The 2019 Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival brings top talent to Hartford and showcases the Hartford-built “grand organ” at Trinity College Chapel
On September 27-29, Trinity College Chapel will host “three days of sonic splendor” as competitors vie for the top honors — and $28,500 in prize money — at one of the nation’s most prestigious organ competitions.
HARTFORD, CONN. (August 13, 2019) — Now in its 23rd season, the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Hartford brings some of the nation’s best young organists to Hartford to perform – and compete – on the renowned Austin organ at Trinity College Chapel in Hartford.
The 2019 Festival, scheduled for September 27-29, offers a sonic feast of concerts, recitals, and choral music. The competition, which takes place on Saturday, September 28, is book-ended on September 27 and September 29 by concerts featuring internationally-acclaimed organist Christopher Houlihan and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Carolyn Kuan, music director. All events take place at Trinity College Chapel, 300 Summit Street, Hartford.
“The 2019 Festival features our Young Professional Division competition, one of the top three organ competitions in North America, which we offer biennially in odd years,” said Vaughn Mauren, the Festival’s artistic director. “This year we will award $28,500 in prize money, the largest single-year sum in Festival history.”
The award for the first place winner of the Young Professional Division is $15,000; the second place winner receives $7,500; and the third place winner receives $3,500. An additional prize of $2,500 is awarded to the winner of the David Spicer Hymn Playing Prize.
“These prizes are truly artistic grants,” said Mauren, “meant to ease the burdens of student loans and living expenses, while providing our laureates the means to pursue additional musical opportunities.”
The 2019 finalists, selected by a panel of judges from an international pool of applicants, are Elena Baquerizo of New York, NY; Alexander Pattavina, also of New York, NY; and Joseph Russell of Houston.
The competition on Saturday, September 28, begins at 10:00 a.m. Each of the three finalists will perform a 45-minute solo recital before three expert adjudicators: the renowned organists Diane Meredith Belcher, Thomas Murray, and John Rose. At 4:30 p.m., the winning organist presents a 30-minute solo recital. All listeners are invited to attend choral evensong at 5:00 p.m., and to participate in the final element of the competition, a rousing hymn-playing contest, where the three finalists compete vie for the $2,500 David Spicer Hymn Playing Prize. All the events on September 28 are free and open to the public.
“Outreach is also an important component of the Festival,” Mauren added. “This year, as we seek to build an even larger audience for this exciting Festival right here in Hartford, we are thrilled to present the two concerts on September 27 and 29 with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Carolyn Kuan, Music Director. We are especially proud to feature concert organist Christopher Houlihan, John Rose College Organist-Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music at Trinity College in Hartford, who is also a member of the Festival's Board of Directors and a local leader in the arts.”
“Many people are familiar with the pipe organ in a liturgical or church setting, but there is also a rich repertoire of concert music for solo organ and for organ with orchestra, and music of both types will be heard during the Festival,” added Mauren. “All the Festival events – the professional competition, choral evensong, and the two concerts with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra – feature the magnificent Austin Organ at Trinity College Chapel. This organ, crafted by Hartford’s own Austin Organ Company, is renowned among organists and choral musicians, and we are excited to introduce new listeners to the splendour and vast color palette of this organ as a solo instrument and in partnership with the full orchestra.”
The Festival events also offer music-lovers an opportunity to visit Trinity College Chapel, a Hartford landmark and a building of national significance noted for its pre-eminence among neo-Gothic structures in America. Despite a name that suggests an intimate space, the Chapel, with a length of some 180 feet and a breathtaking reach of 62 feet from floor to ceiling, boasts an extraordinarily resonant acoustic in a soaring, visually stunning space, and is particularly suited for performance of organ and choral music.
Tickets for the concerts with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Christopher Houlihan on September 27 and 29 are on sale now at http://bit.ly/Grand-Organ. All other Festival events, including the competitions, are free and open to the public.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: The 23rd Annual Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Hartford
All events take place at Trinity College Chapel, 300 Summit Street, Hartford. Complete Festival details are at www.asofhartford.org.
