The International Competition of Organ Improvisation is the only permanent running competition for this discipline in Germany. Since 1989 it is held as a biennal competition during the Festival European Sacred Music Schwaebisch Gmuend. Starting in the year 2013 the festival distributes the first prize as “Hubert-Beck-prize” in memoriam KMD Hubert Beck (1935 – 2011), initiator and long-standing mentor of the competition.

Conditions of participation:

  • Organists born from July 29, 1982 onwards may participate.
  • The organizer takes over the costs for accomodation/breakfast during the competition and one day in advance for preparation.
  • The application is limited to 15 participants. The admission is carried out after date of receipt and will be valid after confirmation by the organiser. The application form must enclose a short curriculum vitae including studies and activities/occupation.
  • The participant has to pay 30 EUR application fee in cash at the beginning of the competition.
  • Former winners of a first prize are not allowed to participate again.


  • The competition will be held in two sessions (selection and final session). The participants may practise on the organ in St. Franziskus the day before at least 30 minutes.
  • The first session takes place on Saturday, July 29 on the organ in St. Franziskus (Walcker 1960, 35 stops on 3 manuals and pedal. Excercises: a) A partita on a given theme with at least 4 variations.  One variation has to be a Trio with c. f. in tenor. (Playing time: max. 10 min.) b) A free improvisation in a modern style on one or several given themes. (Playing time: max. 8 min.) Time for preparation on the piano: 40 min.
  • The second session takes place on Sunday, July 30, 5 p.m. on the organ of Heilig-Kreuz-Münster (Klais 1983, 55 stops on 3 manuals and pedal) as a public final concert. The session is held by three finalists chosen from the jury. The exercises will be provided by the jury. Time for preparation: 30 minutes (no instrument).


Hayo Boerema (Rotterdam) | Gabriel Marghieri (Paris) | Stephan Beck (Schwäbisch Gmünd)

If pupils of a juror participate, this juror will neither take advise nor take a vote on this pupil. The decisions of the jury are irrevocable. Any juridical contestation against the decisions of the jury is not admissable.

The jury has the right not to give prizes or to split prizes. A public audience prize of EUR 250,– will be awarded after the final concert by ballot papers. Any juridical contestation against all decisions is not admissable.

1. First prize “Hubert-Beck-Preis”: EUR 1.500,– | 2. Second prize: EUR 1.000,– | 3. Third prize: EUR 500,–

Application form and further information: 2017orgelimprowettbewerb

Application closing date: June 6, 2017