International Organ Competition Promises to Dazzle - World premiere event unveils a stellar programme honouring The King of Instruments

    MONTREAL, Sept. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - As autumn begins so will the Canadian
International Organ Competition (CIOC), which will take place between October
8 and 19, 2008. Not only is this Montreal's first major international organ
competition, but also promises to be one of the largest and most prestigious
in the world. "This international competition will give audiences the
opportunity to enjoy world-class performances by young organists who will give
enthusiasts of organ music moments of pure delight," said Her Excellency the
Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada and Honorary
President of the CIOC, in a message sent to the organisers. The Competition
reveals a stellar programme providing spectators with a unique sound and
visual experience.

    A prestigious international competition

    As the only international organ competition in the Americas in 2008, the
CIOC will welcome 15 brilliant young organists from 11 countries to Montreal,
the cradle of the organ. "Today is a celebration of teamwork and its
successful outcome. Unveiling our programme is the fruit of this labour and
marks a very important step for Montreal, as it reaffirms the city's status as
a North American organ capital," declared Noel Spinelli, Chairman of the
CIOC's Board of Directors.

    A Unique Spectator Experience

    Enhanced by large screens, as well as the innate surround sound quality
of the organ, the CIOC will provide the public with a unique concert
experience. Spectators will enjoy free admission to the Competition, in which
they will see and hear the talents of 15 world-class organists demonstrating
their mastery of what Mozart once called 'The King of Instruments'. "With the
combination of visual and natural surround sound settings and free admission,
we offer the audience a feast for the senses," said René Fréchette, Executive
Director of the CIOC. Radio-Canada and CBC will contribute to the experience
as the Competition's broadcasters, both on the Radio and the Web.

    Organ 'à-la-carte'

    The Competition itself is comprised of three rounds running from
October 8 to 17. The First Round will take place at Eglise
Immaculée-Conception on the famous Beckerath organ between October 8 and 10.
The Second Round will be held at Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste on the Casavant
organ on October 13 and 14. And the Final Round will take place at Basilique
Notre-Dame on October 17 on a Casavant organ as well.
    In addition to its competitive rounds, the CIOC offers a programme
featuring special concerts, recitals by jury members, master classes and
guided tours. These activities will enable the public to learn about the
artists, the organs, as well as experience Montreal's rich architectural
    Prior to the First Round of the Competition, an Opening Gala Concert,
held in collaboration with the Festival Orgue et couleurs will take place on
Sunday, October 5 at 7:30 PM at the Church of St. Andrew & St. Paul. American
organist and jury member James Higdon, is the soloist, while Jacques Lacombe
will conduct the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières. Finally, a Closing
Gala Concert featuring an Awards Ceremony and recitals by the top three
prizewinners will be held on Sunday, October 19 at 7:30 PM at Eglise

    Largest Monetary Prize

    A world-renowned jury will present the largest total prize money of any
major organ competition in the world. Thanks to the contributions of the
Competition's partners, a total of $72,000 in prize money will be awarded. A
generous award from the Dane and Polly Bales Foundation brings the first prize
to $30,000. The audience will determine the recipient of the Richard Bradshaw
Audience prize of $5,000 among the five competitors performing at the Finals
on October 17. "This award is in honour of our friend and colleague, the late
Richard Bradshaw, a great supporter of the Competition," expressed John Grew,
the CIOC's Artistic Director. The public will be able to submit their vote on
site during the Finals or on the CIOC's Website ( until noon on
Sunday, October 19.

    Partners and visionaries

    It is thanks to the generous efforts and commitment of the members of the
Competition's Board of Directors that important financial assistance has been
obtained. With the support of the pipe organ world, private sponsors, donors,
and founding partners, namely RBC, Team Spinelli, Cantos Music Foundation, Sun
Life Financial and Hydro Québec, the CIOC will play a leading role in
promoting organ music through the talent of young organists, who are able to
bring out the spectacular, and often unknown, nature of these instruments. The
event is also being bolstered by the support of the three Quebec Ministries
namely Municipal and Regional Affairs, Tourism and Culture, Communications and
the Status of Women, as well as the City of Montreal and many valuable
partners. Greatly encouraged by all this support, CIOC will ensure the success
of this first edition of the Competition and guarantee its continuance.

    About CIOC

    The Canadian International Organ Competition (CIOC) welcomes young
organists to Montreal from around the world. Each year, the organisation works
to promote the organ as a major instrument in the world of music, and also
contributes to the development of organ music through the talent of young
organists. The Competition, by showcasing these impressive instruments in
their historically beautiful settings, plays an important role in emphasizing
the value of our heritage, and recognising Montreal as a major North American
centre for pipe organ music. For additional information on the CIOC, visit

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For further information:

For further information: Dina Barghout, Canadian International Organ
Competition, (514) 233-3510; Roch Landriault, NATIONAL Public Relations, (514)

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