XIII International Organ and Early Music Festival
Oaxaca, Mexico

February 18 - 23, 2020


The Instituto de Órganos Históricos de Oaxaca A.C. (IOHIO) is honored to announce our 13th International Organ Festival, Oaxaca, Mexico, offering participants the unique opportunity of experiencing Oaxaca through the lens of the historic pipe organs. The Festival will take place from February 18 – 23, 2020, and will include the following activities:

* Nine concerts on eight Oaxaca organs
* Concerts by renowned organists Craig Cramer (USA), Pavel Kohout (Czech Republic), and João Vaz (Portugal)
* Visits to 12 unrestored organs and their churches, many of which are usually inaccessible to the public, in the Oaxaca Valley and the Mixteca Alta
* The opportunity for organists and organ students to play the Jalatlaco organ
* A sample of Oaxaca’s famous local cuisine in several villages
* Guided tours of the churches and the archeological site of Monte Alban

There are few places in the world where so many baroque and neo-classic instruments may be found in such a relatively compact geographical area. Most of Oaxaca’s organs, both restored and unrestored, are located in villages, and it is impossible to separate them from their cultural context—their churches, history, and geographical setting. This of course greatly enriches our festival.

The word continues to spread about the IOHIO Festivals and the number of participants grows every year, one of the lures being the personal rather than the institutional flavor of the event. The Festival attracts not only professional organists but also organ builders, restorers, musicians, writers, scholars in Mexican art and history, teachers, and, not least, those who simply love music and Oaxaca. For some, the IOHIO festival has been a “life-changing experience.”

February is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Oaxaca. The air is clear and warm and the sky deep blue. Our field trips through the Tlacolula Valley and the Mixteca Alta highlight the splendid and varied Oaxaca scenery, as the trees will just be coming into bloom and the countryside is golden during the dry season. We encourage those of you from northern climes to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to escape the cold.

During these events, new friendships and professional collaborations (even a romance!) have been forged, and some folks return year after year. We invite you to become part of our IOHIO festival family and to discover a new aspect of Oaxaca’s rich cultural heritage. You may read a summary of the Twelfth Festival 2018 to have an idea of what’s in store.


February 18 (Tuesday)
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM: Registration in the Museo de Filatelia de Oaxaca (MUFI, Reforma 504)
(Lunch on your own and the opportunity to explore Oaxaca City)
5:30 PM: Inauguration and reception, MUFI
8:00 PM: Concert of Oaxacan Regional Music in the Basílica de la Soledad, Cicely Winter, organ, and Valentín Hernández, percussion (Oaxaca)

February 19 (Wednesday)
9:00 AM: Presentation: “Oaxaca’s Historic Pipe Organs and the Work of the IOHIO,” Cicely Winter, Francisco de Burgoa Library, Santo Domingo Cultural Center
10:15 AM: Coffee break
10:45 AM: Departure for visits to unrestored organs in the Tlacolula Valley: San Juan Teitipac (16th c. mural painting), San Andrés Huayapam
2:00 PM: Comida (midday dinner) in San Andrés Huayapam. Optional visit to the historic tree in Sta. María del Tule or
4:00 – 6:00 PM: Participating organists may play the organ in San Matías Jalatlaco
8:00 PM: Concert in the Oaxaca Cathedral, João Vaz (admission $100 pesos)

February 20 (Thursday)
8:00 AM: Departure for the Mixteca Alta
Visits to unrestored organs: San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca (lunch, guided tour), Santiago Teotongo, Santa María de la Natividad Tamazulapan
2:00 PM: Concert in Santa María Tamazulapan (presented by Mexican organists with a IOHIO scholarship)
Comida in Tamazulapan
6:00 PM: Return to Oaxaca
8:00 PM: Concert in San Matías Jalatlaco, Pavel Kohout

February 21 (Friday)
8:00 AM: Departure for the Mixteca Alta
Visits to unrestored organs: San Mateo Yucucuí, Santiago Ixtaltepec (snack), Santa María Tiltepec
Comida in “Hacienda Santa Marta”
6:00 PM: Return to Oaxaca
8:00 PM: Concert in the Basilica de la Soledad, Craig Cramer

February 22 (Saturday)
8:00 AM: Departure for the Mixteca Alta
Visits to unrestored organs: Santa María Tinú, San Andrés Sinaxtla (snack)
1:00 PM: Guided tour of the church of Yanhuitlán
2:00 PM: Concert in Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán, Eliseo Martinez and trombonist (Oaxaca)
Comida and fiesta in San Andrés Zautla
7:00 PM: Concert in San Andrés Zautla, Pavel Kohout
10:00 PM: Return to Oaxaca

