Internationally renowned Competitions will take place in July 2023

Significantly increased prize money

New commissioned work by Judith Weir CBE, Master of the Queen’s Music

Substantially redesigned Improvisation Competition

The 32nd St Albans International Organ Competition will take place in July 2023, celebrating 60 years since Peter Hurford presented the inaugural event in 1963.

Applications are now being accepted for both the Interpretation and the Improvisation Competitions. The deadline for applications is 17 March 2023.

The Interpretation Competition will include a new commissioned work by the celebrated British composer Judith Weir CBE, Master of the Queen’s Music.

The Improvisation Competition (Tournemire Prize) has been substantially redesigned for 2023 and will provide a fascinating test for creative and fast-thinking organists, including improvisation to silent film and free improvisation with flute on literary texts.

The finalists will perform on the revolutionary Harrison & Harrison organ in the Festival’s main venue of St Albans Cathedral. Further competition rounds will take place on the 2006 Mander organ in St Peter’s Church, St Albans; the exceptional 18th-century Richard Bridge organ in Christ Church, Spitalfields, London; and the 2013 Orgelbau Kuhn organ at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

The First Prize winner will be presented with £12,000 together with the Gold Medal and recital engagements. The winner of the Improvisation Tournemire Prize will receive £8,000 plus recital engagements. A Second Prize of £5,000, Peter Hurford Bach Prize of £1,000, Audience Prize of £1,000, and Douglas May Award of £800 will also be awarded.

The distinguished members of the 2023 Jury will be David Hill UK, Bine Bryndorf Denmark, Pieter van Dijk The Netherlands, Rie Hiroe Japan, Todd Wilson USA, Franz Danksagmüller Austria/Germany, and Jean-Baptiste Robin France.

The competition attracts talented young organists from around the world. It has a reputation as ‘the friendly festival’ and fosters a supportive community amongst all competitors, who are hosted by local families in their own homes.

The 32nd St Albans International Organ Competition and Festival, celebrating 60 years, will take place from 3 to 15 July 2023.

You can find details about the Competitions and how to apply on this website.