The Third Odoyevsky International Organ Competition

Third Odoevsky International Organ CompetitionThe Third Odoyevsky International Organ Competition

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to inform you that the 3rd Odoyevsky International Organ Competition will take place in Moscow from 17th to 25th of November 2019.

The competition is named after V. F. Odoyevsky (1804-1869), a prominent musician, writer, philosopher and public figure, a founder of Russian musicology and lexicography, the author of the first original compositions for the organ in Russia, who succeeded in awaking the interest of Russian music public in the organ and such extraordinary personalities as J. S. Bach.

The contest consists of four rounds in which participants will play organs of different styles and epochs in five Moscow halls including the Organ Hall of the Russian Gnessins’ Academy of Music, where an historic Henry Jones organ (1871) is located.
Besides the traditional organ repertoire, the competition programme includes 20th century compositions, as well as a number of notable organ works by Russian composers. In addition to obligatory pieces, participants of the final round will have an opportunity to play a small concert programme of their own choice.

The international competition jury consists of famous organists representing the different European organ schools.
The age-range for participants is 17 to 33. The application deadline is October 10, 2019.

Competition rules, programme requirements and organ specifications are included below and placed on the website:

Information Letter 2019
Competition Documentation 2019

Best wishes,
Organizing Committee of the Third Odoyevsky International Organ Competition

1898 Sauer Organ at the Moscow Ev. Luth. Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.

Header image:  Kuhn organ at the RC Cathedral or the Immaculate Conception.

More about organ music in Moscow

Schnitger Festival Groningen 2018

Schnitger Festival 2018 featuring Italy

Groningen– Music lovers from all over the place will flock to Groningen from 19 till 21 October, 2018. For the 6th time the annual Schnitger Festival will be held during this period. During this festival a broad array of musical events may be enjoyed at multiple venues, ranging from organ luncheon concerts to Urban House hiphop. This year’s theme is Italy.

Schnitger Festival is a musical feast concentrated around famous organs built by the German organ builder Arp Schnitger. Mr Schnitger lived in the 17th century and as an organ builder he was far ahead of his time; with his artistic concept he conquered Europe as a genuine franchiser and built 170 organs in total. The city of Groningen currently houses 4 organs partly ascribed to him, among which is the recently reconstructed, and last year rededicated, organ of the Lutheran Church.

Totally Italy
The reason for the festival going Italian is highly appropriate. In 2018 composer Claudio Monteverdi as well as his colleague Girolamo Frescobaldi died exactly 375 ago and their predecessor Giulio Caccini passed away 400 years ago; all the more reason to immerse oneself in Italian baroque. The organisers have invited two ace organ players, who are closely affiliated to this mediterranean country: Matteo Imbruno, an Italian living and working in the Netherlands and Liuwe Tamminga, a born Frisian who has been residing in Italy for years. Both organ players will account for a major part of the programme. In doing so they will  undoubtedly extoll passionate Italian sounds on organs in the city of Groningen.

Schnitger Festival 2018 program

Schnitger Festival is remarkable for enthusing a wider audience profoundly. Not only devotees of organ and classical music are being served but cross-over productions also attract , for instance, young people who may experience themselves that organ music and hiphop blend excellently. This will be shown in a workshop given by Urban House Groningen. An even younger target audience will be attracted by a youth circus called Santelli, who will perform for them while organ player Vincent Hensen will execute his magic tricks on the organ. An absolute ‘must’ for jazz lovers will be the concert of Holland Baroque as this swinging ensemble will explore and extend boundaries between classical music and jazz.

In total, Schnitger Festival will present 13 venues , among which an excursion, a masterclass, a Sunday brunch concert, a promenade concert, an Italian vesper and many more. Nine organ players and a number of other musicians and performers will provoke sight and hearing to show their talents.

Schnitger Festival takes place from 19 till 21 October, 2018 at various locations in the city of Groningen. Tickets sale and further information is provided on

Press notice:
Please contact Betty Knigge, CEO Schnitgerfestival Groningen for any further info. By email or by telephone 06- 44 30 05 63.

