Special Announcement: March 7, 2022

The CIOC board of directors announced today that Executive Director Thomas Leslie will leave his position in July 2022. He has accepted a position to lead the Macdonald Stewart Foundation in support of its philanthropic mission.

Since joining the CIOC in 2012, Thomas has worked closely with CIOC co-founder John Grew and current artistic director Jean-Willy Kunz in expanding the scope and artistic impact of the organization. Strong partnerships with other arts organizations in Montreal have enabled the CIOC to become a leading concert presenter, recognized as one of the premier organ competitions in the world.

Thomas launched the first annual festival in 2012, and in 2013 created the ‘Orgue et son lieu’ national concert series, bringing CIOC prizewinners to perform in communities across Canada. A constant innovator and never one to shy away from a challenge, Thomas ensured that the CIOC survived and thrived during the pandemic by conceiving our Bach-Mobile for outdoor performances and rapidly developing our capacity as a first-rate digital content producer.

Thomas leaves the CIOC in a strong financial position, having thoroughly diversified funding sources, and achieved significant increases in both public funding and earned revenues.

“It has been a great pleasure to work with Thomas. No matter what challenges came our way, Thomas found solutions and that was certainly the case in the last two years with the pandemic causing us to postpone our 2020 competition until 2021. He led a bright, hardworking and creative team and I thank him for all he has done for the CIOC and the organ world overall.” – Jean-Willy Kunz, Artistic Director

“Thanks to Thomas, the CIOC has a bright and exciting future, and we thank him for all his contributions which extend to every aspect of our organization”, says Board Chair Pierre Goulet. “The Board of Directors has put a Search Committee in place and is actively seeking a new Executive Director”.

Journalist Scott Cantrell of The American Organist magazine offers succinct praise for the CIOC team that Thomas has led for the past decade: “… bravi to all who produced such an elaborately organized competition—and festival—in so challenging a time.”