Ball State University will host the second Sursa American Organ Competition from September 6-9, 2017 in partnership with the Moscow Conservatory's V International A. F. Goedicke Organ Competition. The Ball State competition is restricted to residents of North and South America. Organists from these two continents who wish to advance to the Moscow Conservatory competition must enter the Ball State competition and place as one of the top two winners. Ball State's partnership with the Moscow Conservatory was established to offer additional support for North and South American organists wishing to participate in the Moscow competition.

The Moscow Competition, to be held in September 2018, is comprised of two rounds plus a final round with orchestra on the famous Cavaillé-Coll organ in Grand Hall (which will be restored). The Ball State competition is comprised of a preliminary round, semi-final round, and final round on the Goulding & Wood organ in Sursa Performance Hall (all performances will be broadcast live on streaming). 

The Ball State competition is open to organists of any nationality residing in North or South America born after January 1, 1981. Both competitions will exercise an extremely safe voting system that ensures fairness and integrity.

2016 Competition Results

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

We are very pleased to announce that Nicole Simental, one of the first prize winners of the Sursa American Organ Competition, was named the winner of the IV International A. F. Goedicke Organ Competition in Moscow, Russia!

The application deadline is June 15, 2017. Results of the preliminary recorded round will be known on or around June 29th. Any selected candidates who decide not to take part in the competition must inform the competition administration by Monday, July 3rd, 2017 or future applications will be dismissed. Applicants who advance to the second round should plan to arrive at Ball State University no later than Wednesday, September 6, 2017; arrival by competitors a couple days before the competition is essential to allow for practice time scheduling on the Sursa organ.  

Applicants will be required to check in and register on Wednesday, September 6, 2017. Failure to register may result in disqualification from the competition. The semi-final round will be on Thursday September 7, and the final round will be held on Saturday, September 9. The final round will be held in two parts; a 30-minute program in the morning and a 30-minute program in the evening as part of the Gala Concert.

The following prizes may be awarded:

First Prize—$3,500 plus the right to advance to the second round of the V International A. F. Goedicke Organ Competition in Moscow (the third round is the finals). The Moscow Conservatory will provide visa support, and free accommodations and meals.

Second Prize—$1,500 plus the right to advance to the second round of the V International A. F. Goedicke Organ Competition in Moscow (the third round is the finals). The Moscow Conservatory will provide visa support, and free accommodations and meals. 

Audience Prize—$500; audience members will vote for their favorite organist in the final round of the competition.

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Note

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

The winner of the Moscow competition will perform concerts at the Moscow Conservatory's Small Hall, Omsk Philharmonic Hall, Perm Philharmonic Hall, Tauris Chapel (St. Petersburg), and Academic Capella (St. Petersburg).

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. Shuttle times will be mailed to each candidate.

Practice times will be determined by the competition administration and will not be altered unless reasonable notice is given and special arrangements can be made. In the days leading up to the competition, competitors will be assigned practice time on the Goulding & Wood organ in Sursa Performance Hall as well as at surrounding churches.

The Preliminary Recorded Round will be judged anonymously by:

  • Dr. Michael Messina (Director of Music Trinity Episcopal Church, Indianapolis, IN): BMus St. Olaf College, MM and DMA Eastman School of Music
  • Dr. Kirby Koriath (Professor Emeritus School of Music, Ball State University): DMA Eastman School of Music
  • Prof. Raúl Prieto Ramírez (International Concert Artist, Instructor of Organ at Ball State University, Artistic Director Organ Festival Barcelona): Solistenklasse Stuttgart Musikhochschule

The Semi-final and Final Rounds will be judged by:

David Higgs (Eastman School of Music)

Headshot of David Higgs

Huw Lewis (Hope College)

Headshot of Huw Lewis

Cherry Rhodes (University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music)

Headshot of Cherry Rhodes

Raul Prieto Ramirez (Ball State University)

Headshot of Raul Prieto Ramirez

Preliminary Round

Recording Submission

  1. A first or last movement from one of Bach's trio sonatas BWV 525-530.
  2. 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

  1. Choose between: J. S. Bach - One of the following Trio Sonatas - BWV 525-530 for organ
  2. 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)  
  3. Choose between: one of Mendelssohn's 6 Sonatas, Op.65
  4. Free choice of a piece written after 1925 of 10 minutes maximum and 4 minutes minimum  

Final Round

3 candidates, 1-hour program, 30 minutes to be performed in the morning, 30 minutes to be performed in the Final Gala concert

  1. Choose between: Bach - one prelude and fugue (except 533) or toccata and fugue or Passacaglia
  2. 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)
  3. Time to be completed with free program including one Franck organ piece (no harmonium pieces accepted)

Applicants must download, fill out, and submit the Application Form (PDF).

Applicants will not be considered until the application fee of $95 is satisfied. The application fee is non-refundable and must be paid online.

How to Submit Materials

All application materials, including the preliminary round recording, must arrive on or before June 15.

Please send your application to:  

Ball State University-Sursa American Organ Competition
School of Music
Hargreaves Music Building (MU) 203
Muncie, IN 47306

The first 60 entries to arrive before June 15th and that meet all of the requirements specified above, will be accepted as entries in the 2017 competition.

Please configure any ‘Spam’ or ‘Junk mail’ filters on your computer to allow you to receive emails from sursaorgancompetition@gmail.com. The candidates who are selected at the end of this round will be invited to continue in the competition. Any selected candidates who decide not to take part in the competition must inform the competition administration (sursaorgancompetition@gmail.com) before July 3, 2017 or future applications will be dismissed.

Candidates should submit their recording as a CD-R, SD Card or memory stick. Encoding using WAV, Apple Lossless or High Quality MP3 is acceptable.

Each piece must be played in a continuous performance and must not be cut or edited. Any editing of the performance of a piece is forbidden and will disqualify the candidate. However, dividing the recording into tracks separating the pieces and movements is allowed and helpful.

Recordings must be made using a pipe organ. Different instruments may be used for each piece if preferred. Candidates must include a memo describing the stoplist of the instrument(s) on which the recording was made, but without indication of its location(s).

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.   

The recording must contain no spoken word or other acoustic marks. No name is to appear on the CD, SD card or memory stick.  Candidates must include a declaration under oath that the candidate is really the interpreter of the recorded pieces. The recording must be placed in a blank (no name or any other reference-sign) envelope.