Schnitger Festival Groningen 2017

The Fifth Schnitger Festival Groningen will be held in Groningen, Netherlands, October 31 to November 5, 2017. This year is very special because they are unveiling a new reconstruction of a baroque Arp Schnitger instrument built by Bernardt Edskes, in the Lutheran Church. More about the Schnitger Organ 2017 project here:

Short video about a visit to the new organ by Ton Koopman

Click here for the Festival program (PDF)

International Organ Academy Paris 2017

Information and application:    

Grand Jeux à Paris – an Organ Tour in memoriam Vierne, Widor, Léfébure-Wély, Guilmant, Messiaen – press review

The “Paris Organ Trip” in the week after Easter has been taking place now for more than 20 years. This year, 20 – 23 april 2017, it was devoted to Luois Vierne and Charles-Marie Widor (8oth Anniversary of Death), Louis Lefebure-Wely (200th Anniversary of Birth) Alexandre Guilmant (180th Anniversary of Birth) and Olivier Messiaen( 25th Anniversary of Death).
The focus of the course was the churches and organs in Paris where these musicians and composers worked: Institute Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles, St Sulpice, Trinity and Madeleine. Altogether there were 16 organ viewings and course events in 5 days. The high points were two organ courses in Trinity and in Madeleine and the presentations “Guilmant on the Harmonium” and “Lefebure-Wely”.
Equally fascinating were the meetings with Parisian Organists Dominique Levacque, David Cassan, Camielle Déruelle, Gabriel Bestion de Camboulas, Carolyn Shuster-Fournier, Frédéric Blanc, Henri de Rohan-Czermak, Daniel Roth, Kurt Lueders, Didier Matry, Baptiste-Florian Marle-Ouvrard and Pierre Cambourian.
More than 50 participants responded to the invitation from ORGANpromotion and experienced a grand Paris Organ Programme. They were from 9 different countries: Germany, Switzerland, Austria, USA, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Great Britain. (Leopold Neder Schneider, Munich)

Grand Jeux à Paris – eine Orgelreise im Gedenken am Vierne, Widor, Léfébure-Wély, Guilmant, Messiaen – Pressebericht
Seit über 20 Jahren gibt es die „Orgeltage Paris“ in der Woche nach Ostern. Dieses Jahr, 20. – 23. April 2017, war die Reise Louis Vierne und Charles-Marie Widor (zum 80. Todestag), Louis Léfébure-Wély (zum 200. Geburtstag), Alexandre Guilmant (zum 180. Geburtstag) und Olivier Messiaen (zum 25. Todestag) gewidmet.
Damit lag der Fokus der Reise bei den Kirchen und Instrumenten, wo diese Musiker und Komponisten in Paris gewirkt haben: Institute Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles, Saint Sulpice, Trinité und Madeleine. Insgesamt waren es 16 Orgelbesichtigungen und Programmpunkte in 5 Tagen. Herausragend dabei zwei Orgelkurse in Trinité und in Madeleine und und Vorträge „Guilmant auf den Harmonium“ und „Léfebure-Wély“.
Schön die Begegnungen mit den Pariser Organisten Dominique Levacque, David Cassan, Camielle Déruelle, Gabriel Bestion de Camboulas, Carolyn Shuster-Fournier, Frédéric Blanc, Henri de Rohan-Czermak, Daniel Roth, Kurt Lueders, Didier Matry, Baptiste-Florian Marle-Ouvrard und Pierre Cambourian.
Über 50 Personen aus 9 Ländern (Deutschland, Schweiz, Österreich,
USA, Norwegen, Belgien, Niederlande, Frankreich, Großbritanien) folgten der Einladung von ORGANpromotion und erlebten ein großes Pariser Orgelprogramm. (Leopold Neder Schneider, München)

Information and application:   

The 2nd Odoyevsky International Organ Competition

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have the pleasure of informing you that the 2nd Odoyevsky International Organ Competition will take place in Moscow from 19 to 27 November.
The competition is named after V.F. Odoyevsky (1804-1869), a prominent Russian music critic, writer, philosopher and public figure, one of the founders of Russian musicology and lexicography, and the author of the first original Russian organ compositions; he contributed much to sharpen the interest of the Russian musical circles to organ and to J.S. Bach’s extraordinary personality.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary in Moscow.

