International Organ Competition Winner Benjamin Sheen returns to Longwood Gardens on May 2 for a dazzling solo recital

April 23, 2014
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The second Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition is scheduled for June 14, 15, and 18, 2016.

Benjamin Sheen, the dynamic British organist who took top honors at the inaugural Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition in June 2013, returns to Longwood on May 2 to perform a solo recital featuring his remarkable transcriptions of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Elgar’s Elegy for Strings, excerpts from Shostakovich’s The Gadfly Suite and Walton’s Prelude and Fugue, “The Spitfire” (transcribed with Tom Winpenny) as well as Marco Enrico Bossi’s Scherzo in G minor and an encore performance of his final round selection, Brahms’s Tragic Overture. The recital was awarded along with the $40,000 Pierre S. du Pont prize and a contract with Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, although it is clearly the audience who is the true winner in this case. The concert will take place on Friday, May 2 at 8pm at Longwood Gardens. Tickets are $25 ($21 for members) and can be purchased in advance through Ticket Philadelphia.


Sheen, who recently completed his Master’s degree at the Juilliard School and is now the Assistant Organist at the St. Thomas Church in New York City, impressed the distinguished jury with his towering transcriptions of Mendelssohn and Brahms overtures, technical wizardry and deep sensitivity to the myriad colors of the Longwood Organ. Some of his competition performances will be included on the 2013 International Organ Competition recording that will be for sale at Longwood Gardens and on iTunes in Spring 2014. It will also feature noteworthy performances by the four other semi-finalists.

Sheen will also play a starring role in the hour-long documentary by filmmaker Eric Schultz of PCK Media that chronicles the journey of the 10 finalists and the orchestration of the International Organ Competition, slated for release in 2014.

The second Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition will take place in 2016, with the semi-final round on June 14 & 15 and the finals on June 18. 

About Benjamin Sheen

Benjamin Sheen is one of the UK's brightest young organists, having recently won the inaugural Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition. He has also recently been awarded Second Place and the Jon Laukvik Prize at the 2013 St. Alban's International Organ Competition in its 50th year. In addition to his competition successes, he has also completed his Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School in New York, having studied with Grammy award winning organist Paul Jacobs. He serves as Assistant Organist at St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  www.bensheen.com

About the Organ & Competition

The Longwood Organ is among the world’s largest concert organs, with 146 ranks and 10,010 pipes. After a seven-year restoration completed in 2011, the organ is restored to its original 1930 condition and incorporates today’s most innovative technology.   

The inaugural Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition drew musicians from around the world to compete for the largest cash award for an organ competition anywhere: the $40,000 Pierre S. du Pont First Prize. Open to organists between the ages of 18 and 30, the Competition began with a qualification round that featured performers from nine different countries. An audition jury comprising six esteemed members of the organ community anonymously evaluated the competitors' audition recordings and selected 10 of the organ world's brightest rising stars to compete live before a panel of renowned judges in a quest for the top prize. Benjamin Sheen was awarded the Pierre S. du Pont First Prize on June 22, 2013.  http://longwoodgardens.org

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