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In Conjunction with Salem College, Winston-Salem Chapter of the American Guild of Organists

WINSTON-SALEM – The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is sponsoring a new High School Organ Competition this year, as part of the UNCSA Keyboard Weekend, Jan. 27-29.

According to Timothy Olsen, Kenan Professor of Organ at UNCSA, the competition is being held in conjunction with Salem College and the Winston-Salem Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO). Olsen is also organ professor at Salem College.

Competition events, all on Saturday, Jan. 28, are free and open to the public. They will be from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Winston-Salem, 501 West Fifth St. The Winners Recital will follow at 5 p.m., also at First Baptist.

In addition, also on Jan. 28, the Salem College Keyboard Faculty and Student Recital will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Shirley Recital Hall at the Salem Fine Arts Center on the Salem College campus. That recital is also free and open to the public.

The High School Organ Competition is open to any current high school student. This year, competitors range from high school sophomores to seniors and hail from California, Virginia, Texas and Georgia, as well as North Carolina.

In addition to performing in the competition, the young organists attending will participate in a series of workshops including a master class by Timothy Olsen and a seminar on injury-preventative keyboard technique by Salem College piano faculty member Barbara Lister-Sink.

Prizes for High School Organ Competition include the $2,000 Thomas S. Kenan, III First Prize, the $1,000 Winston-Salem AGO Second Prize, and the $350 John & Margaret Mueller Hymn Prize. The first prize winner will be given the option to exchange his or her cash award to receive one year of tuition to UNCSA.

Timothy Olsen teaches a joint studio of high school, undergraduate and graduate organ majors as the Kenan Professor of Organ at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Associate Professor of Organ at Salem College in Winston-Salem. He is also the organist at First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

A native of Frost, Minn., Dr. Olsen began his study of the organ at the age of 13 with Sandra Krumholz of Fairmont, Minn., and went on to further study with Peter Nygaard at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., where he received a Bachelor of Music in 1997. Dr. Olsen continued his study as a student of David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music in Organ Performance and Literature as well as a Master of Arts in Music Theory Pedagogy. During his tenure at the Eastman School of Music, Dr. Olsen served as Professor Higgs’ teaching assistant, a teaching assistant in the theory department, and as a faculty member of the Eastman Community Education Division. He was for four years the Wanda L. Bass Chair of Organ at Oklahoma City University, and also has served on the faculty of Ithaca College, and as sabbatical replacement at Binghamton University and Cornell University.

Olsen is the first prize winner of the 2002 National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance sponsored by the American Guild of Organists. He has recorded a compact disc on the NAXOS label, and has been featured multiple times on Minnesota Public Radio’s Pipedreams.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.