The contest consists of four rounds in which participants will play organs of different styles and epochs in five Moscow halls including the Organ Hall of Gnesins Russian Academy of Music where the historic Henry Jones organ (1871) is installed.

The 2nd Odoyevsky International Organ Competition
19-27 November 2017, Moscow, 4 rounds, 5 instruments
Participant ages-range: 17-33
Application deadline: October 10, 2017

Th. Kuhn Organ (Switzerland, 1955) in The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary in Moscow. The first part of the Final round will take place there on the 25th of November 2017.

Along with the traditional organ repertoire, the Competition programme includes 20th century compositions, as well as a number of the most notable organ works of Russian composers.
The competition jury consists of famous international experts in the art of organ playing.
Competition rules, programme requirements and organ specifications are included in the attached documentation file and placed on the website:

Competition Documentation

Best wishes,
Organizing Committee
of the 2nd Odoyevsky International Organ Competition

Alexander Fiseisky, Chairman of the Jury of the Competition.

International Organ Competition 2017 in Wuppertal, Germany

Historische Stadthalle Wuppertal open their doors for the International Organ Competition between 24 and 27 August 2017.

The designated instrument for the competition and ensuing concerts is the Sauer Organ in the internationally renowned Großer Saal of the Historische Stadthalle Wuppertal.

Application deadline: 19 May 2017

Please find further information on the website:


Vom 24. bis 27. August 2017 laden die Hochschule für Musik und Tanz

Köln und die Historische Stadthalle Wuppertal zu einem
Internationalen Orgelwettbewerb ein.

Wettbewerbs- und Konzertinstrument ist die Sauer-Orgel im international gerühmten Großen Saal der Historischen Stadthalle Wuppertal.

Bewerbungsschluss: 19. Mai 2017

Nähere Informationen unter:



8th International Organ Competition Musashino-Tokyo

8th International Organ Competition Musashino-Tokyo

Open to All Organists with No Age Limit

For the First Prize Winner:
JPY 1,200,000
Concerts in Japan
CD release on NAXOS with worldwide distribution

Guy BOVET, chair
Bernhard HAAS
SHIN Dong-ill

Audition Jury:
Jürgen ESSL

Venue: Musashino Civic Cultural Hall, Tokyo
Organ: Marcussen & Søn (1984)


Application Form:

The deadline of the application is 20 January 2017 (postmark)

8th International Organ Competition Musashino-Tokyo
c/o Musashino Shimin Bunka Kaikan
3-9-11 Naka-cho, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0006 JAPAN
Tel: +81-(0)422-54-8822
Fax: +81-(0)422-54-2014


Carol Williams Eastern Europe Tour 2004

Carol Williams
Toccata “Suite Gothique”, Op. 25 (Léon Boëllmann) (MP3) 
Copyright 2001 Melcot Music

I am the Civic Organist of San Diego and I spend all my time performing concerts — either in San Diego or around the USA and abroad. I love to travel and feel it is a vital part of my exisitence as it keeps me on my toes! Going to a new country and savoring a different organ and acoustics is fascinating. In 2004, I had two visits to the UK, a trip to Canada, Germany, Poland and Czech Republic. My visit to Poland and Prague were extremely fascinating and I have highlighted some of the moments I spent on this wonderful tour.

I flew from San Diego early on August 9th and arrived in Prague, the “City of One Hundred Spires”, the next morning. After being met at the airport by Irena Chribkova, the organist of St. James Basilica, I was given the hospitality of the quarters of the Basilica, located close to Prague’s “Old Town Square”. At night, one could hear the chimes of the 1410 Town Hall Horologe. On another night, a dramatic thunderstorm highlighted the historic skyline of this, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, and I recommend a visit if you ever have the opportunity.

