Jelani Eddington is an organist of unique and diverse interests. Born in 1974 in Muncie, Indiana, USA, to Louise Eddington and the late Robert Eddington, Jelani grew up in a musical family. Between the interests of his mother, a professional music teacher of many years, and those of his grandmother Florence Arnold, a well-respected piano instructor, it was no surprise when Jelani demonstrated an inclination toward music at a very early age.
Shortly after taking up the piano at age four, Jelani began studying classical piano under the direction of his grandmother. At the age of eight, a trip to hear the 4/42 Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ at the Paramount Music Palace in Indianapolis, Indiana, introduced Jelani to the sounds of the theatre pipe organ. Soon thereafter, he began to take classical organ lessons and ultimately began studying theatre organ under the direction of John Ferguson, whose skills as a theatre organ instructor have been highly nationally and internationally acclaimed.
In the spring of 1988, at age 13, Jelani won the American Theatre Organ Society's Young Organist Competition, prevailing over competitors ages 13 to 21 from the United States, England, Australia, and New Zealand. At present, Jelani retains the honor of being the youngest competitor to have won this title.
The Spring of 1999 will mark the 11th year that Jelani has been presenting theatre organ concerts. During this time he has gained much respect as one of the most dynamic and sought-after organists on the circuit today. Over the course of the past decade, Jelani has been featured at numerous national and regional conventions of the American Theatre Organ Society, and has extensively toured throughout the United States. In addition, Jelani has made several very successful concert tours abroad, including numerous appearances in Australia, New Zealand, England, Holland, France and Germany.
Jelani has five recordings to his credit, Discovering the Unit Orchestra, Pipe Organ Extravaganza #2, Rhapsody, Here's Jelani; and Jelani Eddington in Concert. All of these recordings have earned Jelani much respect as a recording artist, and have been nationally and internationally critically acclaimed.
In addition to this extensive concert schedule, Jelani has devoted much time to pursuing academic interests. He attended Indiana University as a Wells Scholar, one of Americas most comprehensive scholarship programs, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1996 with degrees in Political Science, French, and Russian Translation. Currently, Jelani is pursuing a Juris Doctorate degree at Yale Law School, which is widely regarded as the leading institution for legal studies.
Many have wondered how Jelani manages to find the time to devote to an extensive concert career as well as to demanding academic pursuits. He often remarks that both avenues are complementary to each other. That is, he finds that his music career gives a needed break and release from the rigors of pursuing a law degree. Likewise, pursuing the law degree affords an opportunity to step outside the role of organist and concentrate on a field of study that has interested Jelani since a very early age.
Last Update: July 10, 1999