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Sydney Organ Competition

The Organ Music Society of Sydney regrets to advise that due to the resurgence of the COVID 19 pandemic, particularly in NSW, all sections of the 2021 Sydney Organ Competition have been cancelled. The Preliminary, Junior, Intermediate and Open sections will not be held either as live events or online.

The decision has been taken reluctantly after receiving feedback from teachers and students, but with the conviction that it would be impossible to conduct the Competition on an equitable basis given the varying access of entrants to practice instruments.

All Competition entrants who have already enrolled will be contacted individually.

The Organ Music Society will put its energies into delivering a bigger and better Competition in 2022.

Open Section

For Conditions of Entry, click here

The Open Section is open to organists 35 years of age and under on 30 July 2021

Entry Fee AUD $125 (non-refundable)

Closing Date Friday 30 July 2021

Public Finalist Recital

Monday 4 October 2021, 7pm at St Patrick’s Cathedral - 1 Marist Place, Parramatta


Audience Entry

Tickets may be purchased here: https://www.trybooking.com/BPLKO 


First Prize:  Vincent Sheppard Memorial Prize $2,500

Second Prize: John Brown Memorial Award $1,000 and Jessie Lyle Marsh Award $500

Third Prize:  Friends of the Sydney Town Hall Award $1,000

We are happy to announce the June Nixon Prize $3,000, which will be presented to the First Prize Winner (as an additional prize to the Vincent Sheppard Award). It is expected that the prize will be used to further support the winner’s professional development. 


Joseph Nolan (Organist and Master of Music at St George’s Cathedral, Perth, WA)

June Nixon (Australian Organist and Composer, Melbourne)


Round 1:  A recording with playing time not to exceed 25 minutes

Three works comprising:

• Any fast movement of a Trio Sonata by J.S. Bach (with the exception of BWV 525)

• An Wasserflüssen Babylon BWV 653 by J.S. Bach

• Any work or movement of your own choice

Round 2: Public Finalists’ Recital - St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta

Playing time must not be less than 30 minutes or more than 40 minutes.

Three works, comprising:

• Any major work by J.S. Bach

• A work written between 1800 and 1940

• Any work written after 1940

No work, or part of a work from Round 1, may be repeated in Round 2.  The word “work” includes multi-movement pieces as well as a selection of movements from a work.  

The program for both Rounds must demonstrate a variety of styles, textures and moods and the order of the works is at the competitor’s discretion.  In Round 2, the competitor should demonstrate an awareness of suitable programming.

First Round Adjudication

Adjudicators will be asked to return their assessments by Friday 21 August, 2020 and finalists (maximum of 3) will be announced by Friday 28 August, 2020.  All competitors will be given comments regarding their performances.  In Round 1, the competitor’s identity will not be known to the adjudicators.

Overseas Competitors

We welcome interstate/overseas competitors. All travel and accommodation costs are the competitor’s responsibility.

Please note that Parramatta is roughly 30 kms away from Sydney.  

With the global Covid-19 pandemic and its constant fluctuation with border and travel restrictions, OMSS cannot guarantee your entry to Australia or that quarantine might be imposed.  We strongly suggest that you have travel insurance.  We plan to proceed with the competition in a live recital.  If Covid-19 restrictions are placed in and around Sydney/Parramatta at that time, we will consider moving to an online format.

For Conditions of Entry, click here