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November 6, 2010

The Twelfth National Organ-Playing Competition was held Saturday, November 6, 2010 at Claremont United Church of Christ in Claremont, California. The featured instrument was completed in 1998 as a co-production of tonal designer/voicer Manuel Rosales and Orgelbau Glatter-Goetz of Pfullendorf/Aach-Linz, Germany. The three finalists were selected from CD performances submitted by twenty-three contestants throughout the United States. The judges for the preliminary round were Orpha Ochse, William Peterson and Philip Smith. For the final competition, the adjudicators were James Hopkins, Frederick Swann, and Peter Sykes. The entrants performed unrestricted repertoire except for the required work, October Interlude, by Clarence Mader. 


Note: Biographical information current as of the competition date.

First Place: David Baskeyfield

David Baskeyfield is a doctoral student at the Eastman School of Music. He read Law at St John's College, Oxford, and held the college's organ scholarship. Following a year as organ scholar at both of the Anglican cathedrals in Dublin, he began a Master's degree at Eastman, where he now continues in the studio of Prof. David Higgs and studies improvisation with Prof. William Porter. In February 2010 he won first prize and audience prize at the Miami International Organ Competition. He was also awarded first prize and audience prize in the 2010 AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation, held at the National Convention in Washington DC. He has been broadcast multiple times on American Public Media's Pipedreams, playing both legitimate and theater organ music. In Rochester he continues to be active as a solo performer, accompanist, continuo player and occasional cocktail pianist. He also enjoys frequent access to the large Wurlitzer organ in the Auditorium Theatre downtown, and has recently gone some way to legitimizing this private indulgence in being elected to serve as a director on the Board of the Rochester Theatre Organ Society.

He has participated in master classes given by Marie-Claire Alain, Eduardo Bellotti, Stephen Bicknell, Michel Bouvard, Kevin Bowyer, David Briggs, Mel Butler, Bine Katrine Bryndorff, Hans Davidsson, Marie-Bernadette Dufourcet-Hakim, David Goode, Naji Hakim, David Higgs, Matthew Halls, Nicolas Kynaston, Jon Laukvik, Ludger Lohmann, Jacques van Oortmerssen, Anne Page, James Parsons, William Porter, Joel Speerstra, Thomas Trotter and Harald Vogel. 

Second Place and Audience Prize: Weicheng Zhao

Born in Tianjin, China, Weicheng Zhao began his musical training at the age of five. From 1993 to 2008, he studied the Electone Organ (which features orchestral and newly developed electronic sounds) under Jiyong Gao, Professor of Keyboard at Tianjin Conservatory of Music.  In 1994 and 1999 he was selected to perform as soloist during the 45th and 50th anniversary celebrations of the National Day of China. He enrolled in the Tianjin Conservatory of Music in 2004. During that time he took part in twenty-three performances known as “Winners Concerts” which toured in Japan and performed for the World Economic Forum Summer Davos 2008 in Tianjin.  From 1995 to 1998, Weicheng Zhao studied composition as a private student with Yuankai Bao, Professor of Composition at the Tianjin Conservatory.  Mr. Zhao has transcribed over 40 pieces for the

Electone Organ including solos, concertos and chamber music. His transcriptions of popular music for piano in 15 volumes were published by the Publishing House of the Central Conservatory of Music in October 2006. Among numerous scholarships and awards, he received the prestigious People's Government Scholarship. Out of 20 million college, university, and conservatory students, Mr. Zhao was one of 30 students chosen to receive the Nomination Prize for Student of the Year 2007. That same year, Mr. Zhao was the first prize winner at the Yamaha National Electronic Organ Competition held in Shanghai, which qualified him to compete in the 43rd Yamaha International Electronic Organ Competition (open age group) in Tokyo, Japan. Included in his performance were Jubilation, his own composition, and his transcription of BartokÂ’s Concerto for Orchestra. He was the first Chinese to win this competition which is recognized as the most significant of its kind in the world. After receiving his Bachelor of Music Degree in 2008, he was appointed full time teacher of the Electone Organ in Tianjin Conservatory of Music. In 2009, he took a leave of absence from the Conservatory to pursue study of the pipe organ with Cherry Rhodes at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music where he is currently enrolled in the Graduate Certificate program. 

Third Place: Chelsea Ann Vaught

Chelsea Vaught is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in church music-organ emphasis at the University of Kansas in Lawrence where she studies with Dr. Michael Bauer.  She earned a bachelor of arts degree in music (emphases in piano, organ performance and music education) from Bethel College in North Newton Kansas, and a master of music degree in church music and carillon performance from the University of Kansas.  Previous teachers have included Laura Steingard and Roseann Penner Kaufman. Chelsea has participated in master classes and seminars with Craig Cramer, Hans Davidsson, Lynne Davis Janette Fishell, Roberta Gary, James Higdon, Martin Jean, Susan Landale, Olivier Latry, Susan Marchand, Kimberly Marshall, Karel Paukert and George Ritchie. Currently, Chelsea is director of music/organist at First Congregational Church in Topeka, Kansas.  Chelsea was a quarter-finalist in the 2009-10 NYACOP, a finalist in the 2010 Fort Wayne National Organ Competition and the second-prize winner in the 2010 Arthur Poister Organ Competition. 

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