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Northern Ireland International Organ Competition Returns to Armargh: August 21-23, 2023

Jun 8, 2023

Northern Ireland International Organ Competition

The 11th Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (NIIOC) will take place in Armagh from 21–23 August 2023, returning to the cathedral city where it was founded for the first time since the pandemic.

The competition jury will be chaired by the Canadian organist Isabelle Demers, who has an international reputation as a recitalist and recording artist and is associate professor of organ at McGill University, Montréal. She will be joined by Daniel Moult, head of the organ department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and by regular jury member David Hill, artistic director of the Bach Choir, London, the Yale Schola Cantorum, Connecticut and of the Charles Wood Summer School, which runs concurrently with the organ competition.

For this year only the upper age limit for entrants has been extended to 22, because of the disruption to the competition schedules caused by Covid-19. In future years the age limit will return to 21.

The last in-person edition of the NIIOC took place in Armagh in 2019. The pioneering tenth NIIOC in 2021 took place online, with competitors submitting video recordings of themselves playing their choice of instruments near their homes around the world under recital conditions for adjudication. It was won by Laura Schlappa from Germany.

The tenth anniversary of the competition in 2022 saw all ten senior first prize-winners taking part in joint recitals in London and Belfast and individual recitals across Northern Ireland, with 2013 winner Richard Gowers premiering a new work by Grace-Evangeline Mason commissioned for NIIOC by the Commission for Victims and Survivors.

The Senior and Intermediate sections of NIIOC 2023 take place in St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh and the Junior Competition in St Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church, Armagh. Full details of the monetary prizes and recitals, and opening and closing dates for entries, will be announced on Monday 17 April.

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