The oldest organ in St. James’ dates from the beginning of the 18th century following a major fire at the church in 1689. The present instrument, reconstructed by Rieger-Kloss, is extremely powerful and magical acoustics enhance the listening experience. The stunning 1705 case is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen in my travels. Major work by Rieger-Kloss was done between 1981-82 including restoring the specification of the early work of Abraham Stark in 1705. The present instrument has four manuals with ninety-one speaking stops. There is also a small choir organ of mechanical action with slider chests in the gallery to the right of the chancel but the builder is unknown yet, its pipes show numerous similarities with the large organ at the rear of the church. I did not use this instrument in my concert, but I really enjoyed playing it.

My concert was part of the 9th International Organ Festival and this year was in honor of Petr Eben who celebrated his 75th birthday on 22nd January. In the program, I included the moving Requiem from his Faust For Organ composed in 1976. The concert was sponsored by the American Embassy and the U.S. Ambassador to Czech Republic was in attendance. The concert was recorded for later broadcast by Prague Radio — I truly relished the opportunity to present a program on this magnificent organ.

Following Prague, I flew via Vienna and Kraków to start a concert tour of southern Poland. The first was at the Monastery in the historic town of Jedrzejow. The Monastery dates from 1210 with the present organ being constructed between 1745-54 in the workshop of Polish organ builder Józef Sitarski. The instrument has four manuals, the fourth being a “pull-out” beneath the lowest fixed manual. It’s sole purpose is to transpose — a most unusual feature. The stop knobs are actually cast bronze handles and the instrument’s entire mechanism has survived intact. The blue and gold screen is stupendous and is located on the western wall of the main isle of the church. The wood casing was executed in the monastery workshop with the ornamentation coming from the wood-carving workshop of the Kornecki family of Kraków. My concert was part of the International Festival of Organ and Chamber Music, initiated in 1993, and takes place every July and August. Staying at the Monastery was a memorable experience — so very quiet.

In contrast, my next concert was in Radom in a very modern church. The organ was a new three manual mechanical action instrument built by an unlisted German builder. It was built to good standards and enjoys a fine acoustic. The concert was well attended.

Following Radom, a four hour train journey took me to Stalowa Wola-Rozwadów for a concert in another Monastery. The organ was built in 1996 by Warsaw builder Janusz Kaminski. It is a fine mechanical action instrument with a heavy touch possessing a strong Principal and clear speech throughout. The local television station came and taped the event including an interview with me and I was very glad they spoke some English! Staying in this Monastery was very interesting — I speak no Polish and they spoke very little English. One morning I awoke early to the lovely sound of the monks singing chant.

The last concert was in Lublin in the very stark modern church of 2000 which was opened by Pope Paul. The organ by German builder Carl Schuster of München was a transplant and dates from 1956 with electro-pneumatic stop and key action. The acoustic is stunning in this building! In addition to solo repertoire, I accompanied Düsseldorf based mezzo Sylwia Siwak. The concert was well attended with over seven hundred people.

This was my first visit to Czech Republic and Poland and it was rewarding to find that organ music is certainly loved in this part of the world. It is interesting to note that in Poland all the concerts were introduced by an MC who explained the history of the music to the audience throughout the concert. The superb attendance showed that Polish audiences obviously enjoy good organ music. I wish to extend special thanks to Robert Grudzien for organizing my tour in Poland.

Carol Williams is represented by PVA Management in the UK and Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists in the USA.

Contact information:

Straightforward Organ Music

Colin Mawby
Composer profile from MelBay

There are many levels of contemporary organ composition ranging from the extremely difficult to the very straightforward. Most organ composers wish to be seen as great writers who produce difficult and challenging pieces which will achieve quick recognition and be played by the world’s top virtuosi. This is a praiseworthy ambition but it is rarely fulfilled.

If one studies the ability of organists one sees that about 95% are ordinary players who perform in church on Sundays on not very good instruments. Of these 95%, very few are professional players and many have only a basic technique. Many are reasonably open-minded about repertoire and welcome new music which is written for players of their ability who have little time to practice. They take great pride in their work and always offer their insights and talents to congregations and give them voluntaries which raise their hearts and minds to the Creator.

I plead for composers to write for this important group; take it seriously and produce music which is tuneful, attractive and appealing. These organists are never going to play virtuoso music – they can manage a simplified version of Widor’s Toccata but not much beyond this. If one looks at the great output of French organ music, one sees that composers like Franck, Lefebure-Wely and others wrote much very pleasant music for precisely this market. It did not prevent them establishing a reputation as great virtuoso composers – quite the contrary.

