The ninth Miami International Organ Competition took place February 22 at the Church of the Epiphany, Miami, Florida. First prize ($5,000) was awarded to Tyler Boehmer, who studied with Don Cook at Brigham Young University and is a graduate student of James Higdon at the University of Kansas. In 2015, Boehmer earned first place at the Regional Competition for Young Organists, West Region competition, and was featured as a Rising Star at the 2016 American Guild of Organists National Convention in Houston. Most recently, Boehmer participated in the Tenth Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition in Kaliningrad, where he was awarded the diploma prize, as well as the special prize for outstanding interpretation of Mikael Tariverdiev’s organ works. He was also a quarter-finalist in the 2017 Canadian International Organ Competition. Boehmer is organist for First United Methodist Church of Leavenworth, Kansas.
Second prize ($2,500) and audience prize ($500) went to Joseph Russell, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, studying with Ken Cowan. Prior to his studies at Rice, Russell received his bachelor’s degree at the Curtis Institute of Music, studying organ with Alan Morrison, where he was a recipient of the Stephanie Yen-Mun Liem Azar Fellowship. He also studied harpsichord and continuo playing at Curtis with Leon Schelhase. Russell graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he studied organ with Thomas Bara. He has participated in numerous competitions, including the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival, where he won both first prize and the hymn-playing award in 2012. He also won the Chicago regional American Guild of Organists competition in April 2013. Russell is organist at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Houston.
Third prize ($1,500) went to Ilaria Centorrino, who was born in Messina, Italy, in 1998. She studied organ at the A. Corelli Music Conservatory in Messina and the S. Giacomantonio Music Conservatory in Cosenza, where she is now working on a bachelor’s degree in organ with Emanuele Cardi. In 2016, she won first prize at the Tisia International Organ Competition, second prize (first prize was not awarded) and the Franz Zanin special prize at the Fifth International Organ Competition Organi storici del Bassi Friuli, and second prize at the Sixth International Organ Competition Premio Elvira De Renna in Faiano. Centorrino was one of the semifinalists at the International Organ Competition in Groningen and Weisbaden in 2017. In 2018, she was selected to compete in the International Organ Competition in Nürnberg, was highly commended during the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition in Armagh, and won the first prize at XIII Premio delle Arti 2018, the organ competition for Italian conservatory organ students. In November 2018, she recorded her first CD, on the Pinchi organ in the church of S. Giorgio in Ferrara, for Urania Records.
Final round judges were Craig Cramer, Janette Fishell, and Tarcisio Barreto Ceballos. For information: http://ruffatti.com/en/.
(photo credit: Timothy Champion)