February 23 (Sunday)
9:30: Departure for Tlacochahuaya
10:15: Guided tour of the Tlacochahuaya church
11:00 AM: Concert in San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya, João Vaz
1:00 PM: Comida in the “Donají” restaurant, Mitla
Visits to unrestored organs: San Dionisio Ocotepec and Santa María de la Asunción Tlacolula (table organ)
Visit to the Tlacolula market (on your own), bread and chocolate by the church
6:00 PM: Concert in Santa María Tlacolula, Craig Cramer
Farewell dinner in Tlacolula 8:00 – 9:30 PM
10:30 PM: Return to Oaxaca

February 24 (Monday) (optional for Festival participants)
10:00 AM: Guided visit of the archeological site of Monte Albán with Dr. Marcus Winter (INAH)
2:00 PM: Return to Oaxaca

All departures from in front of the Museo de Filatelia (MUFI), Reforma 504.

The concerts are free, except the concert in the Oaxaca Cathedral ($100 pesos). If you would prefer to attend the concert only and not participate in the programmed activities, you may buy your ticket during Registration in the MUFI or at the door of the church just before the concert.

CLICK HERE to see photos of the organs and the churches that we will visit.


February 18 (Tuesday)
Registration, inauguration, reception
Tickets for the concert in the Cathedral ($100 pesos) will be distributed to Festival participants during Registration.

February 19 (Wednesday) includes:
(Presentation in the Burgoa Library, Cicely Winter)
Transportation to Teitipac and Huayapam (Tlacolula Valley)
Visit to the unrestored organ and 16th c. mural painting in San Juan Teitipac,
Visit to the church and unrestored organ in San Andrés Huayapam
Midday dinner in Huayapam
Organists may play the Jalatlaco organ or visit the historic tree and market in Sta. María del Tule
Concert in the Cathedral (preferred seating)
Foreigners $75 USD, Mexicans and permanent foreign residents in Oaxaca $50 USD/ $1000 MXN

February 20 (Thursday) includes:
All day transportation to the Mixteca Alta
Visits to four unrestored organs and church tours in Coixtlahuaca, Teotongo, and Tamazulapan
Concert in Tamazulapan
Midday dinner in Tamazulapan
Concert in Jalatlaco (free)
Foreigners $120 USD, Mexicans and permanent foreign residents in Oaxaca $80 USD/ $1600 MXN

February 21 (Friday) includes:
All day transportation to the Mixteca Alta
Visits to three unrestored organs in Santiago Ixtaltepec, San Mateo Yucucui, and Santa María Tiltepec (tour)
Comida in ex Hacienda Santa Marta
Concert in La Soledad (free)
Foreigners $120 USD, Mexicans and permanent foreign residents in Oaxaca $80 USD/ $1600 MXN

February 22 (Saturday) includes:
All day transportation to the Mixteca Alta
Visits to two unrestored organs in Santa María Tinú and San Andrés Sinaxtla
Guided tour of the Yanhuitlán church
Sack lunch
Concerts in Yanhuitlán and Zautla
Fiesta and dinner in Zautla
Foreigners $170 USD, Mexicans and permanent foreign residents in Oaxaca $120 USD/$2400 MXN

February 23 (Sunday) includes:
All day transportation to the Tlacolula Valley
Guided tour of the Tlacochahuaya church
Concerts in Tlacochahuaya and Tlacolula (free)
Buffet lunch in Mitla
Visits to the unrestored organs in San Dionisio Ocotepec and Santa María Tlacolula
Fiesta and dinner in Tlacolula
Foreigners $170 USD, Mexicans and permanent foreign residents in Oaxaca $120 USD/ $2400 MXN

February 24 (optional) includes:
Transportation to and from Monte Alban
Entrance fee
Guided tour
Foreigners $60 USD, Mexicans and permanent foreign residents in Oaxaca $50 USD/ $1000 MXN

The participation fees include the expenses indicated above, as well as:
Festival organization
Registration and reception
Organ repairs, tuning, and maintenance
Donations to churches with unrestored organs
Scholarships for Mexican organists
Expenses and fees of guest organists

NOTE: For the sake of convenience, we are using the exchange rate of 20 pesos = 1 USD. You will be notified if there is a significant change by the time of the Festival.



To reserve a place in the Festival, please fill out the form and click to email it to the IOHIO office. We will then confirm your total participation fee. Payment will be accepted after Jan. 1, 2020. Please submit a separate form for each participant even if you are traveling together.

