Now in its 23rd season, the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Hartford brings some of the world’s best young organists to Hartford to perform – and compete – on the renowned Austin organ at Trinity College Chapel in Hartford.
This year's Festival features the Young Professional Division, which is one of the top three organ competitions in North America. The public competition, in which $28,500 in prize money will be awarded, is at the heart of a whole weekend of events, offering a sonic feast of concerts, recitals, and choral music, including a hymn-playing competition where every listener is also a participant.
Friday, September 27, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Music for Grand Organ and Orchestra
Acclaimed organist Christopher Houlihan joins the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Carolyn Kuan conducting, in the Opening Concert of the 2019 Festival. The program includes the thrilling and notoriously difficult Symphonie Concertante for organ and orchestra by Joseph Jongen, and offers a rare opportunity to hear the HSO in the soaring acoustic of Trinity College Chapel. This may be the first performance of the Jongen in Hartford. A pre-concert talk begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Admissions Building, near the Chapel. Tickets are $35-$55, on sale now at http://bit.ly/Grand-Organ
Saturday, September 28, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Young Professional Organist Competition
All competition events are open to the public. Beginning at 10:00 a.m., each of three finalists, selected from an international pool of applicants, performs a 45 minute recital before three expert judges, vying for $26,000 in prize money. At 4:30 p.m., the winner of the competition will present a solo recital. At 5:00, all are welcome to enjoy a service of choral evensong, during which the Chapel Singers of Trinity College join with the choirs of St. James's Episcopal Church and St. John's Episcopal Church (both in West Hartford) under the direction of Vaughn Mauren and Scott Lamlein, choirmasters, to present great choral music from the English cathedral tradition. The service will be accompanied by Benjamin Straley, former Organist of Washington National Cathedral. At 6:00 p.m., the three finalists compete once more, this time vying for the $2,500 David Spicer Hymn Playing Prize. The day closes with a reception in the Chapel cloisters, to which all are welcome. All events on Saturday, September 28 are free and open to the public.
Sunday, September 29, 2019, 3:00 p.m.
Music for Grand Organ and Orchestra (encore performance!)
An encore performance of the September 27 concert with Christopher Houlihan and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. A pre-concert talk begins at 2:00 p.m. in the Admissions Building, near the Chapel. Tickets are $35-$55, on sale now at http://bit.ly/Grand-Organ
All Festival events take place at Trinity College Chapel, 300 Summit Street, Hartford. More details about all the Festival events, including information for parking at Trinity College, may be found at https://www.asofhartford.org/competition-2
Did you know...?
The Austin pipe organ at Trinity College Chapel has 4,429 pipes! And every one of them will send forth its unique sound during the upcoming Festival, surrounding you and other listeners with an extraordinary sonic experience.
Just as a pipe organ depends on thousands of pipes to produce a grand and glorious sound, an organization like the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Hartford depends on the vision and generosity of many people to create and sustain a grand and glorious performance and educational experience. As a music lover, and perhaps as an aficionado of the pipe organ, you know that increasingly, it falls to individuals to sustain performing arts in our communities and to support the young musicians who aspire to enrich our lives for years to come.
If you received a letter from the Festival inviting you to support this music with your financial gift, please respond generously. And if you are a new friend of the Festival and did not receive that letter, please donate at our secure website HERE or send your check to ASOFHartford, 19 Walden Street, West Hartford, CT, 06107. All gifts are tax-deductible. Your support makes a difference! Thank you!
Photo of Trinity College Chapel organ by Len Levasseur
Welcome to our new Festival newsletter!
We have so much news, and so many stories to share about the Festival, that we've started this newsletter to enrich your listening experience. In future issues, look for information about the Festival finalists and judges; some stunning new photos of the wonderful Austin Organ at Trinity College Chapel; program notes; a look back at history of the Festival; some background about the unique architecture of Trinity College Chapel; and much, much more, including details about the 2020 competition, to be announced later this fall.
We hope to see you at every event! In the mean time, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues, as we build an even larger audience for this exciting Festival right here in Hartford.
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Our mission is to encourage and inspire excellence in organ performance by emerging artists at both the high-school and young professional levels.