Until November 16h, the Festival of the Canadian International Organ Competition (CIOC) offers a multitude of activities for adults and kids of all ages: moreover, over half of all CIOC activities are free. This week, highlights include a kid’s play “There’s an Ogre in my Organ!” for kids 3 to 10 with Vincent Boucher and Julie Daoust – an activity that proved very popular and whose two slots are now full -, a free concert with Pascale Rouet at the Chapelle du Grand Séminaire (3 PM), and the first concert of the St. Joseph Oratory October Series “Celebrating Women Organists” with Jennifer McPherson (3:30 PM).


The CIOC Festival continues on til November 16 with over 20 events, with 20 opportunities to discover the pipe organ, and 20 different ways to admire the king of instruments, to celebrate its rich history, and to underscore its exciting future! The Festival explores the organ in many different ways, including concerts, film accompaniment, a documentary, a guided tour and a children’s show. This proves that while the organ is one of the oldest instruments, with over 2000 years of history, it is also one of the most versatile and surprising.



The Festival presents 15 concerts, ranging from an evening with tree stars of the organ (Gala Concert, October 19) to an afternoon concert series showcasing women organists and women composers, in disciplines still mostly dominated by men (“Celebrating Women Organists” every Sunday): all 15 events offer a wide range of repertoires and bring over 40 musicians to the limelight.

The full concert schedule includes:

  • Gala Concert on Friday, October 19 at 7:30 PM at the gorgeous Notre-Dame Basilica, with three of the best organists of their generation, all international competition winners under the age of 30: Alcée Chriss (CIOC 2017), Thomas Gaynor (St-Albans, UK, 2017), and Joshua Stafford (Longwood Gardens, USA, 2016).


  • Afternoon Treat, Saturday, October 20 at 3 PM at Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul with Christian Lane, 2011 Laureate, who brings “panache, vitality and joy” to the organ world, according to Organ Canada.
  • In Memoriam: Vespers in Remembrance, Saturday, October 20 at 7:30 PM at Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul offers a moment of reflection commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. The Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, directed by Jean-Sébastien Vallée, will perform excerpts of the Requiem by Maurice Duruflé and the Dona Nobis Pacem by Vaughan Williams, Jonathan Oldengarm at the organ. (Free)


  • Couperin at the organ, Sunday, October 21 at 5 PM with Jean-Willy Kunz. He will perform two organ masses at Bourgie Hall in connection with Arte Musica’s Couperin Days celebrating Couperin’s 350th anniversary of his birth.


  • “Conversation Français-English” on Monday, October 29th at 7:30 PM at Très-Saint-Nom-de-Jésus church. The Choir Musica Orbium will perform music from France (Mass for two organs by Louis Vierne, works by Franck and Duruflé) and from England (Vaughan Williams, Parry), accompanied by organists Philip Crozier and Nicholas Capozzoli.


  • A Symphony of Horror, Tuesday, October 30 at 8 PM at the Maison symphonique: French organist Thierry Escaich will provide musical accompaniment to the 1922 silent movie masterpiece Nosferatu on the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique.


  • Immaculée-Conception Organ Inauguration, Friday, November 16 at 7:30 PM highlights the restoration of this historical organ with titular organist Réal Gauthier, as well as Vincent Boucher, Yves-G. Préfontaine and Antoine Leduc. The restoration of this 60-year-old organ was completed this summer.


  • The Festival des couleurs de l’orgue français, every Sunday of October at 3 PM at the Grand Séminaire. With the participation of organists Pascale Rouet, Julie Pinsonneault, Josée April et Yves-G. Préfontaine. (Free)


  • Concert series ‘Celebrating Women Organists’, every Sunday of October at 3 :30 PM at St. Joseph’s Oratory, showcasing women musicians and composers With the participation of Jennifer McPherson (USA), Eunsung Kim (South Korea), Esther Clément (Quebec) et Alexandra Fol (Bulgaria). (Free)

Educational Activities


The CIOC is inviting the public up into the organ lofts, a space usually reserved for organists, to get closer to these musicians. This is a unique chance to get a behind-the-scenes look into this mysterious instrument.

  • “There’s an Ogre in my Organ!” (Saturday, October 6, 10 AM and 11 :30 AM) with Vincent Boucher and Julie Daoust: this fantastical story for kids ages 3 to 10 offers some keys to understanding the different components of the organ and to appreciate its beautiful classical and baroque repertoire. ** full


  • A guided tour of organs, St. James United Church and St. Andrew and St. Paul (respectively one of the oldest and one of the largest organs in Montreal) as well as the Juget-Sinclair organ-building workshop (Saturday, October 15 from 10 AM to 1 PM). Start: St. James United Church


  • A sneak peek at the documentary Pipe Dreams, Sunday, October 21 at 10 AM, with a talk by documentary producer Stacey Tenenbaum.


Festival Box-Office: 514. 790 1111 Ÿ www.ciocm.org