Contemporary composers should write for this market and extend its repertoire. Many ordinary organists will applaud and thank them for doing this essential and valuable work.

Colin Mawby

Contact information:
Colin Mawby
136 High Street
Needham Market

Phone Number:  0044 144 972 3321
E-mail Address:

Have you ever wondered how to get those professional touches which add sparkle to your choir’s performance? Go to to find advice, information, and regular free choirtraining from Colin Mawby in the monthly Newsletter Vivace!

An Organist’s Life in Israel

At the music presentation for Itzhak Rabin
Sarabande from Symphony for Organ #1, ‘Jewish’ (excerpt, MP3)

I learned to play organ in the Gorky conservatory in the class of Russian organist Galina Kozlova, who, unfortunately, died at the peak of her artistic career. In 1990 I emigrated to Israel, unaware that in Israel an organist is about as useful as an Arctic researcher. Nonetheless, I soon became involved in various concerts and festivals, which gave me hope for a bright musical future. I was especially proud to perform frequently with musicians from the famous Tel-Aviv Symphony Orchestra.

My concert activity
I started the career of a concert organist through meeting a Swiss lady, Margrit Pfister. While she was neither a musician nor artist manager, she very successfully arranged my organ performances in various countries. Organist and musicologist Peter Brusius from Marburg also helped me immensely. I dedicated my organ symphonies No. 2 and 3 to Margrit and Peter. Thus, I have been concertizing throughout Europe for 13 years. I am fortunate to have performed in:

Berlin Dom
Berlin, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis Church
Rome, Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri
Marburg, St. Elisabeth Church
Düsseldorf, Neander Church
Basel Cathedral (also for “Commemorating the 1st Zionist Congress)
Basel, St. Peter Church
Jerusalem, all churches
Rotterdam, St. Laurens Church
Frankfurt am Main, St.Katharin Church

And, of course, Cologne Cathedral, where I flew just hours after having participated in my wife’s labor and delivery of our child.
In the future, there are performances planned in München Dom, in Gent Cathedral, in Dresden’s Kreuzkirche, and in Luxemburg’s Sacre-Coeur.

My life in Israel as organist and composer
I made my home in northern Israel, in the lovely town of Carmiel. It is quite far from the cultural centers. There I started teaching piano in the local conservatory. Of course, it was impossible to make a living on the conservatory salary, and through a big personal favor I obtained a job very far removed from organ music — in the department of street sanitation. When the Israeli media learned about this, I was featured in the news and the most popular TV shows. There were films made about me, and I became so well known that people recognized me in the streets and stopped their cars to say “hello” to me. That’s when I got a call from the office of then-Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin and was asked to perform at one of his meetings. An electronic organ, “Johannus”, was brought, and I played Bach chorales (whose content doesn’t fit Judaism very well), and the “Toccata without Fugue” in d. Everyone was very happy, and Rabin said he’s known about me for a while and values me.

In 1993 I was invited to the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem to teach organ. In spite of the long distance between my home and the Academy (200 km/124 miles) I drove there once a week after my night job, taught organ, and returned the same day to work at night once again. This lasted for four years. There was no pipe organ in the Academy, and my lessons were taught on the electronic “Johannus” to the very few people in Israel who want to study organ.

I started composing for the organ after the 1995 assassination of Itzhak Rabin. My first piece is titled “Mourning Itzhak Rabin”. For a long time, I wanted to hear Jewish music on the organ, and decided to start contributing to that cause. After a few new pieces, I composed the “Jewish Symphony” for the organ, which became my “calling card”. Swiss organist Patricia Ott plays two of my “Jewish” opuses. Recently French organist Domenico Severin performed the finale of my Second symphony in Paris in Eglise de La Madeleine. I dedicated my “Toccata Domenicale” to him. It turned out to be quite complex, and I don’t know whether he is happy with my “gift” or not.

