The Grand Organ Festival
returns this October
Discover world-renowned organists whose talents will shine a spotlight on some of the city’s finest organs
September 14, 2023
The Canadian International Organ Competition (CIOC) is thrilled to announce the highly anticipated Grand Organ Festival 2023, and welcome you to a festival brimming with exceptional programming that presents the organ like you’ve never heard it before with a collection of events for all ages and interests.
Over fifteen events are planned across Montreal
Between September 30th and October 29th, audiences will have the opportunity to discover world-renowned organists, both local and international, whose talents will shine a spotlight on some of the city’s finest organs and rich musical heritage.
A month-long celebration of the king of instruments
Over fifteen events are planned across Montreal, including recitals by critically acclaimed organists Nathan Laube, Philippe Lefebvre, Isabelle Demers, and Ken Cowan; a silent-film concert in collaboration with the Cinéclub Film Society; a screening of the CIOC’s 2023 concert-film Whispers: Music that Connects Us; a concert of choral and organ music with One Equall Musick vocal ensemble; and a weekly series of free concerts at Redpath Hall, a historic jewel in the heart of the city.
Shining a spotlight on Westmount’s musical heritage
The city of Westmount is playing host to two highlight events of this year’s festival: an organ recital by Nathan Laube and an organ and choir performance by One Equall Musick vocal ensemble and Joel Peters.
On October 22nd, renowned virtuoso organist Nathan Laube (professor of organ at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY) will perform a program of works by J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, Buxtehude, Bruhns, Byrd, and Hindemith.
‘Westmount is playing host to two highlight events of this year’s festival.’
The concert is presented in collaboration with St. Matthias’ Anglican Church on the occasion of their 150th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the Karl Wilhelm pipe organ. VIP tickets include reserved seating, as well as a post-concert vin d’honneur and artist meet-and-greet.
On October 24th, One Equall Musick will be presenting a program of choral works with organ, featuring music by Vicente Lusitano, Francis Poulenc, Joel Peters, and Komitas Vardapet’s magnificent setting of the Armenian Divine Liturgy.
While Vicente Lusitano (?–c. 1561), Francis Poulenc (1899–1963) and Komitas Vardapet (1869–1935) faced unique challenges and personal tragedies during their lives, their steadfast dedication to music drove them to great achievements, having left behind works which capture strong emotion, each in a unique musical language.
‘VIP tickets include reserved seating, as well as a post-concert vin d’honneur and artist meet-and-greet.’
Was their lifelong devotion to the expression of human emotion through sacred music simply circumstantial; or does their persistence in conveying their experiences and passions through music of spiritual intent reveal their belief in music as the passage to the divine? Join us at Ascension of our Lord Church to explore these questions through music!
Le festival des couleurs de l’orgue français
Since 2013, the CIOC’s Grand Organ Festival has co-presented the Festival des Couleurs de l’Orgue français, which presents organ concerts on Sunday afternoons in October. This year, we are proud to announce the 29th edition of the festival, which will includes performances by Marc D’Anjou (October 1), Adrian Ross (October 8), Yves-G. Préfontaine (October 15), and Emmanuel Arakélian (October 29). Concerts are free to attend and will be held at McGill University’s Redpath Hall.
About the Canadian International Organ Competition
The Canadian International Organ Competition (CIOC) is a world-renowned International Cultural Organization whose objective is to promote the beautiful art of organ music through competitions, festivals, concerts, educational activities, and monetary and professional support to emerging artists.
Every three years, the CIOC organizes an international competition in which a prestigious jury representing various countries awards more than $100,000 in prizes to a selection of the best young organists in the world. The next competition will take place in the fall of 2024, with applications currently open to competitors. Every year in October, the CIOC presents a major festival featuring performances by world-class concert organists and previous competition prize winners.
Seeking to actively participate in cultural life, the CIOC presents a program of year-round activities in collaboration with various arts organizations. These musical and educational activities are designed to highlight the cultural importance of pipe organs – treasures of our heritage – to a wide and diverse audience.
Grand Organ Festival 2023
September 30th to October 29th
Feature image: The CIOC Grand Organ Festival – Tam Photography