School of Music

Organ Performance & Sacred Music Studies

The Eleventh Annual Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance

March 16-18, 2017

ecuorgan comp

East Carolina University is pleased to announce the results of the 11th Annual Young Artists' Competition in Organ Performance, held March 18 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greenville, North Carolina.  This competition is an outreach initiative designed to encourage talented high school organists strive for the highest standards in organ technique and interpretation.  We are grateful to the sponsors of our prizes: East Carolina Musical Arts Education Foundation, C.B. Fisk, Inc., and East Carolina Chapter AGO.  Both first prize as well as the Bach prize were awarded to Bruce Xu of Wiston-Salem, NC, a student of Timothy Olsen.  Second prize and the hymn-playing prize were awarded to Danielle Little, a student of Katie-Ann McCarty, and third prize was awarded to Justin Brueggeman, student of David Runner.  Pictured in front of the C.B. Fisk, opus 126 organ are the competitors with ECU faculty and celebrity judge and recitalist, Peggy Haas Howell, of Lynchburg, Virginia.


Note: The contact person for the organ competition is Prof. Andrew Scanlon ( 252-328-1261). Please direct any inquiries accordingly. For information on the piano competition, please contact Dr. Kerry Carlin ( 252-752-4749)

The East Carolina University Young Artists Competition for Pre-College Organists is an innovative outreach program designed to inspire young musicians to strive for the highest level of musicianship and technical accomplishment in organ performance. The competition is open to any pre-college organ student in the United States. In addition to generous monetary prizes, the competitors will also compete for the two additional prizes in Hymn playing and Bach interpretation. The competition will be staged in two rounds. From the recorded application round, three finalists will be chosen to compete live on March 18, 2017. All three will receive prizes and will be considered for the two special prizes mentioned above.

Organists chosen for the Final Round arrive for practice on Thursday and/or Friday, and attend the 7:30 p.m. recital by the competition judge, Peggy Haas Howell of Lynchburg, VA. The organ competition will take place on the following afternoon, on the Perkins and Wells Memorial Organ, C.B. Fisk, Opus 126, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, which borders the ECU campus. The competition will conclude with the awarding of prizes. Competitors and their families are welcome to come early or stay on in Greenville for the purposes of observing lessons and classes in the organ/sacred music area. The organ faculty will also be available to offer private lessons to competitors following the competition. All recitals, masterclasses, and the competition itself are free and open to the public. Full organ competition details can be found below. Click below for an application and to view the organ specifications:

Download organ competition application (PDF file)


February 15, 2017
Postmark deadline to submit application form, fee, and recordings

Thursday and/or Friday, March 16-17
Finalists practice at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. A schedule will be announced when finalists are determined. Finalists and/or family members welcome to observe sacred music classes/lessons while in Greenville. Please make arrangements with Prof. Scanlon

Friday, March 17, 7:30 p.m.
9:00-afternoon: Practice time continues
TBA: East Carolina Campus tour, courtesy of ECU organ majors
7:30 p.m. Organ Recital by guest artist & adjudicator, Peggy Haas Howell (St. Paul's Episcopal Church). Reception follows in St. Paul's Parish Hall.

Saturday, March 18
9 am-12 pm: Finalists warm-up at St. Paul's Episcopal Church
12:30-2:30 p.m.: Organ competition followed by awarding of prizes
2:30 p.m.: Reception
Afternoon: Faculty available to teach lessons (by appointment, please contact Prof. Scanlon)

Sunday, March 19
All are welcome to attend services at St. Paul's Episcopal Church (8:00, 9:00, 11:00 a.m.)
All are welcome to attend the 5:00 p.m. service of Choral Evensong-St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Official Organ Competition Rules 2016

Eligibility: The competition is open to pre-college students between the ages of 13-18 who are residents of the United States of America. Current students of the judges and previous first place winners are ineligible to compete.

Application Procedure and Repertoire Requirements: Competitors must submit the application form along with three copies of a CD (repertoire described below) postmarked no later than February 15, 2017. The recordings must contain no speaking, and each piece must be continuous and unedited; recordings must not be marked with the name of the competitor.

  1. One work by Johann Sebastian Bach.
  2. One piece composed between 1850-1950 in a Romantic style.
  3. One piece composed after 1950 in a style contrasting with the second work.

Total performance time of the repertoire should not exceed forty (40) minutes. Contact Prof. Scanlon with repertoire concerns or questions.

Final Round: Not more than three persons will be chosen for live competition. Each will receive an equal amount of practice the days before and of the competition. All attempts will be made to notify competitors of their competition status in a timely manner, in order that arrangements can be made for travel to Greenville.

Compositions to be performed at the final round are to be the same as those on the recording with the following addition: All finalists will be sent a competition hymn packet, and candidates should be prepared to play an introduction and designated stanzas of all the indicated hymns. Upon arrival, all finalists will be notified of one appointed hymn, and all will play the same, single hymn as part of the final round on the competition day. Performance from memory is optional.

Teachers or other assistants provided by the competitor may help with registration choices and turn pages; however, each competitor must accomplish his or her own registration changes (i.e. piston changes) during the competition. Both the preliminary recorded round and final competition will be judged with complete anonymity and judges' comments will be given to each competitor. Performers must use legal scores. The judge's decisions will be final. The competition will be open to the public.


First prize: The Cathee Jean Huber Memorial Prize, sponsored by East Carolina Musical Arts Education Foundation. $1,500
Second Prize: The Fisk Prize, sponsored by C.B. Fisk, Inc., Organ builders. $750
Third prize: The American Guild of Organists Prize, sponsored by the Eastern Carolina Chapter of the AGO. $300
The Bach Prize: recognizing the outstanding performance of a work by Johann Sebastian Bach
The Hymn Playing Prize: recognizing the day's most outstanding hymn playing.

All finalists will be awarded a compact disc of their performance.

Logistical Information: Any contestant who requires an overnight stay in Greenville in order to participate in the competition may access or visit any of the many online hotel booking services.