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 was 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 – $1,500, 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,

NCOI Semifinals at the 2015 SE Regional Convention in Charlotte, NC

Three finalists were chosen at the 2015 NCOI semifinals held July 1, 2015 at the  Charlotte SE Regional Convention. The three organists below will travel to Houston, Texas for the NCOI final round to be held June 21, 2016 at Christ Church Cathedral (Houston) in conjunction with the 2016 AGO National Convention.

Matt Gender

Matt Gender

Thomas Dahl

Thomas Dahl


Kalle Toivio


Meet the 2014 NCOI Winner!
Patrick Scott 1st Pl. & Audience Prize

Patrick Scott
1st Pl. & Audience Prize

Patrick A. Scott is Assistant Organist-Choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, Georgia. As a student of Drs. Judith and Gerre Hancock, Patrick earned the Master of Music in Organ Performance and Sacred Music and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance, both from The University of Texas at Austin. He received his Bachelor of Music from Birmingham-Southern College where he was a student of Dr. James Cook.  His other major teachers have included Betty Polk and Kathy Vail. Dr. Scott was awarded the audience prize as well as the First Place prize in the 2014 competition. He was active at the 2015 Region IV Convention as an improvisation teacher.


Past NCOI Winners

2012 Robert Nicholls First Place
2010 David Baskeyfield First Place and Audience Prize
2008 Jason Roberts First Place
2006 Tom Trenney First Place and Audience Prize
2004 Luke Mayernik First Place
2002 Peter Krasinski First Place
2000 Justin Bischof First Place
1998 John Schwandt First Place
1994 Jeffrey Brillhart First Place
1992 Ronald Stolk First Place
1990 Bruce Neswick First Place

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