|| AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS NAMES PRIZEWINNERS IN NATIONAL ORGAN COMPETITIONS
Eight Prizes Presented to Five Organists at AGO National Convention in Chicago
Aug. 8, 2006
NEW YORK CITY—The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is pleased to announce the results of the NATIONAL YOUNG ARTISTS COMPETITION IN ORGAN PERFORMANCE (NYACOP) and the NATIONAL COMPETITION IN ORGAN IMPROVISATION (NCOI). ÁLINT KAROSI
The 2005–2006 NYACOP began with a taped round; 25 organists gained entry into the competition. Seven NYACOP competitors were chosen to advance to the semifinal round, hosted by the Central Iowa AGO Chapter on May 20 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Des Moines. Three were chosen to participate in the final round on July 2 at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Chicago, in conjunction with the AGO National Convention. The following competition prizes were awarded:
The Lilian Murtagh Memorial Prize: $2,000 cash award and career development assistance provided by Karen McFarlane Artists; and CD recording for Pro Organo
Audience Choice Prize
$500 cash award provided by the Martin Ott Pipe Organ Company
$2,000 cash award provided by John-Paul Buzard Pipe Organ Builders
$1,000 cash award provided by the Noack Organ Company
$500 provided by Jim Zinkhan and Heather Holowka
The NATIONAL YOUNG ARTISTS COMPETITION IN ORGAN PERFORMANCE promotes the highest level of organ performance. The competition serves as a springboard for emerging young organists, allowing them to continue to develop their performance ability by participating in the various demanding stages of this competition. Established in 1950 and held biennially, the competition is open to organists between the ages of 22 and 32. Required repertoire for the final round was BACH: Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 542; BÖHM: Vater unser in Himmelreich; REGER: Fantasie Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, Op. 40, No. 1; and a contemporary work of each competitor’s choosing by a composer born after January 1, 1906. Judges for the final round were Christa Rakich, Charles Tompkins, and Christopher Young. Major support for the 2005–2006 NYACOP was provided by the Central Iowa AGO Chapter, host of the semifinal competition round, and by the AGO Nita Akin Competition Fund. Preparation of the organ for the final round was provided by the Berghaus Organ Company Inc.
SCOTT MONTGOMERY is director of music and organist for Holy Cross Catholic Church in Champaign, Ill. He won first prizes in the 1993 Indianapolis AGO Chapter Competition; the 1997 AGO Region V Competition in Evansville, Ind.; and second place in the 2002 Arthur Poister Organ Competition. In 1998, he performed at the AGO National Convention in Denver, Colo. His performances have been broadcast on Pipedreams, and he has performed on Arp Schnitger organs in Germany. Scott is pursuing a master’s degree in organ at the University of Illinois, studying with Dana Robinson.
BÁLINT KAROSI, a native of Budapest, Hungary, studied clarinet and organ at the Bartók Conservatory and the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. He was awarded a scholarship by the Swiss Federation to study organ with Lionel Rogg at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique of Geneva, where he was awarded the Prix de Virtuosité avec Distinction in organ and clarinet performance. Mr. Karosi studies with James David Christie at the Oberlin Conservatory, and is organist at the First Church in Oberlin. He was awarded first prize at the Dublin International Organ Competition and at the Arthur Poister Organ Competition.
ROBERT HORTON holds music degrees from Northwestern University (MM, 1998) and the University of Kansas (DMA, 2003), where he studied with James Higdon. As a Fulbright scholar, he studied with Michel Bouvard at the Conservatoire National de Région in Toulouse, France. Dr. Horton has won prizes at competitions in both North America and Europe, including the John R. Rodland Competition, the Internationaal Orgelconcours Nijmegen, and the Concours d’orgue André Marchal. Currently, he is assistant professor of music at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.
