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Conditions of Entry

1. Eligibility

The competitions are open to organists of all nationalities born after 22nd July 1984.


2. Website and Information for Applicants

The St Albans International Organ Festival has a website at www.organfestival.com, 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 24th March 2017 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 as follows may be paid in sterling, euros or US dollars:


Interpretation Competition     £50 $80 €70

Improvisation Competition     £50 $80 €70

Both competitions                  £90 $140 €120


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

    SWIFTBIC: BARCGB22


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


    IOFS, Barclays Bank plc,

    Sortcode: 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 on the website. Encoding using FLAC or Apple Lossless is preferred.  If using WAV files please ensure that they do not exceed 80Mbyte or they may be blocked by the server.  If MP3 is used please utilise a high bit-rate for high quality. You should keep a copy until receipt is acknowledged by the Competitions Secretary.


Each piece must be played in a continuous performance and must not be cut or edited; however dividing the recording into tracks separating the pieces and movements is allowed and helpful. Your recording must be made using a pipe organ. Different instruments may be used for each piece. A statement must be provided, signed by a professional musician who has witnessed your performances.


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 advice is given on Advice on Recording page on website.


6. Notification

You will be advised if you have been selected to proceed to the Quarter-Final rounds in St Albans by 13th April 2017.


7. Correspondence

Use of email is preferred, and the Competitions Secretary may be contacted at competitions@organfestival.com


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  competitions@organfestival.com


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 7th July, and continue on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th.  To allow rest after travelling before practice you should plan to arrive on Friday 7th July 2017.


Registration in St Albans will take place on Sunday, 9th July, 2017 at midday, when lots will be drawn for the Quarter Final playing order.  Failure to attend may result in disqualification from the competition.


Ideally Improvisation Competitors should also plan to arrive in time for the Registration, but as practice sessions will not commence until Monday 10th, 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 1hour'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 Trombonist.


Interpretation Finalists will have 2 hour's private practice time on the organ at St Johns Smith Square, in addition to a rehearsal with the orchestra for the concerto round.


Further ‘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 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.


Many other organs will be available in St Albans for practice.


10. Competitor Numbering

You will be assigned a Competitor Number which you will keep for all rounds of the Competition. This will allow the jury to make their decisions based on your overall performance in all competition rounds.


11. Results

The Jury’s decisions are final. The Jury reserves the right to withhold the award of any prizes.


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 - 24th March 2017.


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. Prizegiving and Gala Concert

Prizegiving will take place after the judging of the Concerto Final round at St Johns Smith Square.  


Prizewinners will be expected to take part in a Gala Concert in St Albans on

23rd September 2017.


18. Feedback

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


19. 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.


20. Commissioned Work

It is strictly forbidden for any competitor to play in public the Commissioned Work by Philip Moore, 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.


21. Income Tax

The International Organ Festival at St Albans is required by law to withhold UK income tax at the basic rate, currently 20%, from any prize or prizes in total in excess of £1,000 awarded to an overseas competitor. A tax deduction certificate will be provided. A repayment of some or all of the tax deducted may be obtained by submitting a UK Income Tax Return.


Full details are given in Inland Revenue Help Sheet IR303 and assistance is available from:


    HMRC Residency, Foreign Entertainers Unit,

    St John’s House, Merton Road, Liverpool L75 1BB UK

    Telephone: +44 151 472 6488


22. Prize Recitals

The dates and terms & conditions of the recital engagements offered to prizewinners are negotiated between the prizewinner 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.

Conditions of Entry