Pipe Dreams

Pipe Dreams

June 22, 2020


Stacey Tenenbaum

A new generation of talented young musicians compete in the world's most prestigious pipe organ competition.


About the Documentary

Who will come out on top at the Canadian International Organ Competition? Meet four ultra-talented organ players in the intense lead up to the CIOC, widely regarded as the Olympics for organ music and which attracts virtuosi under the age 35 from all over the world. In Pipe Dreams, these competitors grapple with personal pressures and anxieties as they push themselves to the limit. 

Held every three years in Montreal, the prestigious CIOC demands the very best from young talent around the globe. Organists featured in Pipe Dreams are Yuan Shen, the daughter of China’s most famous organist, who believes that in order to win her will must be twice as strong as the strength and stamina of her competition; Alcee Chriss III of Texas, whose unique style and joyful playing is influenced by his musical background with gospel and jazz; Nick Capozzoli of Pittsburgh, who is willing to take big risks through performing obscure, modern music; and competitive newcomer 19-year-old Sebastian Heindl, the youngest person to ever compete in the CIOC, who taught himself to play at age 11 in the same town, Leipzig, Germany, as his idol and namesake Johann Sebastian Bach. 

Featuring personal at-home footage as well as a seat at the bench alongside these competitors at the CIOC, Pipe Dreams highlights the immense mental and physical discipline that the “king of instruments” demands from young musicians. Pipe Dreams challenges preconceived notions about an age-old instrument while introducing viewers to a new generation of passionate young organists, shining a light on the unexplored world of competitive organ playing.

The Filmmakers

Stacey Tenenbaum

Stacey Tenenbaum is an award-winning creative producer and director. In 2014 she founded H2L Productions, a boutique documentary film production company specializing in crafting character-driven stories shot internationally. H2L Productions’ first documentary feature The Art of the Shine, which Stacey produced, directed, and wrote, was broadcast on the Documentary Channel in the winter of 2018 and on PBS Independent Lens in the Spring of 2018. Pipe Dreams, a documentary feature about competitive organ players was broadcast on the Documentary Channel in 2019 and will air on Independent Lens. She is in development on Scrap, a character-driven environmental documentary, and Tough Old Broads, a film about groundbreaking women. Before turning her attention to film, Stacey worked in factual television for 16 years, producing and co-creating award-winning documentary series such as The Beat (CTV) and In Real Life (YTV). In 2012, Stacey was nominated for an International Emmy for In Real Life III. Stacey is known for her ability to find and connect with great characters around the world. She is passionate about making cinematic films filled with humor and heart.

Full Credits

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Join the Discussion

Did you know anything about the pipe organ before watching Pipe Dreams? How did it make you think differently about pipe organ music? Have you ever competed in any similar high stakes competition?