Ever since my childhood, I have always been fascinated by music and rapidly the organ caught my attention. My career as Professor at McGill University offers me the privilege of contributing to the training of young organists. Parallel to this, my career as concert artist has allowed me to foster close ties with great organists around the world, many of whom have become close friends. With so many elements playing in favour of Montreal, the creation of an international organ competition became obvious. I predict that October 2008 will be memorable in our country’s history of the organ!
John Grew, Artistic Director
John Grew is a leading figure among Canadian organists. He is the University Organist and chair of the organ area at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. His teaching career has spanned over thirty years. He established the Early Music program, the largest of its kind in Canada. In 2005, he received the Distinguished Teaching Award from McGill University in recognition of his outstanding achievements with his students. He is also the founder and artistic director of the McGill Summer Organ Academy.
Among his many accomplishments was his collaboration with Hellmuth Wolff in the planning of the French classical organ at Redpath Hall, one of Montreal's most important concert venues. John Grew was Dean of the Faculty of Music at McGill from 1991 to 1996. John Grew's teachers have included Maitland Farmer, Marilyn Mason, Kenneth Gilbert, Marie-Claire Alain and Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini. He was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and held several Artist Awards from the Canada Council during his studies. In 1970 he was unanimously awarded the First Medal at the Geneva International Organ Competition. He has concertized extensively in Europe and North America both as organist and harpsichordist. He has made numerous broadcast recordings, has appeared as soloist with distinguished chamber orchestras and frequently invited as a guest lecturer.
In 1986, John Grew founded, in his native province of Nova Scotia, Musique Royale, an early music festival for which he is still musical advisor. John Grew has received several honorary doctorates, is frequently invited to give master classes and has served on the juries for numerous international competition. His recordings have been received with critical acclaim. John Grew's artistry is best described by a critic for London's "Daily Telegraph" who wrote "...it takes an artist of Mr. Grew's exceptional quality to stress the scale, variety and eloquence of Couperin ... he relishes the music's gravity and boldly-questioning manner."
Thomas Leslie, Executive Director
Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Thomas Leslie brings multifaceted experience to his role as Executive Director of the CIOC.
He joins the CIOC from the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, Montreal, where he earned awards as an administrator who worked on behalf of students and faculty to enhance and modernize administrative policies and procedures. As a Student Advisor in the Department of Human Genetics, he built one of the most vibrant graduate programs currently offered at the University, and established a weekly departmental e-newsletter which is widely regarded as one of the best of its kind at McGill.
As Business Manager for acclaimed conductor and composer Julian Wachner, Mr. Leslie has had the opportunity to collaborate with many of the world¹s leading artistic organizations including: The American Guild of Organists, Chorus America, New York City Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, L'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and l’Orchestre Métropolitain.
Thomas Leslie is a classical singer who has performed regularly throughout Eastern Canada and the United States. He has music degrees from McGill and Wilfrid Laurier Universities, and is in the final stages of an Executive MBA program at l'Université du Québec à Montréal. He was Music Director at St. Ansgar Lutheran Church in Montreal.