert CD


2001 Virgil Fox (The Dish) is published by Circles International. Richard Torrence and Marshall Yaeger were commissioned by The Virgil Fox Society to complete Ted Alan Worth's memoirs of his mentor.

Image 1: Book cover
Image 2: Book plate signed by all the authors - limited edition

Purchase the book


Oct 2001 21st Memorial Recital at Lord & Taylor, Philadelphia (formerly the John Wanamaker Store). Organ Recital by Peter Richard Conte, joined by pianist Paul Bisacchia for a piano/organ arrangement of the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto.

PDF File: Concert Program

Aug 31, 2002 "Tribute to Virgil Fox" played by Richard Morris at Spivey Hall, Clayton College and State University, Morrow, Georgia, as the first concert of Virgil Fox Festival 2002 in Atlanta. (Concert recorded live and released by SEEmusicDVD as a CD/DVD album.)

Purchase the Concert CD/DVD

Sep 1, 2002 "Fox at the Fox," 22nd Memorial Concert at Atlanta's Fox Theatre. Featured artists were Jonas Nordwall, Lyn Larsen, Tom Hazleton, and Larry Douglas Embury.

Image: Concert Poster
PDF File 1: Legacy Poster
PDF File 2: Concert Program

Feb 16, 2004 "The Bach Gamut - Volume I" is released. Recorded at a concert in St Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco, the album was released as both CD/DVD as a part of the SEEmusicDVD Kaleidoplex collection.
May 2004 From "The Last Page" of The American Organist Magazine: In 1952, Choral & Organ Guide conducted a popularity poll to learn trends in organ music as reflected by the various tastes of the leading organ virtuosos, specifically if Romantic or Baroque music was the more popular. Subscribers were asked to list five names (from the first choice to fifth) and up to four write-ins were allowed. More than 2,200 ballots were returned. Virgil Fox received the most votes, followed by E. Power Biggs and Catherine Crozier. Fox received the Organ Cup, pictured in this PDF, on which were engraved the names of the top ten winners. An accompanying booklet with the publicity photos of each was published; those photographs are reprinted as well.
May 2004 OrganArts inaugurates a series of historic recordings by various artists with a CD of Virgil Fox’s first commercial recording sessions. When Fox was 29, RCA Victor recorded him on the magnificent E.M. Skinner Organ in the Chapel at Girard College, Philadelphia. He plays his arrangement of Bach’s “Come, Sweet Death,” Healy Willan’s “Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue” (which he never recorded elsewhere), and ten more pieces he helped make famous. RCA released, on 78 rpm discs, only eight of the twelve works recorded. John Wilson has digitized all twelve pieces to inaugurate this series. Liner notes by Jonathan Ambrosino.

Visit OrganArts for sound samples and detailed information.

Oct 2005 25th Memorial Concert at several locations in New York City. Sponsored by The Virgil Fox Legacy.

PDF File: Concert Program
Web Page: NY Times Review

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