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About the Young Organist Initiative


To complete the application form for Spring 2024, click here

The mission of the Boston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (BAGO) Young Organist Initiative (YOI) is to encourage and support young people in learning to play the pipe organ.


The purpose of the YOI is to promote among young people an understanding and appreciation of the pipe organ and its literature through educational resources and diverse performance opportunities. In order to do so, YOI raises funds from donors to provide scholarships for keyboard students in grades 6-12 to study organ, perform in annual recitals, engage in membership with the Boston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (BAGO), participate in Pedals Pipes and Pizza and other YOI events, and attend organ recitals, workshops, and Pipe Organ Encounters (POE) as available.


The YOI is designed to encourage and educate the next generation of organists. We rely heavily upon generous donations specifically designated to YOI to fund our scholarships and programs. All (100%) donations to the YOI are spent on scholarships and in promotion of the program. 

The YOI counts among its alumni students who went on to complete prestigious conservatory programs, win major competitions, and earn positions of prominence within the profession — both in the United States and abroad.


Who is eligible?

Students may apply to the YOI program if they are in grades 6-12 during the year of their audition and have not previously received a YOI scholarship within the past two years. While the program is open to piano and/or organ students of all levels within grades 6-12, we recommend those applying have a minimum of two years piano or organ study, be able to read music, and have equal fluency in both hands. Auditions are held each year.

Where do lessons take place? 

Students accepted into the program are paired with approved BAGO organ instructors who teach near the student’s home. Note: All instructors have undergone BAGO required Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) and Sexual Offender Records Information (SORI) background checks. Students are expected to practice in their home churches; if no practice organ is available, BAGO will assist in arranging alternatives.

Organ instructors interested in teaching through the YOI program should click here for more information or contact William Ness.

In the past, we have offered students opportunities for further exposure to the pipe organ through field trips (including visits to local organ builders’ workshops), student recitals (including one honoring graduating current and former scholarship recipients), and our popular Pedals, Pipe and Pizza events.

How much does this cost?

Admitted students receive a scholarship for $1,000 toward organ studies with a BAGO-approved instructor, a one-year membership in the AGO, a year’s subscription to The American Organist, and are featured in a required end-of-year recital at Boston’s King’s Chapel the last Tuesday of June each year.

Please contact YOI Chair William Ness for more information.