I would like to sign up for the activities on the following days (indicate corresponding price on the line):
  Foreigners/Mexicans, Residents/ Pesos
Feb. 19 $ 75 USD / $50 USD / $1000 MN

(I would like to play the Jalatlaco organ )
Feb. 20 $120 USD / $80 USD / $1600 MN
Feb. 21 $120 USD/ $80 USD / $1600 MN
Feb. 22 $170 USD / $120 USD / $2400 MN
Feb. 23 $170 USD / $120 USD / $2400 MN
Feb 24 $ 60 USD/ $50 USD / $1000 MN

Please indicate any special dietary needs here:





Hotels close to the Museo de Filatelia (MUFI), Reforma 504 (registration and trip departures):
Hotel Maela
Hotel Casa Vertiz
Hospedería la Reja
Hotel Casa de los Frailes
Hotel Casa Conzatti
Holiday Inn Express
Hotel Quinta Real
Hotel Golondrinas
(and many more)

Hotels that have supported the IOHIO
Hotel Parador San Agustín
Hostal de La Noria
Hotel Gala
Hotel de la Parra

There are many hotel options near the main square (zócalo) and the Santo Domingo church. Oaxaca is a very walkable city and easy to navigate since it’s laid out on a grid.


The State of Oaxaca is in southern Mexico; its capital, the city of Oaxaca, is located in an extensive and culturally rich Y-shaped valley that has an elevation of around 5,100 ft. (1555 meters) above sea level. As a result, the tropical climate is moderated considerably; February temperatures average a high of around 80 °F (26 °C) and a low of around 56 °F (13 °C) with a minimal chance of rain.

The city of Oaxaca has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has many beautiful churches and buildings dating from colonial times and a diverse cultural component provided by the various indigenous groups that reside in the state. It is known for the quality and variety of handicrafts produced in the area and considered an important center of contemporary art. As a result, tourism is one of the main industries in the state, and the population welcomes visitors with enthusiasm and courteousness. Many Oaxacans in the tourist industry speak at least some English.

The Valley of Oaxaca had three branches; agriculture and handicrafts are the primary occupations of the villages throughout the valley. Two of the tours in the Festival will visit the eastern branch, the Valley of Tlacolula. Three other tours will pass through the western valley on the way to the Mixteca Alta, a more mountainous region in the northwest region of the state. Participants will have free time on several days to explore the city.

The city of Oaxaca and the towns we will visit during the Festival are completely safe. It is true that there are major security issues in the north, but remember that the country of Mexico is large and diverse and what happens up north has not affected Oaxaca. It’s like assuming that the problems in San Diego would similarly affect Seattle.

That being said, it’s important to use common sense, especially when you are on your own in Oaxaca City or the markets, independent of festival activities.
* Use kangaroo pouches or purses with diagonal straps
* Do not carry valuables in backpacks or back pockets
* Leave passports and credit cards in your hotel room, and take copies with you
* Keep your cell phone close to you


Passports are required from all countries and you will be issued a tourist card upon arrival in Mexico, which must be turned in upon departure (don’t throw it away!). We advise you to carry a copy of your passport with you and leave your original hidden in your suitcase or safe in your hotel.


When you arrive at the Oaxaca airport, take the airport transportation to your hotel (costs around $6.00 USD in the group van).
Whenever transportation is included in the Festival fees, participants will be taken to the event in comfortable, air-conditioned sprinters driven by professional drivers. The historical center of the city is small and quite walkable and taxis are relatively inexpensive, so participants can easily reach the Festival activities held in the city on their own.


The weather will be warm and sunny at midday and cool in the evenings. It may be even cooler in some of the churches in the Mixteca Alta, so bring layers of clothing. Please remember that you will be visiting churches in traditional communities, so please no short shorts or tank tops.
The sun is more direct than in North America and Europe, so bring sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat (or buy one in the market) or visor. Also important are flat shoes (sneakers, sandals) for climbing up the stone spiral staircases to the choir lofts and walking on cobblestone streets.


Do not drink the water from the tap in your hotel. Plastic bottles of purified water are easily available, although hopefully can be avoided. Our Festival events will provide clean water from large bottles (garafones) from which you can fill up your thermoses (bring one or buy a IOHIO thermos when you arrive). We are trying to reduce single use plastic as much as possible during this festival.

If you have a delicate stomach, you could take preventative acidophilus or probiotics to reinforce your intestinal flora. Lomotil or Imodium are easily available in Oaxacan pharmacies. Restaurants try to be very careful - after all, they depend on tourism - but nevertheless, you will be in a different ecological zone. Do not eat street food! A doctor will accompany us on all field trips.

Our field trips will take us on curvy mountainous roads, so if you are prone to car sickness, you can bring Dramamine or buy it here. The altitude in the Oaxaca Valley is around 5000 ft./1500 m. and in the Mixteca Alta 7500 ft./2250 m.


There are ATMs all over the city. Make sure your bank and credit card companies know you will be out of the country so they don’t suspect fraud and deactivate your cards when you start taking out money.
Credit cards are welcome in all the major tourist hotels, restaurants, and shops. However, cash in USD may be a problem in the outlying communities and you should always have pesos on hand. The customary tip in restaurants is 12% - 15% depending on the formality.