Lynnwood Farnam Organ Competition

org0226(formerly, the John Robb Organ Competition)

Sponsored by the Montreal Centre of the RCCO, it is the longest running competition of its kind in Canada. Details of early competitors are not available because the records only date from 1954, but it is known that competitions were held before that year. You may find a listing of the competition First Prize Winners below. Originally called the CCO (RCCO) Montreal Centre Organ Competition, in 1968 it was named after John Robb, former organist at St. Andrew’s-Dominion-Douglas United Church. In 2004 the Montreal Centre decided to rename the competition the Lynnwood Farnam Organ Competition.

Lynnwood Farnam was born in Quebec’s Eastern Townships and began his career as a young church organist in Montreal. The first pipe organ he ever played was at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Dunham. At the age of 15 Farnam won the Lord Strathcona Musicial Scholarship as a pianist. This award paid for three years at the Royal College of Music in London, returning to Montreal in 1904. He was organist of St. James Methodist (now United) Church, St. James the Apostle Anglican Church and Christ Church Cathedral. In 1919 he took the position at New York’s prestigious Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and became a well-known performer and teacher across North America.

Held annually in a Montreal area church, the competition has been funded over the years by donations from companies and by private contributions as well as by the foundation Les amis de l’art. The 2014 Final Round will be held on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at St. Joseph’s Oratory and is open to the public. First Prize is a monetary award of $1000 and the Second Prize is an award of $500. There may also be additional recital engagements made available to the prizewinners. Contest rules and application are included below (in PDF format). The deadline for applications is March 1, 2014.