Focusing on the rich musical heritage of the church, while also facilitating innovation, the Norwegian Organ Festival wants to give its audience the opportunity to experience classical and popular church music. This year, for the 30th time, the festival will proudly showcase the wide variety of organ music, while also hosting the second edition of the Nordic Organ Competition.

With the aim of providing beautiful and captivating music, as they have done since 1990, the Norwegian Organ Festival is the place to discover the best of international, Nordic and local organ music. Taking place in the area of Stavanger and Sandnes on 17 to 20 September, the festival has become a place where tradition and innovation meet. “We consider it a very important mission to promote and spread awareness of organ music,” says managing director Ann-Karin Både. Organ music became part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural and World Heritage List in 2018.

Norwegian Organ Festival: On a mission to promote organ music - Scan Magazine

Ann-Karin Både and the Stavanger concert hall organ. Photo: Aftenbladet / Jarle Aasland.

The full festival programme will be released soon, but Både can already reveal that it has something for everyone. One of the headliners is the French organist Michel Bouvard, who will be performing alongside Yasuko Bouvard. “We are very much looking forward to it. Bouvard is an internationally recognised interpreter of the French repertoire, and has played all over the world,” she says. “In addition, we will have the premiere of commissioned works by composer Ørjan Matre performed by Anders Eidsten Dahl and the NyNorsk brass quintet. There will be organ classes for youth and an organetto concert by Catalina Vicens, Marco Ambrosini and Anna Maria Friman – and much more!”

Norwegian Organ Festival: On a mission to promote organ music - Scan Magazine

The Scott Brothers Duo at Stavanger Concert Hall in 2019.

This year, the second edition of the Nordic Organ Competition will take place during the festival, an exciting initiative where the winner gets the chance to perform several recitals in 2021, arranged by the festival and its partners. It is open to citizens from the five Nordic countries, or persons who have lived in these countries for two years or more, and who are born after 1 January 1987. “It is a great way to help promote young musicians, but also to create visibility for organ music and a network between the Nordic countries, as well as to showcase the festival, of course,” says Både.

Norwegian Organ Festival: On a mission to promote organ music - Scan Magazine

From the performance Dare You Play, Christine in 2019. Photo: Tore Edland.

Nordic Organ Competition 2020

First prize: 30,000 NOK (around 2,500 GBP) and 2021 recital opportunities
Second prize: 15,000 NOK
Third prize: 10,000 NOK
Audience prize: 5,000 NOK

Application deadline: 1 April 2020

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Instagram: @norskorgelfestival

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