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In 1951, Louis Toebosch won the first International Organ Improvisation Competition. He was to be followed by Anton Heiller in 1952, Piet Kee (1953, 1954, 1955) and many other organists who later became internationally known names. Winning 'Haarlem' was, and is, the first step to an international career. Even just taking part in the competition has helped launch many a career, as the names of the numerous famous organists among the previous participants testify.
The 53rd Haarlem International Improvisation Competition will take place place on Wednesday 21, Friday 23 and Saturday 24 July, 2021. The material for the assignments will be created by several artists, and will not be only musical! As in 2016 and 2018, new elements and experimental techniques of improvising on and with the organ will be introduced, next to traditional improvising styles.
Would you like to experience the 'Haarlem' sound? Recordings of previous competition finalists are available via SoundCloud.
The Competition in 2021
In 2020, three participants have already been selected for the Improvisation Competition 2021. The second preliminary round for the Improvisation Competition 2021 is closed. We received recordings from all over the world which are currently being assessed. In total 8 organists will participate in the Competition. Click here for the thematic material for the preliminary round. More info can be found here.
On the pages in the drop-down menu under 'Improvisation Competition' you will find more information about the Haarlem Improvisation Competition in 2021.