Press articles - August 22, 2015

Beautiful final of the St-Maurice International Organ Competition
St-Maurice, 08/23/2015 ( While 44 candidates from 14 nationalities registered for the St-Maurice International Organ Competition, and 29 competed with a preliminary concert, there are three finalists residing in France who won the awards. For this year of the 1500th anniversary of the Abbey, candidates had to include in their program the Toccata Mauritiana specially composed by Peter Planyavsky, former holder of the organ of St. Stephen cathedral (Stephansdom) in Vienna and member of the Jury.

For its 8th edition, the St-Maurice competition took place in several places: first at the St-François church in Lausanne where the competitors were able to give successively this summer 29 concerts serving as preliminary tests. Then 8 semi-finalists played at St-Sigismond church in St-Maurice on Thursday August 20. Then the final took place on Saturday August 22 at the Basilique Agaunoise.
The choice of St-François in Lausanne was not fortuitous since the competition is sponsored by the Cramer Foundation, named after the former holder Georges Cramer (1909-1981) who was also a teacher to Canon Georges Athanasiadès, creator of the competition. And as the illustrious organist of the Abbey was not available for health reasons, it is the current organist of St-François, Benjamin Righetti, who chaired the international jury.

The first prize of 10,000 francs offered by the State of Valais went, after “blind listening” to Thomas Kientz, who, after being trained in Strasbourg, continued his studies in Paris. Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas received the 2nd prize of 6,000 Fr. offered by the City of St-Maurice. As for Madame Kumi Choi, originally from South Korea, she obtained the 3rd prize (4000 Fr. from the Seymour-Obermer Foundation) and also the Special Prize (2000 Fr. from the Cramer Foundation) for the performance of the Toccata Mauritiana.

The Toccata, inspired by the liturgical music of the Abbey, will constitute another musical reference for the Jubilee Year of the 1500th. The work meets the permanent objective of the International Organ Competition which is to “contribute to the spiritual and cultural influence of the Basilica.”
André Kolly

Le Nouvelliste, Sion - August 22, 2011

A jury in search of the perfect musical expression
… To avoid any preconceived mindset for the Jury’s decision, we had an heterogeneous group of people. Three generations of very different origins and professions come together here. From Ukraine, with a former “first prize of the Competition”, to Italy, Europe was well represented. Despite their love for music, the seven members are not all experts in the organistic world. Pierre-Yves Tribolet, head of the classical department at the European Broadcasting Union, plays an equally important role as his colleagues. “My ear is focused on different details. The jury is then immersed into a real in-depth reflection. And despite our heterogeneous composition, we are often unanimous. “

Le Nouvelliste, Sion - August 24, 2009

Virtuosity on keyboards
After a week of trials which saw 19 candidates of eleven different nationalities competing for talent and virtuosity, the International Organ Competition of Saint-Maurice 2009 ended on Saturday with the proclamation of the winners. The jury awarded the first prize (10’000 CHF) offered by the State of Valais to Daniel Beckmann.

Daniel Beckmann hat dem Wettbewerb einen Brief zukommen lassen, aus welchem wir folgendes zitieren:
«Nun liegt der Orgelwettbewerb in Saint-Maurice schon einige Zeit zurück, und ich möchte mich auf diesem Wege noch einmal ganz herzlich für die freundliche Aufnahme, die wunderbare Atmosphäre, die naters Gesprätürk, pre-denanklung ètenam unden Gespräche, pre-denanklichungs professional … Dem Preis in Saint-Maurice habe ich es vielleicht auch zu verdanken, dass ich im Vorstellungsverfahren um die Domorganistenstelle am Hohen Dom zu Mainz nachrücken durfte, nachdem ich zunächst eine Absage wegen meines noch sehr jugendommlichen hatte. Das Vorspiel ist gut gelaufen und ich wurde ganz aktuell dorthin mit Wirkung zum 1.5.2010 berufen. “

Vevey-Hebdo - August 31, 2007

First prize at the Hungarian Balàzs Szabo
The 4 th Saint-Maurice International Organ Competition took place from Thursday 16 to Sunday 26 August, in the Basilica of the famous Abbey and in the Saint-Sigismond church, with a final concert on Sunday 26. Remember that this prestigious competition takes place every two years in memory of the eminent organist Georges Cramer (1909–1981). It was created in 2001 on the initiative of Canon Georges Athanasiadès, titular organist of the Basilica, who had been the brilliant pupil and disciple of Georges Cramer.

24 Hours, Riviera Chablais - August 30, 2005

Young Slovak wins it all
Slovak organist Bernadetta Sunavska flew over the 3rd edition of the International Organ Competition of Saint-Maurice, by winning the 1 er prize and a special prize for the best interpretation of Olivier Messiaen. The public came in great numbers to the Basilica on Sunday…

Vevey-Hebdo - September 12, 2003

A revelation from Warsaw
The 2nd Saint-Maurice International Organ Competition ended on Sunday August 24 with the final round in which three candidates for the supreme honor took part in the Basilica. The competition  revealed to a dazzled audience a young Polish man of Ukrainian origin, Rostislaw Wygranienko, a 24-year-old prodigy, organist, pianist and musicologist, already winner of several international competitions. He is an artist promised to the most beautiful of careers, rightly proclaimed First Prize at the end of a very high-level competition.

The Riviera / Chablais press - February 27, 2001

The organ brought to its highest level
Festivals and musical competitions follow one another throughout the summer. Under the impetus of Canon Georges Athanasiadès, Saint-Maurice will host in August 2001, the first edition of a competition with very high standards and ambitions.

Build - August 7, 2001

VIRTUOSES in competition
Young professional organists have few opportunities to confront their talents and submit them to the appreciation of a jury. They are usually offered only two or three competitions during the year.

Valais could not have dreamed of organizing such a high-level Competition without the commitment and notoriety of Georges Athanasiadès, a concert artist who is appreciated in the United States and Japan as he is in Europe.