AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation

The National Competition in Organ Improvisation seeks to further the art of improvisation by recognizing and rewarding superior performance in the field. A flourishing tradition of improvisation is fundamental to a truly vital musical culture.

The competition is open to all organists regardless of age or citizenship. First-place winners of a previous NCOI are not eligible. The NCOI occurs biennially and commences with a recorded Preliminary Round. The  Semifinal Round will be held at the AGO Regional Convention in Charlotte, NC (2015); the Final Round will be held in conjunction with the AGO 2016 National Convention in Houston.

Prizes: First Place – $3,000, funded by McNeil Robinson; Second Place – $2,000, funded by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders; Third Place – $1,500, funded by Pamela and Steven Ruiter-Feenstra; Audience prize – $1500, funded by David and Robin Arcus. The 2016 NCOI  Rules were published in the October-14 issue of THE AMERICAN ORGANIST. You may also request information from AGO Headquarters,

2014 National Competition in Organ Improvisation:
Patrick Scott First Place

Patrick Scott
First Place/Audience Pr.

Douglas Murray Second Place

Douglas Murray
Second Place

Matthew Koraus

Matthew Koraus







The three finalists above,  Matthew Koraus, Douglas Murray, and Patrick Scott,  were chosen to advance to the final round, which has held June 26, 2014 at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Boston.  Unfortunately, Matthew Koraus found it necessary to withdraw from the final round of the competition. Judging the final round were  Edoardo Bellotti, Carson Cooman, and Christa Rakich. Douglas Murray improvised a prelude and fugue on “KING’S WESTON” and a free improvisation inspired by an excerpt from poet John Milton’s “Il Penseroso.”  Patrick Scott offered a prelude and fugue on “KING’S WESTON” and a free improvisation based on “The Passage of the Delaware,” Thomas Sully’s famous painting displayed at the Boston Museum of Art.  The judges awarded first prize to Patrick Scott and second prize to Douglas Murray, and the audience voted to award its prize to Patrick Scott as well.

NCOI Committee
Cindy Lindeen-Martin, NCOI Director
Jason Roberts
Mary Newton