Past laureate of the Royal Canadian College of Organist’s (RCCO) National Organ Playing Competition, organist Sarah Svendsen is a graduate of the Yale School of Music and co-founder of/performer in Organized Crime Duo. Sarah specializes in the performance of Canadian organ works and has performed in Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. In September of 2016, Sarah made her symphonic debut as soloist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, for which her playing was reviewed to be “greatly virtuosic” by Chronicler musical, La Liberté.
Sarah is an avid supporter of organ education and, along with sitting on the RCCO National Strategic Planning Committee as well as the RCCO National Communications Committee, she also performs educational outreach concerts to support her cause.
In the fall of 2014 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) released a video recording of Sarah playing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor on its YouTube channel. In June of 2015, Sarah was part of the Luminato Festival production and CBC Radio 2 broadcast of Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis, playing the sole organ in an ensemble of over 1000 under conductor David Fallis (click here for CD information). Some of Sarah’s other engagements have included the St Paul’s Cathedral Sunday Organ Recital Series (U.K.), the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Concert Series (Pittsburgh, U.S.A.), the Truro Cathedral Lunchtime Concert Series (U.K.), the Stratford Summer Music Festival (Canada), and the Copenhagen International Organ Festival (Denmark).
Sarah is currently pursuing a DMA in Organ Performance at her alma mater, the University of Toronto, under Dr. Patricia Wright. Sarah holds a Master’s degree in organ from the Yale School of Music where she studied with Professor Thomas Murray. This degree was in conjunction with the Yale Institute of Sacred Music where she completed the Institute’s Church Music Diploma. For the 2013/14 Yale academic year, Sarah was the organist for Battell Chapel, Yale University Church. From 2009 until 2014, Sarah was the assistant at Toronto’s Metropolitan United Church, known for housing the largest pipe organ in Canada. Sarah was born and raised in rural Nova Scotia, Canada.