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Pajan Wins Top Honors at National Organ Competition

Adam Pajan wins first place at the Ruth and Clarence Mader National Organ Competition.

A University of Oklahoma student won top honors at a prestigious national organ competition, held recently in Claremont, Calif.

Adam Pajan of Monroeville, Pa., who is pursuing a doctor of musical arts degree in organ with church music emphasis, won first place at the Ruth and Clarence Mader National Organ Competition. Of the three finalists, Pajan was the only one from the United States. In addition to winning first place, he received a $6,000 scholarship award.

Last year, Pajan took second in the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition, which challenges students to acclimatize to the highly specific aspects of a 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ.  His presentation in that competition earned him the $15,000 Firmin Swinnen Prize. 

Pajan, 27, studies with John Schwandt, associate professor of organ at OU and director of the American Organ Institute in the School of Music, and also serves as a Graduate College Research Fellow and graduate assistant at OU.

In 2011, Pajan was awarded first prize at the Arthur Poister Organ Scholarship Competition and in 2009 won the Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition USA.  He was a semifinalist in the American Guild of Organists’ National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance in May 2012.

He holds a master of music degree from the Yale University School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, where he studied with Martin Jean and coached with Thomas Murray, and a bachelor of music degree from Furman University as a student of Charles Tompkins.

The Ruth and Clarence Mader organ competition is sponsored by the Ruth and Clarence Mader Memorial Scholarship Fund, based in California. One of its primary purposes is assist young people in developing their talents in the field of music, primarily those having pipe organ ambitions.