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2019 Conditions of Entry

1. Eligibility

The competitions are open to organists of all nationalities born after 20th July 1986.

2. Website and Information for Applicants

The St Albans International Organ Festival has a website at, this website is referred to in the following paragraphs.

All information concerning the competitions will be found on the Competitions section of this website. Applicants should refer to the website regularly to check for any

News for Competitors.

3. Applications and Closing Date

Applications should be made on-line through the website. Full instructions will be found on the How to Apply page.

Your application must be received by 22nd March 2019 together with:

    ● your recording for the Preliminary Recorded Round (see 5 below)

    ● a Letter of Recommendation from your teacher or other professional musician

    ● payment of the appropriate fee (see 4 below)

Your application will be acknowledged by email.

If for any reason you are unable to make an on-line application, please contact the Competitions  Secretary (see 7 below).

4. Application Fee

The Application Fee is non-refundable, and the relevant amount is as follows:

Interpretation Competition     £55

Improvisation Competition     £55

Both competitions                £100

Payment should preferably be made:

(i) using a credit or debit card and the on-line facility as part of the application process.

Alternatively, a bank transfer may be made to:

    Payee: International Organ Festival Society Limited

    IBAN: GB87 BARC 2074 0990 5125 16


(ii) or a cheque, bank draft or international money order should be sent to the Competitions Secretary, made payable to:

    IOFS, Barclays Bank plc,

    Sort Code: 20-74-09, A/c No: 90512516

Please ensure if using a bank transfer, that your own name is included as a reference.

5. Preliminary Recorded Round

You should submit your recordings by uploading them to a file server. Full details will be found on the How to Apply page.

Each piece must be played in a continuous performance and must not be cut or edited; however  each piece should be a separate file. Your recording must be made using a pipe organ. Different instruments may be used for each piece. A statement witnessing your performance must be provided, signed by a professional musician.

Please remember that the judges will decide whether you will be invited to take part in the competition rounds at St Albans on the strength of your recorded performance alone. It is in your interest to ensure that it is of the highest technical quality, and essential advice is given on Advice on Recording page.

6. Notification

You will be advised if you have been selected to proceed to the Quarter-Final rounds in

St Albans by 12th April 2019.

7. Correspondence

The Competitions Secretary may be contacted at

Ensure that you configure any ‘Spam’ or ‘Junkmail’ filters on your computer to allow you to receive emails containing the word ‘organ’ and which are from

8. Arrival and Registration in St Albans

For Interpretation Competitors, sessions of preliminary practice on the Quarter-Final organs will be scheduled to start on the evening of Friday 5th July, and continue on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th.  To allow rest after travelling before practice you should plan to arrive on Friday 5th July 2019.

A formal registration and briefing will take place in St Albans on Sunday, 7th July, 2019 at midday, when lots will be drawn for the Quarter Final playing order.  Failure to attend may result in disqualification from the competition.

Improvisation Competitors should also plan to arrive in time for the Registration, but as practice sessions will not commence until Monday 8th, a later arrival time may be possible by agreement.

9. Practice time

Practice times and facilities will be allocated by the Competitions Secretary and cannot be altered unless reasonable notice is given and special arrangements can be made. In the days leading up to Registration and the Competitions, practice time of 1½ hours for Interpretation candidates, and 1 hour for Improvisation candidates, is given on each of the three competition organs in St Albans. This includes time on the Mander organ which is only used for the semi-final round; practice time on this instrument is given to all quarter-finalists, so that those who progress to the semi-final round have had an early opportunity to consider their registrations on this instrument.

At least 1 hour's practice time on the organ at Christ Church, Spitalfields (in London) will be given to those Interpretation candidates who progress to the Semi-Final round.

For semi-finalists an additional session of 1 hour will be allocated for rehearsal with the Trumpeter.

Interpretation Finalists will be allocated private practice time on the chamber organ to be used for the Concerto Final, in addition to a rehearsal with the orchestra.

Further ‘warm-up’ practice time is given before each competition session as follows:

Interpretation:  Quarter-Final rounds     30 mins

                        Semi-Final rounds         30 mins

                        Final                             2 hours

Improvisation: All rounds                     30 mins

For any competitors who enter both competitions, every effort will be made to ensure that they do not have a practice session for the interpretation competition between a practice session and performance for the improvisation competition, and vice versa, but this cannot be guaranteed.

Other organs will be available in St Albans for practice.

10. Results

The jury will make their decisions based on your overall performance in all competition rounds. The Jury’s decisions are final. The Jury reserves the right to withhold the award of any prizes.

11. Prizegiving and Gala Concert

Prizegiving will take place after the judging of the Concerto Final round at St Albans Cathedral.  

Prize-winners will be expected to take part in a Gala Concert in St Albans on

14th September 2019

12. Registrants

Competitors are allowed the use of one registrant and you are encouraged to bring your own, although this person must not be one of your  past or present teachers. Any competitor unable to bring his/her own registrant may request one to be provided by the Competitions Secretary.

It is expected that you will require two registrants at Christ Church, Spitalfields.  The Competitions Secretary will provide you with a second registrant (if you have your own registrant) or two registrants.

13. Audience

All Competition rounds in St Albans are played in public. Video links will be installed which will allow both audience and jurors to see the performer.

14. Travel to St Albans from overseas

The IOF will consider requests for help towards the cost of travel, to and from the UK, for overseas competitors who would otherwise be unable to enter the competition. If you need help, you should email the Competitions Secretary explaining your position. All relevant information must be given which should include estimated cost of travel, evidence of being a full or part-time student, and details of any paid employment.

No consideration will be given if the request is not made before the closing date for applications – 22nd March 2019.

15. Admission to events

Competitors and their partners or registrants are admitted free to all competition and festival events subject to seats being available.

16. Accommodation

Accommodation is provided for all competitors, and any registrant, free of charge in private houses on a bed and breakfast basis. All competitors are encouraged to stay for the whole of the Festival. Vouchers towards the cost of meals for competitors and their registrants will be provided.

17. Feedback

All candidates will be given the opportunity to discuss their performances with the jury, after they have completed performing in the competition.

18. Recording/Broadcast

The Competition rounds and the Gala Concert, in whole or in part, may be recorded or broadcast on radio, television or the internet. In these circumstances, the performers will be unable to claim any fees and will have no further rights.

19. Commissioned Work

It is strictly forbidden for any competitor to play in public the Commissioned Work by Matthew Martin, or allow others to do so using the copy supplied for the sole use of the competitor, before the IOF Competition round begins.

Any breach of this rule will disqualify the candidate from the competition.

20. Prize Recitals

The dates and terms & conditions of the recital engagements offered to prize-winners are negotiated between the prize-winner and the host venues. The International Organ Festival Society cannot act as agent, nor assume any responsibility in respect of these engagements, although every assistance will be given to facilitate them.

2019 Conditions of Entry