I released four CDs with “Hänssler” (one of CDs is performed on the piano). Also I released a CD recorded on the piano with my daughter Iryna Krasnovska. She is studying in the music academy of Basel, and in March 2004 won first place in the Rahn Competition in Switzerland.
Soon a new CD will come out with my three organ symphonies, recorded on the wonderful Seifert organ in Rhede, Germany.

I must say that I almost do not perform in Israel, save the rare concerts in Tel Aviv’s Immanuel-Church on a small (16 rank) but lovely instrument. When I contact organists in other countries and ask about opportunities to perform in their cathedrals, they naturally ask me to arrange their concerts in Israel. Since I am unable to help them with this request, our dialogue usually ends right there.

I would very much like to find an artist manager. I have been contacting U.S. churches and synagogues offering to perform there, with limited success. As an Israeli organist, an opportunity to perform the Jewish symphony in a synagogue or temple would be a unique experience both for me and for the listeners.

Other organists in Israel
First and foremost I would like to mention Valery Maisky – very talented and widely known organist who emigrated from Russia. He died in a tragic auto accident in 1981. He was the brother of world-famous cellist Mischa Maisky. Valery’s daughter Nira Maisky, who was born in Israel, continues in her father’s footsteps and is currently studying in the Royal Conservatoire of Music and Dance, The Hague, Netherlands.

Elisabeth Roloff – wonderful German organist, who has lived and worked in Israel for many years. She is currently the organist at the Redeemer Church in Jerusalem and faculty member of the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance (episodically, as the students appear). It was she who graciously recommended me to the Academy. Elisabeth is an active concert organist and is known around the world.

Juan Onassis came to Israel from Uruguay in 1969. He is the organist of Immanuel Church in Tel Aviv – Jaffo. Thanks to him, we Israeli organists have the opportunity to perform in our country, because regular organ concerts are held only at St. Immanuel.

Alexander Gorin is an excellent organist from the former USSR, who emigrated to Israel in 1990. Currently he teaches organ at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. He also gives concerts in other countries.

Rina Shechter emigrated from the former USSR. She performs solo and with various choirs. I have heard her only once and was very impressed with her informed, thoughtful playing.

Sabin Levi came from Bulgaria. He studied organ in Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance with Elisabeth Roloff. Currently he received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas at Lawrence, in organ (studying with Prof. James Higdon) and composition (studying with Prof. Charles Hoag). Sabin Levi has established himself as a brilliant performer and excellent composer .

Everything I wrote above is about immigrants – people who came to Israel from various countries. Now a few words about Israeli-born organists.

A person born in Israel who decides to study organ is extremely rare and unique. I can say that this person traveled a road that does not exist, especially if they are from a religious Jewish family with Yemen roots, such as Pnina Adany. Pnina studied in the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance with Elisabeth Roloff. There was a period when she frequently performed in various concerts and festivals. Currently her performances in Israel are rare (as they are rare for the rest of us).

Yuval Rabin was born in Israel and studied with Elisabeth Roloff. After that he continued his studies in Basel with Guy Bovet. Yuval Rabin is also an excellent composer and he released a CD with Israeli organ music.

About the First Israeli Organ Festival
The most important event in the Israeli organ music life was the First Organ Festival of 2003. The festival was organized by Gerard Levi, who poured his heart and soul (and money) into it. Based on the financial results, I think the first festival was also the last. In the musical sense, the festival was a great success. The concerts were held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. The Haifa University organ was built by Israeli organbuilder Gideon Shamir. Unfortunately, this organ is not used often enough, mostly being “furniture”.

A unique feature of the festival was that each performer played two concerts, and there was to be no repetition of any piece throughout the festival. This created certain difficulties in setting of the repertoire, especially since three festival participants came from other countries. The European performers were Francois Espinasse, titular organist of Saint-Severin church in Paris; Vincent Warnier, titular organist of Saint-Etienne du Mont church in Paris, Istvan Ella, well-knowned Hungarian organ player from Budapest. The Israeli organists participating were Elisabett Roloff, Sabin Levi, Yuval Rabin and myself.

Translated from Russian by Lana Krakovskiy

Contact information:
Azmon 4/4
20100 Carmiel
tel. and fax: + 972-4-9988170