The 22nd annual Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Hartford competition was devoted to high school aged organists and took place September 28–29 at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.
First Prize in performance was awarded to Eddie Zheng of New York, New York, a student of Paul Jacobs at The Juilliard School. Second prize was presented to Bruce Xu of Sloatsburg, New York, also co-winner of the Prize of the Audience. Emily Dawn Amos, a student at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, Michigan, took Third Prize in the performance competition, won First Prize in the David Spicer Hymn Playing Competition, and shared the Prize of the Audience. Other finalists in the competitions were Reilly Xu of New York and Justin Brueggeman of Tennessee.
Competition judges were Chelsea Chen, Renée Anne Louprette, and Benjamin Straley. Vaughn Mauren is artistic director of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Hartford. The festival opened with a concert featuring performances by the judges and by Christopher Houlihan as soloist with members of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
The competition alternates years between high school aged organists and young professional organists, generally of university age. Judges for the September 2019 festival will be Diane Meredith Belcher, Thomas Murray, and John Rose, with $29,000 in prizes to be awarded. This year’s festival will open with organ and the full Hartford Symphony Orchestra on September 20 at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford. For information: www.asofhartford.org.
Chelsea Chen, Benjamin Straley, Renée Anne Louprette, Emily Amos, Bruce Xu, Reilly Xu, Eddie Zheng, and Justin Brueggeman (photo credit: Vaughn Mauren)