2021 First-Prize Winner: Aaron Tan
Concert organist Aaron Tan is a leading young artist in North America. In October 2021 he was awarded First Prize at the 2021 Canadian International Organ Competition as well as several additional awards for performances of specific works at the competition (The Sir Ernest MacMillan Award for Canadian competitors, the award for best performance of a work by Marcel Dupré, and best performance of a work by a Canadian composer). Originally from the Philippines and Canada, he is an organist and pianist who enjoys multi-faceted careers as a musician and a materials scientist.
Aaron’s primary musical tutelage has been with John Tuttle, David Palmer, Joel Hastings, Martin Jean, and David Higgs. His musical upbringing started on the piano and later added the violin and organ. He received his Associate (ARCT) diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada at the age of twelve and went on to earn his Licentiate (LTCL) and Fellowship (FTCL) diplomas in Piano Performance from Trinity College of Music, London, England, at 13 and 15 years of age, respectively. When he was 18, he also completed his ARCT diploma in violin performance.
In 2004, under the auspices of the Barwell Scholarship (awarded to pianists interested in learning the organ), he began organ studies with John Tuttle while concurrently entering as a freshman in Engineering Science at the University of Toronto. Since then, he has gone on to complete both Associate (ARCCO) and Fellowship (FRCCO) diplomas in organ from the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO). In addition, he has also won numerous noteworthy competitions and scholarships including First Prize at the American Guild of Organists 2018 National Young Artist Competition in Organ Performance, the Toronto RCCO Young Organists Competition, the Osborne Organ Competition of the Summer Institute of Church Music (Ontario), the RCCO’s National Organ Playing Competition, the Charlotte Hoyt Bagnall Scholarship for Church Musicians, the Lilian Forsyth Scholarship, the 2012 Poland International Piano Festival Competition, the West Chester University Organ Competition, the Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition, and the Sursa American Organ Competition.
Having recently received both MM and MMA degrees in organ from Yale University, Aaron is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester New York. Aaron also holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan and worked there as a postdoctoral researcher in the University’s Laboratory for Complex Materials and Thin Films Research, studying the dielectric and thermal properties of polymer thin films.
Aaron has served as Organ Scholar at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, Michigan, Artist in Residence at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit, Assistant Organist at Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Organ Scholar at the Church of the Resurrection, New York City, and currently serves as Director of Music at St. Alban’s Catholic Church in Rochester New York.
More information about Aaron’s musical interests and activities can be found at www.AaronTan.org.
Ben Bloor received his music degree with First Class Honours from Oxford, and is currently the organist of the London Oratory Church.
- First Prize, Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (2012)
- Second Prize, Boston Bach International Organ Competition (2018)
- Prize-winning fellow of the Royal College of Organists (2013)
Bryan Anderson completed his Master’s in organ performance at Rice University in 2018, studying with Ken Cowan. He is currently Director of Music at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Houston, TX.
- 2nd Prize, Winner of the Firmin Swinnen at the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition (2019)
Tyler Boehmer is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Kansas, and is the Director of Music at Leavenworth First United Methodist Church. He has future plans to become a university professor.
- 1st Prize, Miami International Organ Competition (2019)
- 2nd Prize, Sydney International Organ Competition (2018)
- 3rd Prize, Shanghai International Organ Competition (2019)
- Diploma prize at the Tariverdiev International Organ Competition (2017)
Hyeyeon Ahn received her master’s degree from the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart, where she is now pursuing her Konzertexamen under professor Helmut Deutsch. She is the organist at the Schlosskapelle Solitude in Stuttgart.
- First Prize, Kukmin-Yonungsan Organ Competition (2016)
Hina Ikawa holds a master’s degree from the Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse, and completed her Konzertexamen at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg.
- 1st Prize, Cavaille-Coll International Organ Competition (2016)
- 1st Audience Prize, Cavaille-Coll International Organ Competition (2016)
- Audience Prize, Jean-Louis Florentz International Organ Competition (2016)
- Contemporary Prize at the Gaston Litaize International Organ Competition (2017)
Jeremy Jelinek studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, under Olivier Latry, Michel Bouvard, and Thierry Escaich. He is Principal Organist at St. Dominic Church and Assistant Organist at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.
- 1st Prize, RCYO Quimby Mid-Atlantic Region Competition (2015)
- 1st Prize, Carol Teti Memorial Organ Competition (2013)
Anastasia Stahl studied music at a variety of institutions, most recently the Basel Academy of Music in Switzerland. She performs regularly as a soloist, accompanist, and chamber musician throughout Europe.
- 1st Prize, International Organ Competition in Dudelange (2019)
- 2nd Prize, Shanghai International Organ Competition (2019)
- 3rd Prize, Petr Eben Organ Competition (2018)
Jocelyn Lafond is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Organ Performance from McGill University. He is the Titular Organist at the Cathedral in his hometown, Saint-Hyacinthe.
- 1st Prize, Lynwood Farnam Organ Competition (2013)
- 2nd Prize, Royal Canadian College of Organists National Competition (2019)
Alex Little is a doctoral student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, studying with David Higgs. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Merton College, Oxford, where he was organ scholar then assistant organist. He is currently assistant organist at Christ Church Episcopal, Rochester.
- 3rd Prize, Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (2018)
- Bach Prize at the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (2018)
Andrew Morris is pursuing a Masters in Organ Performance under James Higdon at the University of Kansas. He is the organist at the Country Club Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri.
- 3rd Prize, Tariverdiev International Organ Competition (2019)
Seona Mun is pursuing a Master of Music degree at the Detmold Hochschule für Musik in Germany, under Prof. Dr. Martin Sander.
- 1st Prize, Second Organ Competition of The Korean Association of Organists (2012)
- 1st Prize, Fourth Kikmin Ilbo & Youngsan Art Hall Organ Competition (2011)
Justin Murphy-Mancini is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, and holds a Ph.D. in Composition from UC San Diego. He is the Director of Music for the First Religious Society, Unitarian Universalist, in Newburyport Massachusetts.
- 2nd Prize, Arthur Poister Organ Competition (2011)
Tom Rioult is co-titular organist at the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre in Lisieux, where he also teaches organ at the conservatory.
- 1st Prize, Kurt Bossler International Organ Competition (2016)
- 2nd Prize, St. Alban’s International Organ Competition (2017)
- 2nd Prize, Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (2017)
Brandon Santini is the Director of Music at the Parish of St. Theresa of Avila in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, and is on the piano faculty at the South Short Conservatory in Hingham, MA. He currently studies with Christian Lane.
- 2nd Prize, Boston Chapter AGO Organ Competition (2007)
- 3rd Prize, Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival (2010)
Zhen Piao is a third-year DMA student at the Eastman School of Music, studying under William Porter. He enjoys working with and promoting new music for the organ.
- 1st Prize, Lynwood Farnam Organ Competition (2019)
- 2nd Prize, Shanghai International Organ Competition (2017)