UNCSA to Host North Carolina High School Organ Festival and Competition


The 10th Annual North Carolina High School Organ Festival and Competition will be held Friday, January 28 through Sunday, January 30 at the host school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) and Augsburg Lutheran Church in Winston-Salem. Some events are open to the public free of charge.

Competitors are expected from Ohio, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and North Carolina, according to festival director Timothy Olsen, Kenan organ professor at UNCSA School of Music.

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

The competition will take place on Saturday January 29. Workshops, lectures and masterclasses will take place on Sunday, January 30. The organ studio recital will take place on Friday, January 28.

Contest prizes include the Thomas S. Kenan III First Prize of $2,000 or one year of in-state schooling at 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 registration); third prize of $500; and the $350 John and Margaret Mueller Hymn Prize.

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

Events open to the public for free (and with no ticket required) include:

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

Due to current COVID-19 conditions, the contestants’ performances and winners’ recital are closed to the public this year.

Workshops for attendees will include the Injury Preventive Keyboard Technique with keyboard pedagogue Barbara Lister-Sink, the Alexander Technique with certified instructor Susan Perkins, as well as private lessons and a masterclass with Olsen.

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