ORGANIZED CRIME is a partnership (blackmail and coercion may be involved, but this has yet to be proven) between two delinquent persons of questionable musical credentials, they being Rachel Mahon and Sarah Svendsen. The pair met at an undisclosed Canadian institution known for breeding horrendous offenders to conventions musical and other. Whether for inadequacy of skill or from sheer laziness, the so called "organists" usually insist on playing pieces together, regardless if they're intended for duet or solo, and so get away with playing only half the number of notes an honest organist would play. These criminals will continue to dupe and exploit audiences everywhere until they are caught. One of the most recent sightings was at Toronto's annual Phantoms of Organ concert at Metropolitan United Church. Using the sparkles of their sequin dresses as a distraction, the ladies evaded capture. Authorities believe they are on the move and will soon be hijacking concerts all over North America.
Rachel Mahon is Assistant Director of Music at Coventry Cathedral in the UK, where she accompanies and conducts the Cathedral Choir and curates the organ recitals and visiting choirs. Prior to this, she was Assistant Organist at Chester Cathedral (UK) where she worked regularly with the Cathedral Choir. The Choir's album "Choral Classics from Chester", which features Rachel on the organ, has just been released on the Priory Label.
She combines life as a Cathedral musician with a busy international recital schedule, touring as soloist and as part of Organized Crime Duo. Recent and upcoming engagements include an opening concert for the Montreal Symphony; St Alban's Cathedral, UK; Royal Canadian College of Organists' National Convention 2016; Orgelsommer Festivals 2016 & 2017, St Michaelis Church, Lueneburg, Germany; Temple Church, London, UK (presented by the Keyboard Trust); St Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York City; Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, BC; Pro Organo, Ottawa, ON; Westminster United Church, Winnipeg; The Toronto Bach Festival 2018; Haderslev Cathedral, Denmark; Trinity College, Cambridge; and St Lawrence Jewry, London.
Rachel was Organ Scholar at St Paul's Cathedral in London, England from 2014-2016, the first female organist in its 1400-year history. As one of the full time organists, she gave recitals and regularly played and conducted for services, working with the world famous Cathedral Choir in the daily cycle of worship as well as services of National significance.
Rachel has won numerous awards and competitions in Canada, including a graduating scholarship from the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and the Godfrey Hewitt Memorial Scholarship from the Royal Canadian College of Organists. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from the University of Toronto, where she studied with Professor John Tuttle. Whilst pursuing her degree, Rachel was the Bevan Organ Scholar at Trinity College, Toronto, as well as the Principal Organist at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. She has also held organ scholarships at St James Cathedral, Toronto and Truro Cathedral, UK. In 2014, she was named one of the top 30 musicians under 30 in Canada by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Rachel currently studies with Henry Fairs at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. To learn more or for booking enquiries, please visit rachelmahon.co.uk.
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 (WSO), for which her playing was reviewed to be “greatly virtuosic” by Chronicler musical, La Liberté. Svendsen is scheduled for a return appearance with the WSO in November, 2019.
Sarah is an avid supporter of organ education. She serves on the RCCO National Strategic Planning Committee as well as the RCCO National Communications Committee, and is a 2018/2019 RCCO Traveling Clinician. She is an adjudicator and organ instructor and she is also heavily involved in the organization of the RCCO’s annual Summer Organ Academy. Sarah is a regular guest artist for Toronto DARE Arts which is an inner-city arts education program and is also known for giving child-friendly educational organ outreach concerts.
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. Some of Sarah’s other engagements have included the St Paul’s Cathedral Sunday Organ Recital Series (U.K.), 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. Sarah was born and raised in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada. To learn more or for booking inquiries, please go to sarahsvendsen.com.
Organized Crime is an organ duo that grew from the friendship between Rachel Mahon and Sarah Svendsen, who met at the University of Toronto. The programme includes a combination of classic organ repertoire and and popular music transcribed and arranged for the instrument. The goal of this duo is to entertain audiences with their music and antics (which involve costume changes, dazzling shoes and hot tempers) and to promote the organ to a wider audience of all ages. With this purpose in mind, Organized Crime's concerts are unlike any other organ concerts and appeal to everyone, from the organ aficionado to one completely unfamiliar with the pipes. The performance must be seen as well as heard and so must take place on an exposed console. If you are interested in having us to perform, but do not have an organ, digital organs are available to rent from many dealers.