2019 Pierre S. du Pont First Prize Winner
Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition
Sebastian Heindl, at the age of 21, was the youngest and the only European competitor in the 2019 Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition held in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. In addition to receiving the Pierre S. du Pont First Prize (with a cash award of $40,000), Heindl also walked away with the Audience Choice Prize and the AGO Philadelphia Chapter Prize, recognizing his outstanding performance of the judges’ choice piece, “To Longwood Gardens” by Samuel Barber. He was also awarded a solo recital at Longwood Gardens during the 2019–2020 season.
Born in 1997 in Gera, Thuringia, Germany, Sebastian received his fundamental musical education as a chorister in the famed St. Thomas Boys Choir, Leipzig. There he received organ lessons with University Organist Daniel Beilschmidt and participated in numerous performances as accompanist for the choir.
In 2013, he was featured as an organ soloist in the BBC TV documentary “Bach: A Passionate Life“ hosted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. In 2016, at 17 years of age, he released his debut CD, “Bottle Post Secrets” (Rondeau Productions), recorded on the great Schuke Organ at Magdeburg Cathedral, which includes his own orchestral transcriptions. His playing on the recording was lauded by the press as “absolutely authentic, technically perfect, fiery and enthralling”, and he was named “Organist of the Year 2016” (organ – Journal für die Orgel, Schott Publishing, Mainz). He is also featured as soloist and accompanist on a CD entitled “Bach and Resurrection”, also on the Rondeau Productions label.
He was awarded the special prize of the 2016 Bachkirche Arnstadt as the youngest participant at the 20th International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig. In 2017, he won the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition which gave him the opportunity to perform across the United Kingdom (Westminster Abbey, Trinity College Cambridge, Ulster Hall in Belfast) and in the United States. During the 2018 International Organ Week in Nürnberg he received Third Prize, the Audience Prize, and the Max Reger Prize.
Sebastian performed as a soloist in such venues as St. Thomas Church Leipzig, St. Nikolai Leipzig, Essen Cathedral, Altenburg Castle Chapel, Bach Church Arnstadt, Budapest’s Palace of Arts, Freiburg Cathedral, and the Gewandhaus Leipzig, where he gave his debut with the Poulenc organ concerto. 2019-2020 season recital appearances will be in London, Hamburg, Vienna, New York City, and Montréal. He will be organist in residence at Gera Theater in Leipzig.
He currently studies church music at the University of Music and Theatre “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” in Leipzig with Prof. Martin Schmeding (Artistic Organ Interpretation) and Prof. Thomas Lennarz (Improvisaton) and is a fellow of the “Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes” and the Richard Wagner Foundation.
Sebastian Heindl, as part of his first-place prize at the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition, is represented for three years in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.
Photo credit: Laurie Carrozino