Minister of Music
Joshua Stafford, Minister of Music, began his service at First Church in March 2023. Previously he served as the director of music ministries and organist for Riverside Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Florida starting 2021. He also serves as Director of Sacred Music and the Jared Jacobsen Chair for the Organist of the Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York since 2020 where he assists in planning for daily worship and directs the Chautauqua Community Choir and the institution’s Motet Choir.
A native of Jamestown, New York, he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2010 where he served as a scholarship student of Alan Morrison. In 2012, he received his Master of Music degree in organ performance and a certificate in sacred music from the Yale School of Music as a student of Thomas Murray in organ and Jeffrey Brillhart in improvisation. While at Yale, Stafford was the recipient of the Robert Baker Award.
In 2016, Stafford was named the Pierre S. du Pont First Prize winner of the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition. The international jury unanimously selected Stafford for the $40,000 prize that is awarded to the best organist among the top young talents in the field. He also was named member of The Diapason’s 20 Under 30 Class of 2017. The Diapason is a renowned international journal of church music. He formerly served as director of music for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Morristown, New Jersey, from 2013 to 2021.
Josh Stafford is an accomplished organ recitalist and is represented in North America by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC. His programs span music genres and have included major organ transcription, improvisation, and silent movie accompaniment. A number of his performances have been aired on Minnesota Public Radio’s Pipedreams and WRTI’s Wanamaker Organ Hour in Philadelphia. In June of 2018, Stafford debuted a transcription for organ of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite accompanying the animated film “Who Stole the Mona Lisa” at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
614 228-1741 x 112 [Office]