New concert hall organ at Gothenburg Symphony
Project management - Göteborg International Organ Academy
Making organ history
As of January 2018 the Gothenburg International Organ Academy sealed a historic agreement to build a new concert hall organ of the highest international dignity. By 2021 Gothenburg and the Gothenburg Symphony will be able, just in time for the city's 400th anniversary, to invite music lovers for organ experiences accompanied by a full symphony orchestra and singers who which has not previously been possible.
The existing organ at the Gothenburg concert hall dates from 1937 and was built by the Danish company Marcussen & Søn. Although it is an impressive example of the art of organ building from that time, it has never worked satisfactorily, since its size and design were not adapted to the room. A renovation in the 1980s made it possible to use it for a time, but since the beginning of the 2000s it has been unplayable.
A working concert organ would provide new musical opportunities for the internationally renowned concert hall and attract new visitors.
A preliminary study was conducted under the auspices of organ professor Hans Davidsson, artistic director of the Gothenburg International Organ Academy (GIOA), commissioned by the owner of the Concert Hall, the real estate company Higab in collaboration with the Gothenburg Symphony. The purpose of this study has been to investigate whether the organ could be restored to working condition, alternatively be rebuilt to meet the requirements for versatile use at a concert hall. A reference group has been formed, comprising members of the organizational bodies concerned as well as international experts in organ building. The reference group has, in dialogue with the project management, studied the various options for the concert hall organ, also seeking advice from experts in cultural heritage.
The result of the preliminary study showed that the optimal solution would be to build a new organ adapted to the concert hall. In such a project, new technology and knowledge can be used in the creation of an instrument that optimally fills the function of a concert hall organ in the Gothenburg Concert Hall.
The commission to build the new organ was won by the well-known Austrian organ building company Rieger Orgelbau. The estimated cost of the project, including building adjustments etc, is approximately €3.5 million.
All decisions concerning the construction of the symphonic concert organ have been sound-oriented, with a strong emphasis on the overall effect, a full, embracing and shimmering whole-length tonal palette in a very wide register from the tenderest to the most powerful of expressive sonorities. The organ will have solo voices that marry seamlessly with the instruments of the orchestra, and all sounding parts of the organ will be placed in the front of the organ room for the best possible acoustic effect. The sound of each individual pipe will be sculpted with the utmost care.
In 2021, the vision of the architect of the Concert Hall, Nils Einar Eriksson, who in the 1930s drafted the concert hall with an organ right next to the orchestra, will finally be realized. The sound of an organ merging with the Gothenburg Symphony as one body, will be heard for the first time, ever. Thus Gothenburg will soon be able to invite music lovers to enjoy the sound of a large organ accompanied by a full symphony orchestra and singers, an experience that has not previously been possible.