Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, whitakerl@uncsa.edu


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 the third annual High School Organ Festival and Competition, today (Jan. 24) through Sunday (Jan. 26).

According to Timothy Olsen, Kenan Professor of Organ at UNCSA, the festival and 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.

The weekend will include workshops, master classes and lessons for all competitors.

The competition, on Saturday, Jan. 25, is free and open to the public. The competitors will perform from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Winston-Salem, 501 West Fifth St.  The Winners Recital will follow at 4 p.m., also at First Baptist.

After the competition, also on Saturday, Jan. 25, Olsen will be joined by keyboard faculty and students from the UNCSA School of Music and Salem College for a recital at 7:30 p.m. in Shirley Recital Hall, Salem Fine Arts Center, at Salem College. 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 Missouri, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as North Carolina.

Prizes for the High School Organ Competition include the $2,000 Thomas S. Kenan, III First Prize, the $1,000 Winston-Salem AGO Chapter Second Prize, a $500 Third 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 in-state tuition/fees to UNCSA.

In addition to the competition, the weekend will include a workshop on Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique by Salem College Distinguished Professor and renowned keyboard pedagogue Barbara Lister-Sink, an introduction to Alexander Technique by Salem faculty member Susan Perkins, and master class and lessons with Dr. Olsen.

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 Cantor (Music Director) at Augsburg Lutheran 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.