The German-born American organist, pianist and pedagogue, Wolfgang Rübsam, first studied organ with Erich Ackermann in Fulda from 1963 to 1967. He then took up studies in church music at the Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt am Main, which enabled him to join the organ class of Helmut Walcha. A period of study at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where his organ teacher was Robert T. Anderson, culminated in 1971 in the degree of Master of Music. On his return to Germany he joined the master-classes of Helmut Walcha for a year and completed his organ examinations in Frankfurt. The years from 1971 to 1974 were spent in Paris as a pupil of Marie-Claire Alain. In the course of his studies, he was successful in a number of competitions. In 1970 he won first prize in the National Organ Competition at Fort Wayne in Indiana. In 1972 he won two third prizes in international competitions at Nuremberg and Avilain Spain. In 1973 he won the Grand Prix d'lnterpretation at Chartres.
In 1974, Wolfgang Rübsam was appointed as professor of Church Music and Organ at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In addition, he also served as University Organist at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago from 1981 until 1997. Since 1997, he has been professor of organ at the Hochschule für Musik Saar in Saarbrücken, Germany From 1998 until 2003; he was also artist in residence and university organist at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Wolfgang Rübsam has made extensive tours as organ virtuoso, and he performs frequently in major international festivals and concert halls, including the Los Angeles Bach Festival; Wiener Festwochen, Vienna; Lahti International Organ Festival, Finland; Royal Festival Hall, London; Alice Tully Hall, New York, and others. He conducts master-classes in Europe and the USA, both in interpretation of early and romantic organ repertoire, and interpretation of the keyboard music of J.S. Bach. He has served on the juries for international competitions, such as the Grand Prix de Chartres and the Lahti International Organ Competition in Finland.
Wolfgang Rübsam is internationally known through his highly acclaimed recordings of organ works from the Baroque and Romantic periods. He has published more than 130 recordings, including two recordings of the complete organ works by Johann Sebastian Bach, the complete organ works of Dietrich Buxtehude, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, César Franck, Louis Vierne, and Jehan Alain, as well as recordings of Franz Liszt, Johann Pachelbel, and Max Reger. Currently, he is completing a recording of the 20 organ sonatas of Josef Rheinberger. In addition, he has recorded a major part of the keyboard works of J.S. Bach on modern Bösendorfer pianos.
In addition to his musical career, Wolfgang Rübsam is working as a licensed barber with barber shops in Saarbrücken, Germany, and Valparaiso, Indiana.