Festival History

 
Click here to explore the 20th Anniversary Booklet.

Click here to explore the 20th Anniversary Booklet.

 
 

The Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival features an annual naional competition for young organists with winners receiving awards to further their music education. The purpose of the Festival is to enhance the area of organ education--both to support young people studying the organ and to increase general appreciation for organ music of the past and present.

In 2015, Trinity College Chapel became the official home of the Festival after eighteen years at the beautiful and historic First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, Connecticut, with its magnificent Austin pipe organ. John Rose, who retired in december after forty years as Organist and Director of Chapel Music at Trinity College, was one of the competition's first judges. "When David Spicer invited me to be a judge at the first Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Competition," Rose said, "I could hardly have imagined its ongoing successes and influence among young organists. When he inquired about the possibility of moving the ASOF Hartford to Trinity College, we were honored and enthusiastically opened our doors. The ASOF Hartford encourages exceptional young organists and is an important mission worthy of widespread support."

"The ASOF Hartford encourages exceptional young organists and is an important mission worthy of widespread support.

John Rose

Christopher Houlihan, who is succeeding John Rose as the John Rose College Organist-and- Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music and who won the high school division during the 2003 Festival, said that, " The ASOF Hartford is one of the most well known competitions for young organists in the country, and it is thrilling to see the festival thriving in its new home at Trinity College.

Competing in the 2003 high school division gave me an opportunity at a young age to challenge myself, to grow as a musician, and to meet other young organists with similar passions. I am honored to now serve as a board member and am looking forward to watching the festival blossom into its third decade."

This unique Festival provides young musicians the opportunity to benefit from the experience of recognized judges, compete for monetary awards for their work, advances their resumes, and develop close bonds with their peers.

The Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival in the Netherlands, founded

"The ASOF Hartford is one of the most well-known competitions for young organists in the country, and it is thrilling to see the Festival thriving in its new home at Trinity College.”

Christopher Houlihan

in 1979 by Dr. Harold Robles, founder and former president of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, enabled many young European organists to become leaders in their field. The U.S. version, founded by Dr. Robles and David Spicer, energizes organ musicianship in North America. Area residents and others in the wider region greatly enjoy this annual exposure to the finest in organ music and organ playing.

David Spicer, who died on January 18, 2017, was dedicated to the idea that Christianity and music, two of the greatest forces in our world, can effectively merge to wash away “the dust of everyday life” from our souls.

For this 20th Anniversary of the Festival, the ASOF Hartford Board of Directors commissioned Philip Stopford to compose a new setting of Psalm 150 in memory of David Spicer. The Trinity College Chapel Singers and treble choristers from St. James's and St. John's Episcopal Churches, West Hartford sang the new anthem during the Closing Eucharist and Hymn Playing Competition.

Enjoy this brief video about recording Stopford’s Psalm 150 at Trinity College Chapel in Hartford.