Next Haarlem Organ Festival 

19-24 July 2021

Summer Academy postponed again, Competition continues

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The corona situation in the Netherlands remains worrying. Despite a vaccination program, we still have to deal with a growing number of infections. In contrast to a few months ago, more and more young people are suffering from COVID-19. The introduction of different variants of the virus is also not reassuring. Unfortunately, the situation in the Netherlands does not differ much from that in other countries.

Faced with this situation, the board of the International Organ Festival is very sad to announce that it is irresponsible to continue the Summer Academy in 2021. The main argument is that it is still too risky to ask international students and professors to travel to Haarlem in these circumstances, and to give master classes in organ lofts with sometimes very limited space.

We are very sorry to announce this sad message for the third time. Trust that we will do everything we can to find ways to organize the Haarlem Summer Academy, which is so important to many organists from around the world. But safety is our number one priority.
We are committed to organizing the Summer Academy again in 2022, which will largely have the program as planned for 2020. As soon as possible, all students who have registered for the Summer Academy in 2021 will receive a personal message from our manager Peter Ouwerkerk. All information about the Summer Academy in 2022 will be published on this website at the end of April.

There is also good news! All concerts which were scheduled from Monday July 19 to Saturday July 24, including the Improvisation Competition, will take place in a corona proof way! See the post elsewhere on this page for more information about the Competition.

All events will be broadcast 'semi-live' from 26 to 31 July 2021, in the week after the festival on our YouTube video channel. This way all Organ Festival friends from all over the world can feel connected to Haarlem!​

What is the Haarlem International Summer Academy for Organists?

The Haarlem International Summer Academy for Organists was founded in 1955 and is therefore the oldest of its kind in the world! During the last 70 years the Academy grew from 4 teachers and 10 students to the largest Summerschool in the world. Now around 100-120 students from all over the world  even from China, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Corea, South Africa, United States of America, Chili, Syria...  travel to Haarlem each two years to attend masterclasses and study with the most distinguished organists of this time.
A very successful Young Talent Class has been part of the Academy since 2010, an unforgettable experience for the selected participants that for some was the beginning of a professional music education and even a starting career as a concert organist. From 2022, an Excellence Class will be launched for the most talented organists, selected by professors of former Summer Academies.

The focal point of the Summer Academy is undoubtedly the world-famous Christian Müller organ (1738) in St. Bavo's Church. 

Improvisation Competition

21, 23 and 24 July 2021

The 2021 Improvisation Competition

The participants who are selected for the Haarlem International Organ Improvisation Competition 2021 are:

Gabriele Agrimonti (Italy)
Sebastian Benetello (Germany)
Marcel Eliasch (Germany)
Richard Fitzgerald (United States of America)
Hans van Haeften (the Netherlands)
Cyril Julien (Switzerland)
Gregor Simon (Germany)

In total 8 organists will participate in the Competition. The eighth candidate is the winner of the National Organ Competition to be held on Thursday 24 June 2021 during the Dordrecht Bach Festival. For more information, see:

Click here for the thematic material of the preliminary round on which participants had to improvise. Click here for more information about the International Improvisation Competition.

Next Haarlem International Organ Festivals:

Mon 19 July - Sat 24 July 2021 (no Summer Academy)

Sat 16 July - Sat 30 July 2022

Sat 13 July - Sat 27 July 2024

Summer Academy postponed again, Competition and concerts will continue in 2021


The organization of the International Organ Festival is very sad to announce that the Summer Academy has to be postponed again until 2022. The main argument is that it is still too risky to ask international students and professors to travel to Haarlem in these circumstances, and to gather on organ lofts with sometimes very limited space.


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News about the 2021 Haarlem Organ Festival!


We are very happy to announce that, despite the dilemma of organizing an event in very uncertain times, the Organ Festival will take place in 2021!


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Agnes Hylkema deceased


The Organization, the Artistic Council and the General Board of the International Organ Festival Haarlem announce with sadness that we have been informed of the death of the Haarlem ‘Stadsregistrant’ Agnes Hylkema. Agnes passed away on Monday, November 16.


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