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 Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Hartford. The program includes the thrilling and notoriously difficult Symphonie Concertante for organ and orchestra by Joseph Jongen. Mr. Houlihan, described as “one of the brightest stars in the new generation of American organists,” will also perform music by Bach and Widor (the opening movement of the Sixth Symphony). The program includes the fourth movement of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 in D Major and the Albert Schweitzer Portrait by Gene Scheer for orchestra and narrator, featuring John Nowacki of New England Public Radio. Carolyn Kuan and Dr. Lisa Wong, an expert on the life and work of Albert Schweitzer, will join Mr. Houlihan in presenting a 30-minute talk at 7:00 p.m. in the Admissions Building, near the Chapel. Tickets are $35-$55 at www.hartfordsymphony.org.
Saturday, September 28, 2019
All events on Saturday, September 28 are free and open to the public
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Young Professionals Competition – Each of the three finalists performs a 45-minute recital on the 4,429-pipe Austin organ in Trinity College Chapel, presenting repertoire of their choosing that meets the requirements of the competition. The competition will be judged by renowned organists Diane Meredith Belcher, Thomas Murray, and John Rose. Listeners may choose to attend any or all of the recitals. Elena Baquerizo opens the competition at 10:00 a.m., followed by Alexander Pattavina at 11:00 a.m. and Joseph Russell at 12:45 p.m.
4:30 - 5:00 p.m. Winner's Recital – The First Prize recipient presents a solo organ recital of selected repertoire.
5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Choral Evensong – This ancient service of sung evening prayer is open to all. Listeners will hear the organ in its traditional liturgical art form, blending with the Festival Choir to present great choral music from the English cathedral tradition. The Chapel Singers of Trinity College join 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. The service will be accompanied by Benjamin Straley, former Organist of Washington National Cathedral.
6:00 p.m. Hymn Playing Competition – The three finalists compete once more, this time for the $2,500 David Spicer Hymn Playing Prize, demonstrating their ability to inspire and lead several hundred people in song. This is an especially fun event, with lots of audience participation and opportunities for robust singing. The day concludes with a reception in the Chapel cloisters.
Sunday, September 29, 2019
3:00 p.m. Encore Presentation: Music for Grand Organ and Orchestra – An encore presentation of the Opening Concert. Acclaimed organist Christopher Houlihan joins the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Carolyn Kuan conducting. The program includes the thrilling and notoriously difficult Symphonie Concertante for organ and orchestra by Joseph Jongen. Mr. Houlihan, described as “one of the brightest stars in the new generation of American organists,” will also perform music by Bach and Widor (the opening movement of the Sixth Symphony). The program includes the fourth movement of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 in D Major and the Albert Schweitzer Portrait by Gene Scheer for orchestra and narrator, featuring John Nowacki of New England Public Radio. Carolyn Kuan and Dr. Lisa Wong, an expert on the life and work of Albert Schweitzer, will join Mr. Houlihan in presenting a 30-minute talk at 2:00 p.m. in the Admissions Building, near the Chapel. Tickets are $35-$55 at www.hartfordsymphony.org.
Parking and accessibility
Parking for ASOFH events at the Trinity College Chapel is allowed in any campus parking spot, including those marked for college registered vehicles. The closest parking spaces are on Summit Street and in the lots adjacent to Jarvis and Seabury Halls. For those with mobility concerns, at the concerts on Friday, September 27 and Sunday, September 29, a complimentary golf-cart shuttle will be available from the Hansen Hall parking lot, located off Vernon Street. The shuttle will begin service 30 minutes prior to the pre-concert talks and will be available before and following the concerts. Please allow ample time to use this service. The Chapel’s accessible ramp entrance is located through the north cloister, near Downes Memorial. Accessible restrooms are located at the Admissions and Career Development Center and are not available in the Chapel. Additional parking may be found by Ferris Athletic Center, accessed through the campus entrance near 1705 Broad Street. A campus map is available at https://map.trincoll.edu.
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Interviews: For more information, or to schedule an interview with Vaughn Mauren, Artistic Director of the Festival, or with any of the finalists, please contact Sarah Hager Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-676-2228.
