Calgary International Organ Festival

Calgary International Organ Festival. A week-long event held 13-19 Oct 1990 and intended to be repeated every four years.

Calgary International Organ Festival

Calgary International Organ Festival. A week-long event held 13-19 Oct 1990 and intended to be repeated every four years. The first festival included an international organ competition featuring the Carthy organ in the Jack Singer Concert Hall of the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, and other activities hat would increase public awareness and appreciation of the instrument.

The competition was designed to assist a young organist of international calibre to launch a concert career, to give competition experience to the competitors, and to provide exposure for the Carthy organ and a new Canadian organ concerto commissioned for the event. The competition was held in two stages: preliminary selection rounds held in Lübeck and Cleveland, and final rounds at the Calgary festival.

At the 1990 competition 8 finalists were selected from 108 applicants representing 18 countries. The first-place winner, Kevin Bowyer of Great Britain, received an organized international concert tour, a recording engagement, a gold medal, and $12,000. Terence Fullerton, resident organist of the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts was chairman of the jury, whose members for the final rounds were Hans Fagius (Sweden), Martin Haselböck (Austria), Bernard Lagacé (Canada), Simon Preston (England), Russell Saunders (USA), and Gillian Weir (England). Canadian jurors for the preliminary rounds were Mireille Lagacé and Hugh McLean. The commissioned organ concerto, Snow Walker, by Michael Colgrass was premiered 19 Oct 1990, by the winner of the orchestral round of the competition, Matthew Dirst of the USA, with the Calgary Philharmonic conducted by Mario Bernardi. Many of the performances of the festival were broadcast nationally on CBC radio.

The Festival also offered master classes, workshops and a symposium, all given by members of the jury. Lunch-time organ concerts in Calgary shopping malls, a tour of organs throughout the city, and a series of silent movies with organ accompaniment at the main branch of the Calgary Public Library brought the festival to the larger community. Special programs, entitled Music and Mechanics included tours of local churches with commentary on and demonstrations of pipe organs, and were attended by over 5000.school children. Attendance at ticketed events was approximately 7000.