Laura Schlappa of Cuxhaven, Germany, won the 10th Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (NIIOC), which took place virtually at the end of November 2020, with an online results ceremony taking place via Zoom on December 9.
Second place went to Jonas Schauer, and third place to Josua Velten, both also from Germany. Joshua Simoes from the UK and Hannes von Bargen from Germany were both highly commended. The Dame Gillian Weir Medal for an outstanding performance of one piece not by Bach went to Ilaria Centorrino from Italy, and the Bach Prize went to another competitor from Germany, Johannes Güdelhüfer.
Fifteen young performers from five countries reached the final round of NIIOC 2020. When it became clear that the challenges presented by Covid-19 restrictions meant the organists could not travel to Northern Ireland to perform in person, they were asked to submit video recordings of themselves playing their planned programs on an organ in a church, concert hall, or other venue of their choice.
Laura Schlappa, winner of the competition, studies church music at the University of Music in Detmold with Martin Sander. In 2018 she won first place in the intermediate competition of NIIOC and in 2019 she won the London Organ Competition. For NIIOC 2020, her program was recorded in the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Hildesheim, Germany. In addition to her prize of £1,500, she will present recitals at St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, London; St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, New York City; Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Trinity College, Cambridge, and St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.
Second Prize winner Jonas Schauer is a student of Martin Schmeding and Daniel Beilschmidt at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy University of Music and Theatre, Leipzig. He performed on the Schulze organ of St. Bartholomew’s Church, Armley, in Leeds. He wins £500 and recitals at Stockholm Cathedral, Southwark Cathedral, London, and Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. Third Prize winner Josua Velten, from Gießen, played in St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig. He wins £200 and recitals at Glasgow Cathedral and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin.
Ilaria Centorrino, from Messina, won the Dame Gillian Weir Medal for her performance of Liszt’s Fantasy and Fugue on the name of BACH, transcribed for organ by Jean Guillou, played in the Cathedral of Sts. Cosmas and Damian in Vairano, Italy. She receives prize recitals at St. Michael’s Cornhill, London, and for the Organ Society of the Parish Church of St. Lawrence, Alton, Hampshire. Johannes Güdelhöfer, from Cologne, won the Bach Prize for his performance of Vivace from J. S. Bach’s Sonata No. 2, recorded in St. Nicholas Church, Cologne-Sülz, Germany.
The jury consisted of David Titterington, David Hill, and Simon Harden.
For information: niioc.com
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