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Launch of new HOA organ contest

Top right: A large crowd gathered for HOA's organ open day at Huddersfield Town Hall last year.

Launch of new HOA organ contest

WHERE are the composers of organ music for the present day - and the next century - to be found?

An annual competition, to be launched by the association this autumn, seeks to discover the answer.

Composers from the region will be invited to submit a previously unpublished, unperformed work for appraisal by a panel of judges. The winning piece will be performed by Borough Organist, Gordon Stewart, in one of the Kirklees Council Monday lunchtime Town Hall concerts. Gordon has also kindly agreed for the benefit of entrants to perform submitted pieces at a study workshop at some date before the recital.

The decision to stage the competition was taken at the June meeting of the committee during a discussion on plans for our centenary events in 2003. It was suggested that a composition competition could form part of the centenary celebrations, but two student members of the committee, Shaun Ward and Michael Smith believed that there was sufficient interest to warrant making the competition an annual event.

Gordon Stewart says: "This is a bold and excellent initiative by the association and I shall be delighted to play new pieces by local composers."

The HOA president and committee are approaching a number of musicians as potential competition judges and advice on possible grant aid is being sought from Yorkshire Arts and other sources. Compositions, for solo organ, can be in any idiom but must last no longer than five minutes.

As one idea behind the competition is to enrich and expand the working repertoire, accessibility will be taken into account. Pieces should be playable by organists of moderate ability: More details in the next Clarion.

In the meanwhile, anyone interested in submitting a composition should contact the president on 01484 515458.

The association will be combining with Kirklees in a second organ day at Huddersfield Town Hall on March 14 to coincide with a visit of the Royal College of Organists.

Our first Organ Day, held last year, was appreciated by many people who came off the street to hear - and try - the town hall organ. Further details in the next issue.