The new organ in the parish of St. Martin’s in Kassel is one of the world’s largest and most modern instruments for the production of New Music. Known as the “hyper organ”, it combines age-old traditions with ultra-new technology: a quarter-tone keyboard, flexible wind regulation, accordion reed tongues and possible integration of percussion instruments allow musicians to perform a broad spectrum of classical and contemporary music. The organ can even play tonal systems which exist outside of Western cultural circles.
The Organ Festival 2017 celebrated the inauguration of this extraordinary instrument with a concert series, improvisations and performances. The participating performers were some of the best in the international organ scene, such as Bernhard Haas, Hans Fidom and Hampus Lindwall. The festival also ventured into new musical terrain with eight world premieres by such composers as Sergeji Newski (Russia), Christian Wolff (Canada) and Marco Stroppa (Italy). These commissioned works provided new impulses for the organ scene and lead to follow-up workshops and concert programmes. Other event formats featured St. Martin’s organ in musical dialogue with school orchestras, big bands and percussion ensembles. The festival also encouraged exchange with viewers of the documenta 14, which took place at the same time. The international conference “Society of Friends of the Organ” addressed and discussed the topic of “hyper organs” in further depth.
Artistic director: Eckhard Manz
Dramaturgy/artists: Frank Gerhardt, Bernhard Haas, Daniel Glaus (CH), Hans-Ola Ericsson (CA), Martin Sander, Hans Fidom (NL), Hampus Lindwall (SE)