ABOUT THE COMPETITION
The Taylor Organ Competition was established by the Atlanta Chapter of the American Guild of Organists to honor long-time chapter member, Elizabeth Abbott Taylor. In October 2006 the Chapter received a generous bequest from Mrs. Taylor’s estate and the first competition was held on Saturday, April 21, 2012. The Chapter Endowment Committee, Bobby Mays, Chair, invested the Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund in a separate account to support a national young organist competition every three years. The Executive Board of the Atlanta Chapter appointed Sarah Martin, Chair, and committee members Sarah Hawbecker, Bobby Mays, James Mellichamp, Charlene Ponder, Arlan Sunnarborg and Timothy Wissler, to set up the parameters for the first competition.
ELIZABETH ABBOTT TAYLOR
Elizabeth Abbott Taylor, 1904-2005, an Atlanta native, lived in a two-story Victorian house in the historic Grant Park area of the city from age 18 to the time of her death. She earned her music degree from Cox College in College Park, GA, and began teaching piano upon her graduation. She attracted students from all over the city, and taught into her 80s. Mrs. Taylor also developed a career as an organist and choirmaster, serving several churches in the Atlanta area. She was a parishioner at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, where the first competition was held. She specified in her will that her estate be divided between the Atlanta Chapter AGO and the Atlanta Music Club to create scholarship programs to benefit talented young musicians.
2018 COMPETITION WINNERS
Chase Loomer – 1st Place
Chase Loomer is a senior at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he studies organ performance with David Higgs. A native of Charlotte, NC, Chase was awarded first prize in the 2015 AGO/Quimby Southeast Regional Competition for Young Organists and has been a prizewinner at several other competitions throughout the southeast, including the Columbia and Winston-Salem AGO competitions. Chase was also the winner of the Sarasota-Manatee AGO Chapter Competition…Read More
Ben Kerswell, the 2016 John R. Rodland Memorial Scholarship recipient, is a senior organ performance major studying with Dr. Catherine Rodland at St. Olaf College. Winner of the 2017 North Central AGO/Quimby Regional Competition, he will perform as a Rising Star at the 2018 National AGO Convention in Kansas City. Before attending St. Olaf College, Ben studied organ with Joanne Rodland and piano with Elizabeth Martyn. He has performed solo recitals in Iowa City; St. Paul, MN; New York City; and Ridgewood, NJ. A section leader in the St. Olaf Choir, he most recently sang…