High Standard Means Top Prize in Organ Competition Unclaimed

This years inaugural CSU Jordan International Organ Competition lived up to the high standard signified by its $30,000 first prize the richest of its kind.

That prize the Jordan Prize went unclaimed. Meanwhile, a $15,000 second-place prize went to Dordt College (Iowa) organ professor Robert Horton who topped the field of five semifinalists and performed the Nov. 13 Winners Recital in the RiverCenters Legacy Hall.

The competitions distinguished jury declined to award the Jordan Prize, stating that none of the contestants played up to the very high standards required to win this award, said CSU professor Joseph Golden, director of the competition.

The jury, added Golden, represented the worlds most prestigious organists: James David Christie, professor of organ at the Oberlin Conservatory (Ohio) and organist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Stefan Engels, professor of organ at the Hochschule fr Musik and Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Leipzig, Germany; and Marie-Claire Alain, of Paris, France, who is among the worlds leading organ recitalists and instructors.

Golden said the decision to withhold the Jordan Prize is fairly common for Europe more so than in the United States if the jury believes the contestants did not play up to the requirements needed for the grand prize. For example, Denmarks Odense International Organ Competition, held every two years, has not yielded a winner in two of its last three competitions.

Golden said the outcome at CSU appears to have affirmed the competitions credibility with interested observers from Europe.

Already Ive heard from individuals at the Moscow Music Conservatory and other parts of Europe who are impressed by the standards reflected by the results A young organist in Romania said the outcome has further inspired her to enter the next competition.

CSUs Jordan Organ International will return in 2009. For more information, visit http://jic.colstate.edu.