Montréal, April 5, 2018 – It is with great emotion that the Canadian International Organ Competition (CIOC) is announcing that John Grew, co-founder of the CIOC with philanthropist and businessman Noël Spinelli, is leaving the position of artistic director he has held for 10 years. The CIOC Board of Directors has appointed Jean-Willy Kunz, organist-in-residence of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and organ professor at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, as his successor. “Jean-Willy is young and bursting with creativity,” said Grew. “He has already demonstrated how he wants to democratize organ music, and I know how committed he is to CIOC’s mission.”
For his part, CIOC Executive Director Thomas Leslie said, “We are sad to see John leave: he created the CIOC from A to Z, and we owe him a lot for the energy he has brought to Montréal’s organ community.” He added, “I had the opportunity to meet John and Jean-Willy many times, and we a lot of good discussions together about CIOC’s future, the upcoming Festival in October 2018, and of course the next Competition in 2020. The CIOC has grown in popularity and Jean-Willy will lead us to other artistic discoveries.”
The CIOC will organize a special event in 2019 to honour the work of John Grew. Details will be unveiled in the spring of 2019.
Grew will continue his work on the CIOC Board of Directors. In addition, in recognition of his role as a builder and his dedication to the CIOC for over a decade, the Board has named him Artistic Director Emeritus.
John Grew is a leading figure among Canadian organists and founder of the Canadian International Organ Competition. He contributed to the growth of McGill’s Early Music and Organ program, was dean of its Faculty of Music, and has trained many Canadian organists and harpsichordists. He has concertized extensively in Europe and North America both as organist and harpsichordist; he has also participated as a judge in 14 international competitions in Europe. He has performed on ATMA Classique, McGill Records, and OHS; his recordings include the complete works of Nicolas de Grigny and the works of Charles-Marie Widor, Dietrich Buxtehude, Louis Claude Daquin and Bengt Hambraeus.
In 2005, he received the Distinguished Teaching Award from McGill in recognition of his outstanding achievements with his students. Professor Grew was recently named a Member of the Order of Canada for bringing new energy to organ music in Canada as a performer and educator.
Jean-Willy Kunz is the first organist in residence of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. In addition to playing both with the orchestra and in recital, he sees to the development and showcasing of the OSM’s Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique at Maison symphonique de Montréal. Kunz studied at McGill University, where he earned a doctorate with John Grew, and has been a prize-winner at a number of organ competitions, including the Canadian International Organ Competition, where in 2011 he won third prize and the Richard-Bradshaw Audience Prize. His discography includes many recordings which reflect the broad range of his musical influences.
Canadian International Organ Competition
The Canadian International Organ Competition is the cornerstone of organ music in Canada and around the world; it celebrates the king of musical instruments at an annual festival and triennial competition. The next festival will take place from October 7 to 30, 2018 in Montréal. www.ciocm.org.