Longwood Gardens Announces Competitors for International Organ Competition

February 14, 2019

KENNETT SQUARE, PA– Longwood Gardens today announced the 10 talented organists who will compete in the 2019 Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition. Hailing from New Zealand to New York, the international performers will compete on the 10,010-pipe Longwood Organ for the $40,000 Pierre S. du Pont first prize. All competitors will participate in the preliminary rounds June 18-19, with the top five competitors competing in the final round on June 22. The competition takes place in the magnificent Ballroom at Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tickets are available now at longwoodgardens.org.

“We are pleased to have these 10 outstanding young organists competing in this years Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition,” said President and CEO Paul B. Redman. “They are truly among the finest young talents in the organ world today. We look forward to hearing them perform and to helping further their music careers.”

The 10 competitors were selected by an audition jury comprised of five esteemed members of the organ community that anonymously evaluated the audition recordings, which included entries from 10 countries. The top 10 were selected to compete in the competition. The competitors selected include:

Rashaan Allwood, 24, Canada
A pianist, organist, and harpsichordist, Rashaan Allwood has played in a variety of settings, including performances with the Kent Nagano and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, and the University of Toronto’s Collegium Musicum. Allwood was the first prize winner of the Concours d'orgue de Québec in 2017 and of the Canadian National OSM Manulife competition in 2016 for the organ category. He is now one of the artists for Rice University.

Bryan Anderson, 26, US
Bryan Anderson enjoys a varied career as a concert organist and church musician. For several years, Anderson was an assistant organist at the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ. He performed at the OHS National Convention in 2014 and the AGO National Convention in 2012, and has been featured on APM’s Pipedreams. Bryan is employed as interim director of music of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church and School in Houston, TX. He recently held positions at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Houston, and Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England.

Tyler Boehmer, 27, Canada
In addition to recent solo performances at the Washington National Cathedral and the 2016 AGO National Convention in Houston, Tyler Boehmer has been active in many national and international competitions. Recent accolades include second prize in the 2018 Sydney International Organ Competition, third prize in the 2018 Poister Organ Competition, and the diploma prize in the 2017 Tariverdiev International Organ Competition. Boehmer attends the University of Kansas and works for Leavenworth First United Methodist Church.

Thomas Gaynor, 27, New Zealand
The first-place winner of a number of international competitions, including St Albans (2017), Erfurt/Weimar Bach-Liszt (2015), and Sydney (2015), Thomas Gaynor is a doctoral student in David Higgs’s studio at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he was recently awarded the highly coveted Artist’s Certificate—an honor the institution had not given an organist for three decades. Born in New Zealand, he began his organ studies at Wellington Cathedral. Currently, he is associate director of music at Christ Church in Pittsford, NY.

A. Nathaniel Gumbs, 30, US
A. Nathaniel Gumbs is currently a candidate for a doctorate of musical arts degree, studying with David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music. Recently, he was featured on the American Public Radio broadcasting Pipedreams Live and is the recipient of the Service Playing and Colleague Certificates from the American Guild of Organists. Gumbs has been recently appointed the director of Chapel Music at Yale University in New Haven, CT.

Sebastian Heindl, 21, Germany
Sebastian Heindl received his fundamental musical education as a chorister in St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig, and contributed as a youngster organist to the BBC TV documentary Bach: A Passionate Life with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the famous Trost organ in Altenburg. Heindl recorded his debut CD at age 17 at Magdeburg Cathedral. Heindl studies church music at the University of Music in Leipzig, and in 2017 won the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition.

Chase Loomer, 22, US
Chase Loomer is a first year master’s student at the Yale University Institute of Sacred
Music, where he studies organ with Martin Jean. A native of Charlotte, NC, Loomer’s accomplishments include first prize, 2018 Taylor Organ Competition; first prize, 2015 AGO/Quimby Southeast Regional Competition for Young Organists; and first prize, 2015 Sarasota-Manatee AGO Chapter Competition. He is currently the organist at the University Church in Yale.

Colin MacKnight, 25, US
Colin MacKnight is a third year C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at The Juilliard School, where he also completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and serves as Associate Organist/Choirmaster at Cathedral of the Incarnation on Long Island. MacKnight’s first prizes and scholarships include the 2017 West Chester University International Organ Competition, 2016 Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition, 2016 Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition, M. Louise Miller Scholarship from the Greater Bridgeport Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), the 2013 Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition, and the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship, as well as the Clarence Snyder Third Prize in the 2016 Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition.

Justin Maxey, 30, US
Justin Maxey holds a bachelor’s of music in organ performance with minors in piano and voice from Shorter College, a master’s of music in organ performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music, and an artist diploma in organ performance from Mercer University. Maxey was awarded first place in both the Atlanta Chapter (2009) and Rochester Chapter (2011) Quimby Competitions of the American Guild of Organists. He currently serves as assistant director of music & organist at Roswell Presbyterian Church.

Grant Wareham, 22, US
Grant Wareham is a recent graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. While at Rice, Grant served as Moseley Memorial Organ Scholar and assistant organist at St Thomas' Episcopal Church in Houston, and then as associate organist at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. Winner of both the First and Audience Prizes at the Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition in Hartford, CT in 2017, Grant is currently pursuing his master’s of music degree at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music and School of Music. He also serves as organ scholar at Christ Church in New Haven, CT.

About the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition
Launched in 2013, the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition is held every three years and is open to organists ages 18 to 30. In addition to receiving the $40,000 Pierre S. du Pont First Prize, the winner also receives a contract with Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, and a 2019-2020 performance at Longwood. Second place receives the Firmin Swinnen $15,000 prize, third place receives the Clarence Snyder $5,000 prize, and the Audience Choice Prize winner will receive $1,000. New this year is the AGO Philadelphia Chapter Prize of $1,000 recognizing outstanding performance of the judges’ choice piece.

A distinguished panel of experts will judge the competition including Peter Richard Conte, Grand Court Organist of the renowned Wanamaker Organ and Principal Organist at Longwood Gardens; Dr. Marnie Giesbrecht, Professor Emerita and University Organist at the University of Alberta and Adjunct Professor of Music at The King’s University, Edmonton as well as organ soloist and performer with Joachim Segger as Duo Majoya; Maggie Hamilton, Editor of Choir & Organ magazine and organist, choir director, and founder-director of Counterpoint, a world music partner project of Christian Aid; Thomas Heywood, the only professional concert organist in Australian history, and one of the world’s finest concert organists; Rossen Milanov, Music Director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Spain; Alan Morrison, Head of the Organ Department at the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music; and Todd Wilson, Head of the Organ Department at The Cleveland Institute of Music and Curator of the E.M. Skinner pipe organ at Severance Hall in Cleveland, OH. The Master of Ceremonies will be Haig Mardirosian, Dean Emeritus of the College of Arts and Letters, and Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Tampa.

The Longwood Organ is among the world’s largest concert organs, with 146 ranks and 10,010 pipes. After a seven-year restoration completed in 2011, the organ is restored to its original 1930 condition and incorporates today’s most innovative technology.

Limited tickets remain to see the competition and are available at www.longwoodgardens.org.

About Longwood Gardens
In 1906, industrialist Pierre du Pont (1870-1954) purchased a small farm near Kennett Square, PA, to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber. Today, Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s great horticultural displays, encompassing 1,083 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ and 4.5-acre conservatory. Longwood continues the mission set forth by Mr. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the performing arts. Longwood Gardens is on US Route 1 near Kennett Square, PA. For more information, visit www.longwoodgardens.org or call 610-388-1000.

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*Photos available upon request