The 2021 Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition in Organ Playing took place on Friday, June 4, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Syracuse. This year’s competition returned to an in-person event in which three contestants were invited to perform thirty-minute programs on the basis of their preliminary round recordings.
First Prize ($3000, funded by the Arthur Poister Endowment Fund of Syracuse University, and a recital engagement on the historic Holtkamp organ at Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music) went to Collin Miller of Lafayette, Louisiana. Collin is currently pursuing a Master of Music in organ performance in the studio of Janette Fishell at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. His program included Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in D Major, Vierne’s “Étoile du soir,” from Pièces de Fantasie, and Demessieux’s “Tierces” and “Octaves” from the Six Etudes. Collin’s winner’s recital will take place in autumn at Syracuse University.
Second Prize ($1000, funded by the Arthur Poister Endowment Fund of Syracuse University) was awarded to Jennifer Shin, a doctoral student of David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music. She also received the most votes for the Will O. Headlee Audience Prize ($500, funded by Don Ingram in memory of Will Headlee, Syracuse University Professor Emeritus of Organ and long-time Poister competition coordinator). Jennifer is a member of The Diapason's 20 Under 30 Class of 2021.
Third Prize ($500, funded by the Syracuse Chapter of the American Guild of Organists) was awarded to Rachel Schulz, a MM candidate at the University of Kansas studying with Michael Bauer.
The judges for the finals were Andrew Henderson, Director of Music and Organist at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and chair of the organ department at Manhattan School of Music; Nicole Keller, faculty member at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music and Associate Organist At Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland; and Renée Anne Louprette, Assistant Professor of Music and College Organist at Bard College and faculty member at Bard College Conservatory.
Top row, from left to right: Renée Anne Louprette, Nicole Keller, Andrew Henderson
Bottom row, from left to right: Rachel Schulz, Jennifer Shin, Collin Miller
Photo courtesy of Ben Merchant
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