The 2005–2006 NCOI began with a taped round. Five semifinalists were selected; three of these advanced to the final round on July 3. Semifinal and final rounds were held at St. James Cathedral in Chicago, in conjunction with the AGO National Convention. Each competitor was required to (1) improvise in any form, based on a given musical theme, or a non-musical theme (literary passage or artwork); and (2) improvise in the form of a Theme and Variations based on a given theme. The following competition prizes were awarded:
$2,000 cash award provided by the Holtkamp Organ Company
Audience Choice Prize
$1,000 cash award provided by David and Robin Arcus, and McNeil Robinson
TOM TRENNEY, CAGO
$1,500 cash award provided by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders Ltd.
No Third Prize Was Awarded
The NATIONAL COMPETITION IN ORGAN IMPROVISATION advances the art of improvisation by recognizing and rewarding superior performers in the field. Improvisation is the pinnacle of achievement for a musician who can combine the elements of performance and composition simultaneously in the creation of a new work of art. Since 1990, the AGO NCOI has motivated and inspired hundreds of the most talented organists in America. Today, it is the pre-eminent competition in North America dedicated to preserving and advancing improvisation at the organ, and is open to all regardless of age or country of citizenship.
A flourishing tradition of improvisation has always been fundamental to a truly vital musical culture. Although musical extemporization has enjoyed a rich heritage in Europe for many centuries, the art form is in perilous risk of extinction in America except among a few organists and jazz musicians. As the premier competition for organ improvisation in America, the AGO NCOI continues to set the standard for organists seeking to demonstrate their skill in extemporaneous performance, the highest and most challenging musical art form. Judges for the semifinal and final rounds were James Biery, Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin, and Hans Davidsson.
TOM TRENNEY, CAGO, is director of music ministries and organist at the First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Mich., where he directs five choirs and an extensive music outreach program, including the Birmingham-First Concert Series, the Birmingham-First Chamber Choir, an annual church music workshop, and a series of Summer Sings. Mr. Trenney completed two graduate degrees at the Eastman School of Music in 2002, studying organ performance with David Higgs and choral conducting with William Weinert. He earned a bachelor of music degree in organ performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied organ and church music with Todd Wilson.
A native of Perry, Ohio, Mr. Trenney began piano study with Margaret Syroney at the age of four and began organ lessons with Anne Wilson at a Pipe Organ Encounter (POE) in 1991. He directed the 2002 POE in Rochester, N.Y., and the 2004 POE+ in Detroit. An active member of the AGO, he has served on the national Committee on the New Organist and on the executive board of the Detroit Chapter. Mr. Trenney earned both the Service Playing and Colleague certificates before he was 16. He was awarded first prize at several regional and national competitions, including the Redlands Organ Festival Competition, the San Marino Organ Competition, the John Rodland Memorial Church Music Scholarship Competition, and the AGO Region V Competition for Young Organists. He has presented numerous programs around the country including solo recitals, duo recitals, hymn festivals, service playing workshops, and masterclasses. He is in frequent demand for his improvised accompaniments to silent films. Most notably, Mr. Trenney has been a featured performer at regional and national conventions of the AGO and the Organ Historical Society in Dallas, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Buffalo, and Cleveland. His debut recording, Organa Americana, featuring works by American composers, was released on the Pro Organo label in June 2004.
VINCENT CARR is currently a graduate organ student at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, where he studies with Martin Jean. A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Mr. Carr received a bachelor of music degree in organ performance from Indiana University in Bloomington. While there, he studied organ with Larry Smith, harpsichord with Elisabeth Wright, and improvisation and church music with John Schwandt and Marilyn Keiser. Mr. Carr has led an eclectic musical career with interests in classical music, global music, musical theater, jazz, and Latin American popular music. He has studied improvisation with William Porter and Jeffrey Brillhart.
The AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, it sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes the understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The mission of the AGO is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. The Guild currently serves approximately 19,000 members in more than 300 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The American Organist Magazine, the official journal of the AGO and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers each month.
This information is submitted by F. Anthony Thurman, Director of Development and Communications at the National Headquarters of the American Guild of Organists and The American Organist Magazine. For further information, please contact Dr. Thurman by TEL (212) 870-2310, FAX (212) 870-2163 or E-MAIL email@example.com.