Promising to add a new major composition to the organ repertoire every year in perpetuity, the new P-Y competition owes its existence to the astonishing generosity of two individuals. When Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee decided to give the largest bequest in AGO history they clearly sought to make a lasting impact upon the Guild. The bequest included the funding of college scholarships for organ study, the annual new music competition, and the donation and maintenance of their beloved R. J. Brunner & Company tracker house organ. Through a competitive search process the house organ has since found a permanent home at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). For the annual new music competition, Messrs. Pogorzelski and Yankee stipulated only that the winning work be composed for and performed on the organ in its new home.
The Pogorzelski-Yankee Organ (R. J. Brunner & Company) is shown above in its former music room setting. The organ console in its new home at Indiana University of Pennsylvania appears on the left. See the specifications (N.B. on the Great division, the Gemshorn 8′ has been replaced by the Principal 8′.) Rules for the competition will vary. The first three competitions called for a proposal for a commission of a piece 10-12 minutes in length playable on the Pogorzelski-Yankee Organ; there were no restrictions in regard to compositional style. Award: $10,000 cash prize; publication by ECS Publishing; premiere performance on the recently installed Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Organ at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in March 2018.
Christopher Adler is the 2017 competition winner and the second composer to receive a commission in the annual competition. A composer, performer and improviser living in San Diego, his music draws upon twenty years of research into the traditional musics of Thailand and Laos, and an abiding interest in mathematics. He is internationally recognized as a performer of new and traditional music for the khaen, a free-reed mouth organ from Laos and Northeast Thailand. He is Director of Composition for the nief-norf Summer Festival as well as the pianist and composer-in-residence with NOISE. He is active with San Diego New Music, and a co-founder of the soundON Festival of Modern Music.
Premiere Performance – Construct: for organ
Dr. Adler is currently Professor of Music at the University of San Diego. His Construct: for organ was premiered March 26, 2017, 3pm, at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the Daniel DiCicco Hall of the Cogswell Music Building. Dr. Adler participated in a pre-concert talk at 2:15, hosted by Dr. John Levey, IUP Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition. View the March 26, 2017 premiere!