English Section

New organ for Polish Radio orchestra

13.01.2023 09:00
The newly built organ of the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) is set to be inaugurated in Katowice, southern Poland, on Friday.
Pixabay License
Pixabay LicenseImage by Holger Schué from Pixabay

A special concert features the world premiere of the Concerto for Organ and Orchestra by Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, under his baton.

The work was written especially for the occasion as a joint commission from the NOSPR, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonie de Paris, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the NDR Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany.

Iveta Apkalna from the Elbphilharmonie will appear as the soloist.

The organ took five years to build. It was built in Anton Škrabl’s workshop in Slovenia. It has over 1 million parts, more than 7,000 pipes, 108 stops and two consoles. It is 13 metres high, nine metres wide and six metres deep; its volume of 150 square metres is equivalent to that of a single-storey house.

Built in French symphonic style and modelled on the instruments at the Rouen Cathedral and Notre-Dâme in Paris, the instrument combines 19th-century organ-building ideas with cutting-edge 21st-century technology.

The BBC Music Magazine describes the new organ in Poland's Katowice as “one of the largest new instruments to be built in a European concert hall in recent times," adding that it “makes a grand addition to Katowice's 1,800-seat NOSPR concert hall, which opened in 2014 and serves as home to the National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Poland."

The overall concept of the instrument was devised by Polish organ virtuoso Julian Gembalski, in consultation with Tomasz Konior, the main architect of the NOSPR concert hall.

In addition to Salonen’s organ concerto, the programme of Friday’s concert includes Béla Bartók’s suite from the pantomime The Miraculous Mandarin and The Fourth Symphony by Polish composer Witold Lutosławski.


Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Agnieszka Bielawska.