Ball State University will host the third Sursa American Organ Competition in September, 2019. The competition has undergone some changes and we are excited to announce the addition of a High School Division.

Additionally, the competition is partnering with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra whereby the first prize winner of the Pre-Professional Division will be awarded $2,000 plus a solo appearance with the orchestra.

The Pre-Professional Division and High School Division participants will perform on the Goulding & Wood organ in Sursa Performance Hall and all performances will be live-streamed. Detailed information about each division can be found in the tabs below.

Jury

The High School and Pre-Professional Divisions will be judged by the jury members listed below.

The Preliminary Recorded Round will be judged anonymously by:

  • Stephen Price, lecturer of teaching (organ) at Ball State University
  • Yevgeniya Jaynes, former organ instructor at Brigham Young University and Indiana University
  • Kirby Koriath, professor emeritus of organ at Ball State University

The Live Rounds will be judged by:

  • Wilma Jensen, retired organ faculty member at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music
  • James Kibbie, professor and chair of organ and University organist at University of Michigan
  • Mark Herris, director of music at Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg, IN

Travel and Accommodations

The Ball State University - Sursa American Organ Competition offers limited free accommodations in private homes in Muncie on a first-come, first-served basis. Other accommodations include a wide range of hotels on and off campus, including the Ball State University Hotel.

Ball State will offer complimentary round-trip airport shuttle service from the Indianapolis International Airport, approximately 75 miles southwest of Muncie, to the campus. 
Pre-Professional Division

Application Deadline: July 15, 2019

Results of the preliminary recorded round will be known on or around August 2, 2019. Any selected candidates who decide not to take part in the competition must e-mail sursaorgan@bsu.edu by Friday, August 9 or future applications will be dismissed.

Check-In*

Wednesday, September 4 in the Mueller Lobby, Time TBA

Practice Sessions

Practice sessions on the Sursa Hall organ will be scheduled on September 4, 5, and 7.

Pre-Professional Division Semi-Finals

Friday, September 6 in Sursa Hall, Time TBA

Pre-Professional Division Final Round

Sunday, September 8, 2019 in Sursa Hall, Time TBA

*Applicants will be required to check-in and register on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. Failure to register may result in disqualification from the competition.

Preliminary Round

Video Recording Submission

A. A first or last movement from one of Bach's trio sonatas BWV 525-530.
B. A first or last movement from any Symphony by Louis Vierne or Widor (except the final from Symphony 5), or one of Mendelssohn's Sonatas, or one of Brahms' Prelude and Fugues.

Semi-final Round

6 candidates, 45-minute programs, 10-minute warm up times before each group of two or three candidates

A. Choose between: J. S. Bach - One of the following Trio Sonatas - BWV 525-530 for organ
B. Choose between: Clerambault Fugue (suite 1) or Recit (suite 1) or Plein Jeu (suite 2) or any toccata from Frescobaldi's "Il Secondo Libro Di Toccate..." except N. 3 and 4 or Froberger Toccata 1 FbWV 101, Toccata 2 FbWV 102, Toccata 3 FbWV 103 from his Libro Secondo (1649)
C. Choose between: one of Mendelssohn's 6 Sonatas, Op.65
D. Free choice of a piece written after 1925 of 10 minutes maximum and 4 minutes minimum

Final Round

3 candidates, 1-hour program

A. Choose between: Bach - one prelude and fugue (except 533) or toccata and fugue or Passacaglia
B. Choose between: G. Boehm - Prelude d moll or Buxtehude - Prelude BuxWV136, 139, 140, 141, 142, 146, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153 or Lubeck - Prelude g moll (double pedal) or Bruhns - Prelude in e minor (big one)
C. Time to be completed with free program including one Franck organ piece (no harmonium pieces accepted)
The following prizes may be awarded:

First Prize—$2,000 plus a solo appearance with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra in April, 2020

Second Prize—$1,000

Third Prize—$500

Audience Prize—$200; audience members will vote for their favorite organist in the final round of the competition.

Eligibility

Applicants who reside in North or South America and are born after January 1, 1983 are eligible to enter the competition.

How to Apply

Applicants must fill out and submit the online application form. Pre-professional applicants will be required to provide links to YouTube or Vimeo video recordings of the required preliminary round repertoire. All video footage should be unaltered and the applicant must appear in profile. The recording must contain no spoken word or other acoustic marks. The judges will decide whether each applicant is invited to take part in the live competition rounds at Sursa Performance Hall on the strength of the recorded performance alone. It is in each applicant's interest to ensure that the recording is of the highest technical quality. Should you have any questions about the video link submissions, please email us at sursaorgan@bsu.edu.

Additionally, a $95 application fee must be paid in order to complete the application.

Please configure any ‘Spam’ or ‘Junk mail’ filters on your computer to allow you to receive emails from sursaorgan@bsu.edu. Six competitors from the preliminary round will be invited to advance to the semi-final round.

Apply Now

Application Deadline: July 15, 2019

Results of the preliminary recorded round will be known on or around August 2, 2019. Any selected candidates who decide not to take part in the competition must e-mail sursaorgan@bsu.edu by Friday, August 9 or future applications will be dismissed.

Check-In*

Saturday, September 7, 2019 in the Mueller Lobby, Time TBA

High School Division Final Round

Sunday, September 8, 2019 in Sursa Hall, Time TBA

*Applicants will be required to check-in and register on Saturday, September 7, 2019. Failure to register may result in disqualification from the competition.

Preliminary Round

Video Submission

  1. A recording of a prelude "Little" attributed to J. S. Bach - BWV 553-560 (Not Fugue)

Final Round

3 high school competitors will be invited to Ball State for the final round.

  1. Choose between: one prelude "Little" attributed to J. S. Bach - BWV 553-560 (Not Fugue). This can be the same prelude from the video recording.
  2. Free Choice not exceeding 10 minutes.

The following prizes may be awarded:

First Prize—$500 plus a solo performance with a Ball State ensemble

Second Prize—$250

Third Prize—$100

Audience Prize—$100; audience members will vote for their favorite organist in the final round of the competition.

Note Icon

Note

The jury has the right to decide whether prizes are awarded.

Eligibility

Students who are in high school or will be entering high school in the Fall of 2019 are eligible to compete. High school students who are graduating this spring are not eligible to compete.

How to Apply

Applicants must fill out and submit the online application form. High School applicants should select the "High School Division" application and will be required to provide a link to a YouTube or Vimeo video recording of the required preliminary round repertoire. A $25 application fee must be paid in order to complete the application.

All video footage should be unaltered and the applicant must appear in profile. The recording must contain no spoken word or other acoustic marks. The judges will decide whether each applicant is invited to take part in the live final round at Sursa Performance Hall on the strength of the recorded performance alone. It is in each applicant's interest to ensure that the recording is of the highest technical quality. Should you have any questions about the video link submissions, please email us at sursaorgan@bsu.edu.

Please configure any ‘Spam’ or ‘Junk mail’ filters on your computer to allow you to receive emails from sursaorgan@bsu.edu. Three competitors from the preliminary round will be invited to advance to the final live round.

Past Competition Winners

First Prize (tied): Brian Glikes and Nicole Simental
Audience Prize: Brenda Portman

Nicole Simental, first prize winner of the Sursa American Organ Competition, was named the winner of the IV International A. F. Goedicke Organ Competition in Moscow, Russia.
First Prize: Aaron Tan
Second Prize (tied): Wesley Hall and Hansol Kim
Audience Prize: Aaron Tan