About the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival – Named for humanitarian and organist Albert Schweitzer, and now in its twenty-third year, the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Hartford features an annual international competition for young organists, with the winners receiving significant monetary awards to further their music education. The dual purpose of the Festival is to encourage young organists and to enhance the area of organ education, both to support young people studying the organ and to increase general appreciation of the pipe organ and of organ music of the past and present. Competitors benefit from expert evaluations by recognized judges; compete for monetary awards for their work; advance their resumes; and develop close and lasting bonds with their peers. The Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival in the Netherlands, founded in 1979 by the Albert Schweitzer Institute, enabled many young European organists to become leaders in their field. This American version of the Festival energizes organ musicianship in North America and offers a unique opportunity to music lovers in the region and beyond to enjoy an annual opportunity to hear emerging artists perform outstanding organ music on the highly-regarded Austin organ in Trinity College Chapel. The 2019 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 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. More information is at www.asofhartford.org.
About Artistic Director Vaughn Mauren –Vaughn Mauren was named Artistic Director of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival in 2017. He has served as Organist and Choirmaster at St. James’s Episcopal Church since 2014, having previously served as Director of Music for Young at Arts and Associate Organist at Christ Church, Bronxville; Organist of the Episcopal Church at Yale University; and Organist and Choirmaster of Berkeley Divinity School, also at Yale. Mauren has also served on the vocal coaching faculties of Sarah Lawrence College and Concordia College, New York, and conducted chamber operas by Britten and Menotti, as well as several musical theater productions while at Young at Arts. He recently served as Chorusmaster for Connecticut Concert Opera’s 2015 production of Tosca and Opera Connecticut’s 2016 production of Hansel and Gretel and 2017 production of Rigoletto. Born in New York City and raised in Albany, New York, Mauren began his musical career as a chorister in the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, Albany, and later at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Albany. He continued his organ studies with John Rose at Trinity College (Hartford), earning a B. A. with Honors in Music in 2007, and at the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, earning a M. M. in Organ Performance in 2009 under Martin Jean, Thomas Murray, and Jeffrey Brillhart. He has performed solo organ recitals at the American Cathedral in Paris, Washington National Cathedral, St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and as a collaborate organist with Sigur Rós at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. Mauren is also Dean of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. In 2017, he directed a Pipe Organ Encounter at Trinity College for teen organists from around the country.
About the Trinity College Chapel Organ – The extraordinary pipe organ at Trinity College Chapel was built in 1971 by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut. The late Professor Clarence Watters (Trinity College organist from 1932-1969), who worked with Austin to design this instrument, described it as a “neo-classic” organ that employs the best principles of the past three centuries of organ building. With more than 4,429 pipes made of varying materials that range in size from that of a pencil to a small tree, the organ can match the power and variety of an orchestra as it evokes the tonal colors of many orchestral instruments as well as those unique to the organ. The organ was specially designed for the Chapel space and is periodically updated with new technology that enables it to grow and evolve. The organ’s casework and façade layout is the work of designer Charles Nazarian, Trinity College ’73 and was inspired by classical French organ cases. In 2013, the organ was fitted with new actions; a new console, incorporating several revisions and the addition of a fourth manual, was built and installed by Austin Organs. Detailed organ specifications are available at bit.ly/TrinityChapelOrgan. The Chapel itself, designed by the firm of Frohman, Robb & Little (also architects of Washington National Cathedral), is a Hartford landmark and a building of national significance because of its pre-eminence among neo-Gothic structures in America. The Chapel was consecrated in 1932 by the Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut. A guide to the Chapel’s unique decorations is at bit.ly/TrinChapelArch.
The Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Hartford
Our mission is to encourage and inspire excellence in organ performance by emerging artists at both the high-school and young professional levels.
Media Contact: Sarah Hager Johnston
Media Inquiries: email@example.com
Media Phone: 860-676-2228
General inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ASOFHartford @ASOFHartford
Administrative Address: 19 Walden Street, West Hartford CT, 06107
Performing Venue Address: Trinity College Chapel, 300 Summit Street Hartford CT
The 4429-pipe organ at Trinity College Chapel was built in 1971 by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut. The organ was specially designed for the Chapel space and is periodically updated with new technology. (Photo by Len Levasseur)