IAO and RCO launch new organ playing competition

IAO and RCO launch new organ playing competition

The Incorporated Association of Organists and the Royal College of Organists have launched a new competition for organists.

Under the joint artistic direction of Martin Baker and Steven Grahl, RCO and IAO Presidents respectively, the competition is open to organists between the ages of 18 and 26 years.

It will be held during the 2018 IAO Music Festival in Peterborough, and as well as a first prize of £1,000 it offers recital opportunities for prizewinners courtesy of Westminster Cathedral, Peterborough Cathedral, St Chad’s Cathedral Birmingham, and the Royal College of Organists.

Steven Grahl said: “This exciting new competition aims to attract university and conservatoire students, and recent graduates. It is a sign of the growing partnership between two major players in the UK organ world, and emphasises a strong commitment to education and the encouragement of young players.

“I am delighted that the final will make use of the fine Hill Organ of Peterborough Cathedral, and will be the culmination of the 2018 IAO Music Festival.”

For the IAO-RCO Organ Playing Competition 2018, six competitors will be chosen from recordings to participate in the semi-final round. From there, three competitors will be selected to go through to the final. The semi-finals will be held in Cambridge on Wednesday 1 August, and the final will take place in Peterborough Cathedral on Thursday 2 August.

The adjudicators will be: Martin Baker (Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral and President of the Royal College of Organists); Steven Grahl (Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral and President of the Incorporated Association of Organists); and Prof. Edward Higginbottom (former Director of Music, New College, Oxford).

Martin Baker said: “As RCO President, I am delighted that the College will be working with the IAO in this way to further the cause of organ playing and to offer performance opportunities to young players who are commencing their careers as professional musicians.

“The College’s vision is of a world in which organ music is widely valued in cultural and spiritual life. All participants in this exciting new joint venture will be contributing to this vision, and we look forward to welcoming them to Cambridge and Peterborough in the summer.”

Competitors must be no younger than 18 and no older than 26 on 1 July 2018, and the closing date for entries is Wednesday 28 February 2018 at 13:00. For more details including the application form, please visit www.rco.org.uk/events/organ-competition-2018

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