The American Guild of Organists promotes the highest level of organ performance through its National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance. The Competition is intended to serve as a springboard for emerging organists to develop their performance ability by participating in the various demanding stages of this Competition. Underwriting of expenses is provided in part by the Nita Akin Competition Fund. The NYACOP Committee encourages all eligible organists to seek ever-higher levels of excellence by competing in the upcoming 2020 competition! Applicants who do not reside in the U.S. are responsible for understanding and complying with U.S. visa requirements as well as travel costs where applicable.

The 2020 Semifinal and Final Rounds that were to be held at the Atlanta Convention have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


First Place – The Lilian Murtagh Memorial Prize, funded by Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc., Cleveland Ohio; includes a $3,000 cash award, career development assistance from Karen McFarlane Artists Inc. between September 2016 and June 2018, including publicity materials and advertising. The Jordan Prize, funded by the Jordan Organ Endowment; $10,000 to be awarded in conjunction with a Gala Solo Recital on the Jordan Family Organ in Columbus, Georgia. Additionally, a performance during the 2018 AGO National Convention, a CD recording on the Pro Organo label, and a selection of Recital Awards throughout the United States.
Second Place – $5,000, funded by Kegg Pipe Organ Builders, Hartville, Ohio. Four 1/6-page print advertisements in The American Organist (TAO) (design costs not included).
Third Place – $3,000, funded by John-Paul Buzard Pipe Organ Builders, Champaign, Illinois. Four 1/6-page print advertisements in The American Organist (TAO) (design costs not included).
Audience Prize – $1,000, funded by Martin Ott Pipe Organ Company Inc., St. Louis, Missouri.

2018 NYACOP First Place

Aaron Tan is a Canadian organist, pianist, and engineer. He has won numerous noteworthy contests and scholarships on both instruments. His primary musical tutelage has been under John Tuttle, David Palmer, and Joel Hastings. In addition to his musical interests, Aaron holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science, specializing in the properties of soft matter at the nanoscale. Currently studying at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, Aaron serves as Organ Scholar at Church of the Resurrection, New York City. Contact Aaron.

Mr. Tan has just released Impressions on the Pro Organo label. He plays a varied program, featuring rarely heard impressionist works of Joseph-Ermend Bonnal, works of Sigfrid Karg-Elert, and some transcriptions, played on the Rieger organ at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Visit Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc., where you will find more information about Mr. Tan and how you might plan a recital or chapter event. Since 1982, Karen McFarlane Artists has generously assisted AGO NYACOP winners with career guidance and support.  The concert management program they have developed is designed to educate the winner about career management  and provide an opportunity to learn firsthand what concert life is really like. A special note to chapters—hosting an AGO competition winner is the perfect chapter event! Contact Karen McFarlane Artists or AGO Headquarters.

Upcoming Recitals


Past NYACOP Prize Winners
(Look for the CD’s in the Organ Music/Essays/Catalog section of the online store)

2016 Katelyn Emerson – 1st Place – Evocations CD
Kirk Rich – 2nd Place
Weicheng Zhao – 3rd Place & Audience Prize

2014 Jonathan Rudy – 1st Place and Audience Prize – Three Halls CD
HyeHyun Sung – 2nd Place
Kirk Rich – 3rd Place

2012 Daryl Robinson – 1st Place and Audience Prize Sempre Organo CD
Malcolm Matthews – 2nd Place
Thatcher Lyman – 3rd Place

2010 Dongho Lee – 1st Place and Audience Prize – Modal Inspiration CD
Anne Laver – 2nd Place
Susan De Kam – 3rd Place

2008 Michael Unger – 1st Place and Audience Prize – Universe of Poetry  CD
Andrew Kotylo – 2nd Place
Monica Harper – 3rd Place

2006 Scott Montgomery – 1st Place and Audience Prize – Water and Light  CD
Balint Karosi – 2nd Place
Robert Horton – 3rd Place

2004 Yoon-Mi Lim – 1st Place – Gifts From Above CD
Christian Lane – 2nd Place & Audience Prize
Dong-ill Shin – 3rd Place

2002 Timothy Olsen – 1st Place
Kola Owolabi – 2nd Place & Audience Prize
Christian Schmitt – 3rd Place

2000 Ji-yoen Choi – First Place
Joby Bell – 2nd Place*
Yun Kyong Kim – 3rd Place

NYACOP Past Prize Winners

NYACOP Committee members

Grady Coyle, Director Email
Michael Unger Email
Kathrine Handford Email