Joseph Ripka

Concert Organist

As the first prize winner of the 2008 Dublin International Organ Competition, the 2008 Fort Wayne National Organ Competition and the 2008 San Marino/Elizabeth Elftman National Organ Competition, Joseph Ripka has earned national and international recognition as one of today’s finest young organ talents.  Joseph was awarded first prize at the Dublin competition by a unanimous decision of all five international jurors.

Joseph is in demand as a concert organist and has performed recitals throughout the United States.  He received high praise in a review from the Boston Musical Intelligencer for his performance at Holy Cross College in Worcester Massachusetts on the renowned Taylor and Boody Opus 9 instrument.  Joseph has performed with the New World Symphony, the Boston Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Benjamin Zander, and Alan Gilbert.  Mr. Ripka’s recitals have been aired on American Public Media's Pipedreams several times; he was invited by Michael Barone to be the featured artist for the 25th anniversary celebration of Pipedreams in 2008 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  During the summer of 2009, Joseph made his European concert debut with recitals at St. Sulpice in Paris, Bavo Kerk in Haarlem, Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, and Hooglandse Kerk in Leiden, Netherlands.  Joseph has since played recitals at Westminster Cathedral in London, St. Michael’s Church in Dun Laoghaire, St Paul's Cathedral in London, St Columb's Cathedral in Derry, Noorderkerk in Amsterdam, and many more. 

Mr. Ripka is also a performing pianist, concertizing frequently with his wife violinist Erin Kathryn Ripka as the Ripka Duo. Mr. Ripka received the prestigious Artist Diploma in organ from the Oberlin Conservatory where he studied with James David Christie.  He holds Master of Music degrees in piano and organ performance from the University of Kansas and Bachelor of Music degrees in piano and organ performance from Saint Cloud State University, MN.  His previous teachers include James Higdon, Charles Echols, Jack Winerock, Carmen Wilhite, and Yakov Gelfand.  He has coached with Olivier Latry, Marie Claire Alain, Wilma Jensen, Jean-Baptiste Robin, John Scott, and Phillipe Lefebvre.

Mr. Ripka is the Director of Music at All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Day School in Phoenix, AZ.  He is the former organist and choirmaster at Calvary Church (Episcopal) in Stonington, CT and artistic director of Calvary Music School.  At Calvary, he directed an active music program, including adult and children’s choirs and a music school with over 100 students and a faculty of 14. During the summer of 2016, the Calvary Choir (RSCM) under Mr. Ripka’s direction, toured the UK singing nine services in seven days at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland and Lichfield Cathedral in Lichfield, England. Joseph was also consultant for a new organ by the Richards-Fowkes Co. of Ooltewah, TN that was installed in August of 2017.  He later returned to play the dedication recitals in January of 2018.

Joseph was previously organ scholar at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fairfield, Connecticut, organist/choirmaster at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, and organist/choir director at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Parma, OH.  During the 2006-2007 academic year, Joseph served on the piano faculty at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.  Joseph was invited to serve as a jurist for the 2010 L. Cameron Johnson Memorial Competition for high school organ students and the North American round of the 2009 Tariverdiev International Organ Competition. 


2011 recipient of the alumni prize awarded by the yale school of music
2009 recipient of the prestigious artist diploma from oberlin conservatory
2010 awarded the mary baker scholarship in organ by the yale institute of sacred music  
2010 recipient of the robert baker stipend awarded to top 1-2% of organists in the us
2010 recipient of the charles ives prize by the yale school of music                          



Organist Joseph Ripka ’09 has won first prize at the Dublin International Organ Competition, held on June 28, 2008, at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. In addition to 5,000 euros, his award includes recital engagements in Ireland, the U.K., and continental Europe.

Ripka, from Elk River, Minnesota, is an Artist Diploma student studying at the Conservatory with Professor of Organ James David Christie. “This is one of the most prestigious … international organ competitions,” says Christie. “Joey really deserved this honor … he had the repertoire in his fingers, in his heart and soul.”

Ripka and two other finalists were required to present a 40-minute program for the finals round that included a work by Olivier Messiaen, whose centenary is being celebrated this year. Ripka performed Messiaen’s Transports de Joie, J.S. Bach’s Allein Gott in der Hoh sei ehr, BWV 662, and Max Reger’s Choral Fantasy on “Wachet auf.”

2008 San Marino/Elftman National Organ Competition  |  1st Prize
2006 Netherlands International Organ Competition|  FInalist (Only American Selected)
2006 58th Annual Prague Spring International Organ Competition  |  finalist
2005 Third International Organ Competition of Erfurt, Germany  |  finalist