Vital Organ Project is a duo of composer-organists that facilitates the creation and performance of new music featuring the abilities and distinction of the pipe organ. Through concerts of modern repertoire and ongoing premieres of new works, this Project showcases the true versatility of the organ and its relevancy in the 21st century. To further establish this idea, VOP offers public workshops and pre-concert presentations focused towards organ education. This Project makes every effort to share topics that make the organ more accessible: how the instrument works, understanding organist terminology, and writing for the organ idiomatically. Considering the current state of the "king of instruments", it's vital that composers recognize the functionality of the pipe organ before we lose it.
Tyler Jameson Pimm (b.1991) is a composer, organist, and pianist based in Madison, WI. He has had works performed at the Northern Illinois University New Music Festival (2016), Oregon Bach Festival (2016), and the Charlotte New Music Festival (2014). In 2014, Tyler was awarded a grant through the University of Minnesota's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program to compose new works for the saxophone inspired by Native American idioms. These works were premiered by the saxophone studio at New Mexico State University later that year. Tyler has worked as a church musician the last several years, currently serving as the Director of Music Ministries at St. Peter Parish in Ashton, WI and St. Martin of Tours Parish in Martinstville, WI. He was recently granted a Master of Music in composition from the Northern Illinois University where he served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the theory and aural skills area. Tyler also holds a Bachelor of Music in composition from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He studied organ with James Russell Brown and Justin Rubin and composition with David Maki, Brian Penkrot, Robert Fleisher, and Justin Rubin. Tyler is a founding member of the composer-organist duo Vital Organ Project.
Graeme Shields (b.1992) is a Canadian-born composer and organist residing in Kalamazoo, MI. He has had works performed in the United States, Canada, and Russia at events such as Florida State University’s New Music Festival (2019), Greenlight New Music Festival (2018), and Silver Sounds International Chamber Music Competition (2015). He has also secured artist residencies at Warbler’s Roost in South River, ON (2017) and Azule in Hot Springs, NC (2016). As an instrumentalist, Graeme has held numerous organist and accompanist positions across Minnesota and Michigan, currently working as the organist at Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Haven, MI. In 2013, he traveled to Istanbul as the accompanist for the Turkish American Musical Theatre Alliance, fostering his love for collaborative work. This has led to his organization of multiple recitals, concert series, and commissions of new music.
Winner of numerous scholarships from University of Minnesota-Duluth, where Shields earned his Bachelor of Music Theory and Composition, he also received the first Achievement in "Composer for Original Music" from the Kennedy Center's American College Theater Festival program for his work with the University’s Theatre Department. Graeme also holds a Master of Music in Composition from Western Michigan University where he now teaches music theory courses. He has studied with Lisa Coons, Christopher Biggs, Richard Adams, and Justin Rubin. Graeme is a founding member of the composer-organist duo Vital Organ Project.