NOSPR Katowice
(c) Remy Franck

One of the largest organs to be built in a European concert hall in recent times will be inaugurated in a special concert in Katowice, Poland, on Friday 13 January. Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen directs the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) and soloist Iveta Apklana in the world premiere of his new 25-minute Organ Concerto. The concerto is co-commissioned by NOSPR, Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonie de Paris, Los Angeles Philharmonic and NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra.

The concert launches a weekend of events to celebrate the monumental new organ.

The new instrument has over a million parts, more than 7000 pipes and 105 stops, measuring 13 meters high, 9 wide and 6 deep (a volume of 150 m2, equivalent to a single-story house). It has an integral console with four manuals and a dual electro-mechanical action, as well as a mobile console of five consoles which can be used alongside an orchestra anywhere on the stage.

Škrabl organ Katowice
© Jacek Poremba/ NOSPR

Under construction since April 2017, and the largest instrument ever built by the Slovenian organ builders Škrabl, the new organ has cost €4,5 million

Built in the French Symphonic style, Škrabl was inspired by both the instruments in Rouen Cathedral and Notre-Dame de Paris. The basic modelling follows the broad concept of the pioneering and distinguished organ builder Cavaillé-Coll in the late 19th century.

The new organ is the crowning glory of the 1800-seat NOSPR concert hall in Katowice, home to the National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Poland and has become widely regarded as one of the finest concert halls in Europe since its opening in 2014.

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