Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Annual Competition

Henry Martin of New York City was awarded the 2020 Pogorzelski-Yankee award. It’s About Time, was to be premiered May 17, 2020 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; that concert has been temporarily postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Martin teaches music theory, composition, and music history at Rutgers University in Newark, where he is a professor of music. He is also a pianist and music theorist with a long list of performances, articles, and books. The music of Henry Martin has been described by Paul Griffiths of the New York Times as “that of someone who knows and loves jazz to its bones (not discounting its flesh).” Martin is in the forefront of composers dedicated to writing works that combine the flavors of jazz and popular music with classical forms. His Preludes and Fugues for piano solo won the 1992 National Composers Competition and the 1998 Barlow International Composition Competition. More recently, he was commissioned by Michael Barone to compose a cycle of preludes and fugues for organ.

Guidelines for the 2022 Ronald G. Pogorzelski-Lester D. Yankee Annual Competition

Each competition cycle extends over 2 years. The current cycle just began with the publication of the 2022  competition guidelines in The American Organist Magazine. A winner will be announced in late 2020 with a mid-2021 delivery date for the commissioned piece. The piece will be premiered (tentatively) the following spring, 2022 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

The Pogorzelski-Yankee Competition and Indiana University of Pennsylvania

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 shown here in its former music room setting. 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 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.  Award: $10,000 cash prize; premiere performance on the Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Organ at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, usually in the spring of each year.

Awarded Composers

2019 Composer, Frederick Hohman – Listen to The Organ Icons and a discussion with Frederick Hohman.
2018 Composer, Chris LaRosa – Listen to Monument and discussion with Dr. LaRosa.
Listen to Monument in an orchestral version!
2017 Composer, Christopher Adler – Listen to Construct: for organ and a discussion with Professor Adler.
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

M. Jonathan Ryan, Councillor for Competitions and New Music  Email

AGO Headquarters Email