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.
The current committee consists of Sarah Hawbecker, Chair; Matthew Brown; Ray Chenault; Nancy Dickson; Charles Higgs; Käthe Wright Kaufman; Caroline Robinson; and Charlene Wall.
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.
2022 COMPETITION WINNERS
Katherine Jolliff – 1st Place
Katherine Jolliff is a 19-year-old organist from Indianapolis. She began piano studies at the age of 5 and started learning the organ in her freshman year of high school from Marco Petricic (University of Indianapolis). After completing her first two years of high school, she finished her studies at Interlochen Arts Academy. She majored in both piano performance and organ performance and studied organ with Tom Bara. Graduating with honors and the Fine Arts Award in Organ Performance, Katherine is currently at the Eastman School of Music as an organ performance major. In addition to being declared a winner at the Regional Competition for Young Organists, she also won first prize in the East Carolina University Young Artists Competition in organ performance (including the Bach Interpretation Prize and the Hymn Playing Award) as well as first place in the 2021 M. Louise Miller and Paul E Knox Scholarship Competition. Read More.
Adam Chlebek is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in organ performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he is a student of Jonathan Moyer. A Polish-American from Chicago, IL, Adam is a recipient of the Oberlin Conservatory Dean’s Scholarship and is interested in performance and sacred music. He has performed throughout the United States and Poland in such venues as St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, IL; the National Shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa in Doylestown, PA; and the Shrine of St. John Paul II in Kraków. He has participated in masterclasses with Janette Fishell, Nathan Laube, and William Porter. A devotee of choral music, Adam has sung with The Oberlin Musical Union and Collegium Musicum, where he has worked under Gregory Ristow and Steven Plank. Adam is also an avid jazz pianist, having participated in Oberlin’s Performance and Improvisation Ensemble, where he has performed with Jamey Haddad, Jay Ashby, and Becca Stevens. In addition to his studies, he serves as the Director of Music at St. James Catholic Church in Lakewood, OH. Read More.