UNCSA to host annual N.C. High School Organ Festival and Competition

The 10th annual North Carolina High School Organ Festival and Competition will be held Friday, Jan. 28, through Sunday, Jan. 30, at the host school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), and Augsburg Lutheran Church in Winston-Salem. Some of the events are open to the public at no charge.

Competitors are expected from Ohio, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and North Carolina, according to festival Director Timothy Olsen, UNCSA School of Music’s Kenan Professor of Organ.

In addition to participating in the competition, guest high school organists will be able to meet other organists their age from around the country; tour the UNCSA organ facilities; hear UNCSA organ students perform in an organ studio recital; and participate in workshops, master classes and lessons.

The competition will take place on Saturday, Jan. 29. Workshops, lectures and master classes will occur on Sunday, Jan. 30. The organ studio recital will take place on Friday, Jan. 28.

Prizes for the competition include the Thomas S. Kenan III First Prize of $2,000 or one year of in-state tuition to UNCSA; second prize of $1,000 sponsored by the Piedmont NC Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (and a $3,000 scholarship to UNCSA upon matriculation); third prize of $500; and the John and Margaret Mueller Hymn Prize of $350.

In addition, winners will also receive a special gift. “We are grateful to The Leupold Foundation for offering a volume of their new Bach edition to each of the prize winners,” Olsen said.

Events that are open to the public at no charge (and no ticket required) include:

  • Organ Studio Recital. Friday, Jan. 28, in Crawford Hall on the UNCSA campus at 1533 South Main St. Students of Olsen will perform an eclectic program, including works by César Franck, whose bicentennial will be celebrated in 2022. The students will perform on the university’s C.B. Fisk, Op. 75 organ.
  • Olsen will give a lecture/recital on the works of Franck in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Franck’s birth at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30, in Crawford Hall.

Due to current COVID-19 conditions, the competitor performances and Winners Recital are closed to the public this year.

Workshops for the participants will feature Injury-Preventative Keyboard Technique with keyboard pedagogue Barbara Lister-Sink, Alexander Technique with certified instructor Susan Perkins, and private lessons and a master class with Olsen.

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January 20, 2022