Video on demand from 10 Apr 2020
available until 10 Apr 2025

Elbphilharmonie Sessions: Iveta Apkalna

Aivars Kalējs' »Lux aeterna« from the Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall.

The Artist

Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna has made it her mission to bring the splendour of the organ out of its church setting and into major concert halls. As titular organist of the Elbphilharmonie she gives the instrument a face, supervised the initial tuning and sits at the organ console herself for many concerts, be it solo recitals or orchestral concerts. Thus she appeared at the inaugural concerts in January 2017, gave the first solo recital on the organ in the Grand Hall shortly after that, and also recorded the first CD of the Elbphilharmonie organ entitled »Light & Dark«.

»I feel very much at home in this great round hall, where people look at the performers from all directions – it's like being in a huge living room.«

Iveta Apkalna

Iveta Apkalna Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Techniker / Session Iveta Apkalna Techniker / Session Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna / Großer Saal Iveta Apkalna / Großer Saal © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Session Iveta Apkalna Session Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Session Iveta Apkalna / Technik Session Iveta Apkalna / Technik © Daniel Dittus
Der mobile Spieltisch der Elbphilharmonie-Orgel Der mobile Spieltisch der Elbphilharmonie-Orgel © Daniel Dittus
Session Iveta Apkalna / Großer Saal Session Iveta Apkalna / Großer Saal © Daniel Dittus
Session Iveta Apkalna / Noten Session Iveta Apkalna / Noten © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Session Iveta Apkalna / Großer Saal Session Iveta Apkalna / Großer Saal © Daniel Dittus
Session Iveta Apkalna / Mobiler Spieltisch Session Iveta Apkalna / Mobiler Spieltisch © Daniel Dittus
Session Iveta Apkalna / Großer Saal Session Iveta Apkalna / Großer Saal © Daniel Dittus

The Music :Aivars Kalējs: Lux aeterna

Iveta Apkalna is a keen supporter of contemporary music. The Baltic states have been the source of some remarkable organ music in past decades, as the Latvian cultural ambassdor shows with a work by her countryman Aivars Kalējs. The Riga Cathedral organist wrote his piece »Lux aeterna« in 2005 in memory of Olivier Messiaen, one of the most important 20th century composers. Rising and falling melodic arcs and radiant chords recall the iridescent music of Messiaen, who saw notes as colours and vice versa.

The Location

It's the pulsating heart of the Elbphilharmonie: the Grand Hall. Its 2,100 seats are arranged according to the vineyard principle:  the stage lies at the centre of the hall and is surrounded by rows of seating that ascend like the terraces of a vineyard. Over the stage hangs a large sound reflector.

Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall

Videos: The Elbphilharmonie Organ

How does the Elbphilharmonie organ work? Why so many registers? How is the sound produced?

About the series

Artists record exclusive music videos at the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle for Elbphilharmonie Sessions – sometimes in unusual locations offstage. Discover the concert halls from the inside. Discover what they sound like.

Text: Laura Etspüler, last updated 10 April 2020

More stories

Play Video

: Deichkind: Sounds of Elbphilharmonie

For Fynn Kliemann’s online series »Sounds Of«, the Hamburg band has knocked up a new song – featuring sounds from the Elbphilharmonie.

Ensemble Resonanz: Concertos und Caprices

An Italian programme in the Recital Hall: a concert stream with Riccardo Minasi and violin virtuoso Ilya Gringolts. Available from 26 February 2021, 19:30.

Play Video

: Martha Argerich / Symphoniker Hamburg

The world-famous pianist and the orchestra that she enjoys a close connection with present works by Ravel and Beethoven. On the conductor's rostrum: Sylvain Cambreling. Video from 19 Feb 2021.