How to build relationships with the organists in charge of the venues where you would like to play an organ recital so you would have more chances to succeed
In September Ausra and I are going to play a duet recital in Poland, in the place called Paslek, Poland on the 1719 organ built by Andreas Hildebrandt. My contact person is Krzysztof Urbaniak, Artistic Director of Organ Festival in Paslek.
This invitation didn't come out of nowhere, of course. It was an interesting story how we first connected.
I first heard of Krzysztof a number of years ago because he is a terrific expert on historical organs. Multiple times we interacted on social media about the Casparini organ in Vilnius and basically have followed each other's work one way or another.
So when he contacted me a couple of years ago on the occasion of coming to Vilnius to give a presentation about the organ culture in Danzig in the Baroque times and a concert at the conference I immediately asked if he wanted to be my guest on my Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. Because he is a very generous and enthusiastic person, he agreed, we met at my church and recorded a splendid conversation. By the way, when we talked he mentioned more than once he frequently listens to my podcast.
So you see how deep the connection has to be with someone if you want to get invited to play an organ recital (unless you already have Organ Star status which is another story).
The key is again to help people. That's basically all I do. I helped Krzysztof spread the word with my podcast about his work and the subject that he is passionate about to organists from 89 countries.
I was happy to help and he was ready to reciprocate without me actually having to ask for an opportunity to play on the famous 1719 organ in Paslek.
So what about you? When you have an organ in mind you would like to perform on in the future, the next thing to do is NOT to ask directly for a chance to perform. This would be spamming and you would have virtually zero chances of success. Plus this kind of asking out of the blue actually damages your credibility and diminishes the trust you might have.
Because you haven't earned the privilege to ask.
First, find out what this person needs and see if you can help them in some way to fulfill this need.
Everybody needs publicity. So perhaps you could write a post on your blog about this organist commenting in a positive way. Perhaps you could share their YouTube video with a special comment.
Make sure you write to this person a nice note that you've just shared their work and how much you appreciate what they're doing.
Don't ask anything in return. Just be nice and helpful.
If you do this regularly, if you build relationships first with the organists in the places you want to be invited to play recitals, you will get more chances to succeed.
Let me know if you need help with anything or feel stuck.