About the Osborne Organ Competition

All Saints Anglican Church – Whitby

The Osborne Organ Competition is held every two years in even years in support of advanced study in organ or church music by young Canadian organists. The following information is provided to give a general idea of the competition as it changes somewhat each time the competition is held. The details are finalized in January of the competition year.


Applicants must be Canadian citizens under the age of 30 on January 1st of the competition year and must never have received first prize in any previous Osborne Organ Competition.

Entrance Round (Recorded)

All application materials for the Osborne Competition listed below are due on April 15th of competition year. The address to which the materials are to be sent is specified on the application form.

  1. completed application form, which includes:
    1. signed statement of the accuracy of information, the authenticity of the submitted recording, and that funds awarded will be used towards a specified study plan within twelve months of the final competition round.
    2. study plan in organ and/or church music understood to consume the major part of the applicant’s time in the coming year.
    3. proof of age and Canadian citizenship (birth certificate preferred; photocopies welcome)
    4. a good-quality recording of a major work of J.S. Bach: either a fugue and its accompanying prelude, toccata or passacaglia, or any two movements of one of the six Trio Sonatas. The recording and its packaging must contain no speaking or other means of identifying the applicant. No editing or splicing is permitted except between movements.
  2. letter of authenticity, along with contact information, from a teacher or other second responsible party confirming that the recording is the unedited work of the applicant.
  3. non-refundable fee of $50.00 (cheque made out to Summer Institute of Church Music)

Final Round (Live Competition)

  1. From those successful in the semi-final round selection, up to three finalists will be chosen by April 30th in the competition year to compete in the Final Round Competition on the Tuesday evening of the Summer Institute of Church Music.
  2. Finalists will be notified shortly after April 15th, and provided with the specifications of the organ of All Saints’ Anglican Church, Whitby, the location of the final round competition. Each finalist will be provided with three hours of practice time on the competition organ early in the week of the competition.
  3. The competition program will consist of:
    1.  J.S. Bach:  Prelude and Fugue in G minor, BWV 535 (any edition)
    2.  a Canadian organ composition of difficulty comparable to Grade 10 or ARCT (Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto)
    3.  leading the singing of a hymn that will be provided to finalists. Note that this portion of the competition will also require accompaniment of a cantor and limited liturgical improvisation.
  4. Upon notification of finalist status and by June 1st at the latest, competitors will:
    1. accept or decline the invitation to participate in the final round
    2. provide a photograph and one-paragraph biography for publication
    3. provide the title(s), and three temporary copies of any own-choice selection(s) for the final round program
    4. provide an up-to-date resumé, including all teachers and colleagues. This information will be used in assembling an impartial jury for the final round of competition. It will NOT be used in the selection of finalists; no one referred to will be contacted by SICM, and no information will be published.
  5. The candidate alone will be responsible for registration during the final-round competition, but a page-turner will be provided if needed.
  6. If and how prizes are to be awarded is decided by a jury of three adjudicators, chaired by the visiting organ instructor of the session of the Summer Institute of Church Music of the competition year.
  7. The decision of the jury is final. The right to withhold prizes is reserved in case the jury feels that adequate standards are not maintained.


  1. First prize in the Osborne Organ Competition is $1500; second prize is $750.
  2. The jury may choose to apportion the awards between competitors if it sees fit. The jury also may withhold prizes if it feels that adequate standards are not achieved.
  3. Winners will receive their prizes at the beginning of their study period following the competition.
  4. Funds awarded must be used for advanced study in organ or church music.
  5. Meals and accommodation will be provided for all finalists at Trafalgar Castle School in Whitby from the Sunday of Institute Week until its conclusion on the Friday morning. However, finalists are not required to stay beyond the night of the final round of the competition.