Learning during lockdown : 8 performance and competition

It may seem slightly perverse to be looking performance skills in Learning during Lockdown, when the coronavirus pandemic currently preventing most musicians from performing at all.  But lockdown is possibly an opportunity to step back and reflect on how we felt about our own performances in the past, and how they could improve.  iRCO has resources on performance techniques, and we look at competitions for organists that are still taking place in the next year.

In memory of W T Best: The Musicians’ Company Award for Organists

Over sixty years ago, the Musicians’ Company, one of the historic livery companies of the City of London, inaugurated a scholarship in memory of the great Victorian concert organist, W T Best. This year the award has been renamed The Musicians’ Company Award for Organists, and candidates between the ages of 18 and 26 are invited to apply: the deadline for this is the end of February 2020.

Young Hungarian organist wins Northern Ireland competition

Ivan-Bogdan Reincke, 21, from Hungary has won first prize in the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (NIIOC), held at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh, in August this year. This is the ninth year of the NIIOC, and this year competitors came from the USA and Australia for the first time, as well as six European countries.

The winner of the inaugural IAO/RCO Organ Playing Competition

This year’s Incorporated Association of Organists (IAO) Music Festival in Peterborough hosted the first IAO/RCO Organ Playing Competition, open to organists between the ages of 18 and 26 years. The finals were held in Peterborough Cathedral, on the last evening of the Festival, with the three competition finalists giving a 40-minute recital in front of adjudicators, Martin Baker, Edward Higginbottom and Steven Grahl.

Top opportunity for young organists – registration opens for this year’s Northern Ireland Organ Competition

The Northern Ireland International Organ Competition, which takes place between 13th and 15th August in Armagh, has grown into an excellent opportunity for organists age 21 and under. This year there are increased prize funds, and recital opportunities for senior category prize winners at a range of international venues. The competition has been a stepping stone for many young players to establish their careers and take the next step forward. Dame Gillian Weir chairs the jury, and entries for this year close in July.

Two new competitions for university and conservatoire organists

Two new competitions for university and conservatoire organ students (including recent graduates) have been launched this year, and the deadlines for entries for both are rapidly approaching, in February. Read on for details of the CAOS inaugural student organist competition to be held in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and the IAO – RCO competition, with finals in Peterborough Cathedral this summer.