Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Annual Competition

P-Y-Award-1140x500-300x131Promising to add a new major composition to the organ repertoire every year in perpetuity, the new Pogorzelski-Yankee 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  See the specifications (N.B. on the Great division, the Gemshorn 8′ has been replaced by the Principal 8′.)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.

Upcoming! 2018 Premiere Performance – Monument
Last fall, Christopher LaRosa was awarded the commission for the 2018 Pogorzelski-Yankee award.  He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he also serves as an associate instructor of music theory. His composition, Monument, will be premiered in March 4, 2018 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

LaRosa: “The composition is a response to the prevalence of monuments in cultures worldwide. They suggest a powerful and universal human desire to mark our individual and societal existence. By design, monuments are often the most durable structures of a civilization, but their permanence is illusory, and they inevitably crumble to dust.  Ironically, monumental creation throws humanity’s age into relief, with our species far outlasting anything it has yet created.  Conversely, it magnifies humanity’s cosmic smallness.  My musical monument captures the immediacy of monumental experience, but necessarily admits the true ephemerality of any human creation.”


March 26, 2017 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.

Construct: for organ

Construct: for organ including a discussion with composer Christopher Adler

Past Awarded Commissions

2016 Composer, Claude Baker – Listen to  Sept Hommages and a half-hour interview with Dr. John Levey.

Committee on New Music
Louise Mundinger, MM, Director  Email
David J. Hurd, Jr., MusD  Email
Carol Feather Martin, MM Email
Alexander Meszler, MM  Email

Eileen Hunt, AAGO, DMA, ex officio (Vice President/Councillor for Competitions and New Music)  Email
AGO Headquarters Email