Our Clergy & Staff
The Rev. L. Kathleen Liles
Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, the Reverend L. Kathleen Liles worked in Graphic Design and Public Relations before moving to the East Coast to attend Yale Divinity School. Following her studies, she remained in the Diocese of Connecticut where she served as Assistant Rector of St. Peter's Church, Cheshire; Interim Rector of Zion Church in North Branford; and Senior Associate Rector at Trinity Church, Southport. She accepted a call to serve as Rector of Christ & Saint Stephen's Church in the fall of 1998.
Kathleen has long been associated with the visual arts, having been a painter and student of art history as well a professional graphic designer. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute; a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School; and a Master of Sacred Theology in Medieval Religion and Art through the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.
In addition to her ministry at Christ & Saint Stephen’s, she has served as a Trustee of the Diocese of New York, Episcopal Charities, and the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. She currently services as chair of the Trustees of Saint Hilda’s and Saint Hugh’s School in New York City and is a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
The Rev. Bert Breiner
The Rev. Canon Jay H. Gordon
The Rev. James B. Hagen
Executive Assistant to the Rector
Paul Jacobs made musical history at the age of 23 when, on the 250th anniversary of the death of J. S. Bach in 2000, he played the composer’s complete organ music in an 18-hour non-stop marathon in Pittsburgh. Today, Mr. Jacobs, hailed for his solid musicianship, prodigious technique and vivid interpretive imagination in performances throughout the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia, is widely acknowledged for reinvigorating the American organ scene with a fresh performance style and “an unbridled joy of music-making” (Baltimore Sun). In 2003 Mr. Jacobs was invited to join the faculty of The Juilliard School , and the following year, he was named chairman of the organ department, one of the youngest faculty appointments in Juilliard’s history.
Known for his “charismatic showmanship and unflagging exuberance” (Wall Street Journal), Mr. Jacobs possesses a vast repertoire spanning from the 16th century through contemporary times. He has performed the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in a series of nine-hour marathons in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C., Chicago, where the Chicago Tribune called him “one of the most supremely gifted young organists of his generation,” and in New York, where The New York Times praised his “supple technique and vivid interpretive imagination.”
Following his debut at the Grand Teton Music Festival, Mr. Jacobs is embarking on a particularly noteworthy 2008-09 season, highlighted by debut performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony led by Yan Pascal Tortelier, the Phoenix Symphony conducted by Michael Christie, and the opening concerts of the Pacific Symphony’s new season with Mr. Jacobs dedicating the new Fisk organ at Segerstrom Concert Hall in a concert highlighted by world premiere of a new work for organ, brass, and percussion commissioned by the orchestra from Masterprize and Grammy Award-winner Christopher Theofanidis.
He reintroduced an unpublished prelude and fugue by Samuel Barber, performed only once in 1928, in performances in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and in San Francisco, where he was presented by the San Francisco Symphony as part of their celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the orchestra’s Ruffatti organ. On December 10, 2008, the 100th birthday of Olivier Messiaen, Mr. Jacobs marked the occasion with the composer’s Livre du Saint Sacrement in Woolsey Hall at Yale University , Mr. Jacobs’s alma mater.
Highlights of Mr. Jacobs’s most recent season included performances throughout North America, including several in New York City: His performance of Olivier Messiaen’s 1984 magnum opus Livre du Saint Sacrement at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Times Square, was named by New York magazine as one of New York’s 10 best classical performances of 2007. This was the concluding event of three activities he presented as the recipient of Juilliard’s 2007 William Schuman Scholar’s Chair. He was also tapped by Juilliard for the conservatory’s fifth annual Jerome L. Greene concert, a series honoring the memory and legacy of one of Juilliard’s staunchest supporters and dedicated exclusively to the performance of 17th- and early 18th-century music and recently dedicated New York’s first Schoenstein organ at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church on Manhattan’s West Side, where Mr. Jacobs is the artist in residence.
Paul Jacobs began studying the piano at the age of six and the organ at age 13. At 15 he was appointed head organist of a parish of 3,500 families in his hometown of Washington, Pennsylvania. Mr. Jacobs studied at The Curtis Institute of Music , where he double-majored in organ with John Weaver and harpsichord with Lionel Party. At Yale University, where Mr. Jacobs subsequently studied organ with Thomas Murray, he received a Master of Music degree and Artist Diploma and was awarded several honors, including the Dean’s Prize, the Faculty Prize of the Institute of Sacred Music, and Yale School of Music’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Most recently, Mr. Jacobs was invited to join the Yale University Council Committee on the School of Music by University President Richard Levin.
Mr. Jacobs has captured first prize in numerous competitions, including the 1998 Albert Schweitzer National Organ Competition and is the first organist ever to be honored with the Harvard Musical Association’s Arthur W. Foote Award.
In addition to concert appearances and teaching, Mr. Jacobs has been a featured performer at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists and performs frequently at festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. He has appeared on American Public Media’s “Pipedreams” and “Saint Paul Sunday,” Bavarian Radio, Brazilian Arts Television, ABC-TV’s World News Tonight, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, NPR’s Morning Edition, and CBC Radio
Director of Programs for Children & Families
Wesley D. Parker Ramsay
Organist & Choirmaster
Parker Ramsay is known in the United States, Europe and Asia both as an accomplished soloist and accompanist. In 2014, he was awarded First Prize at the Sweelinck International Organ Competition (NL). He has performed in venues including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Washington National Cathedral, Princeton University Chapel, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Festival appearances have included the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam, the Dubrovnik Summer Music Festival, the Cambridge Summer Music Festival, the Cambridge New Music Project, the 800 Jahre Thomana Celebration in Leipzig, and the 2012 American Guild of Organists National Convention, premiering a newly commissioned work, Phos, by Diana Burrell.
Parker recently completed a master’s degree in harp performance at the Juilliard School where he studied with Nancy Allen. Prior to his studies in New York City, he served as Organ Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, serving under the direction of Stephen Cleobury, whilst undertaking undergraduate studies in history. His tenure as organ scholar included two international tours, four recordings, as well as numerous television and radio broadcasts, including the service of Nine Lessons and Carols on December 24, 2012. In addition to accompanying the choir of King’s College, Parker has also had the opportunity to play for the Royal School of Church Music America summer programs, and has accompanied choirs such as the Vienna Boys Choir and the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. Following his tenure at Cambridge, Parker went on to complete a master’s degree in historical performance at Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied organ with James David Christie and harpsichord with Webb Wiggins and Lisa Crawford. He continues his studies at Oberlin Conservatory, where he is pursuing an Artist Diploma in organ performance.