Winner of IAO-RCO Organ Playing Competition announced

Winner of IAO-RCO Organ Playing Competition announced

Organist Charles Francis has won the IAO-RCO Organ Playing Competition 2022.

The final of the IAO-RCO Organ Playing Competition, which is open to organists between the ages of 18 and 26 years, was held as part of the IAO Festival in Edinburgh 2022, which finally returned after two years having being postponed due to the pandemic.

Charles, an undergraduate student at Birmingham Conservatoire, was praised by judges for his commanding performance of Reubke’s Sonata on the 94th Psalm and the Concerto in C BWV 595 by J.S. Bach.

Second prize in the competition went to Jonas Schauer, a student at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University of Music and Theatre in Leipzig; third prize winner was Ashley Wagner, Assistant Head of Music at Birmingham Cathedral.

The competition judges were President of the Incorporated Association of Organists (IAO) John Kitchen MBE, President of the Royal College of Organists (RCO) David Hill MBE, and organist and composer Naji Hakim.

In announcing the results, John Kitchen said: “The standard overall was very impressive, and we have enjoyed some superb performances over the two days.”

David Hill added: “It has been an absolute pleasure to hear such gifted young organists. They all demonstrated a very high standard of musicianship and technical ability. I applaud all of these organ players and offer my warm congratulations to the winner.”

Naji Hakim said: “We have seen such talent from these up-and-coming young organists, and it was a privilege to be part of such an exciting event. I look forward to watching these young musicians progress through their organ playing careers.”

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