Mad about pipes! The world of the organ in 12 steps.

Introduction :The organ explained

Elbphilharmonie Organ

The Elbphilharmonie Organ : Facts to brag with

• 4,765 pipes
• Total weight: 25 metric tons
• Dimensions: 15 x 15 metres
• Smallest pipe: 11 millimetres long
• Longest pipe: 10 metres high
• Maximum air consumption: 180 cubic metres per minute

More Insider Knowledge

A look behind the scenes : Welcome to the pipe workshop!

Organ builder Philipp Klais and his team invested some 25,000 man-hours in building the Elbphilharmonie organ. A visit to the workshop of the family firm in Bonn.

Thomas Cornelius in the swell box. The wooden shutters used to regulate the dynamics can be seen in the background.

Elbphilharmonie explains : How come? What for? Why?

What does the organ have in common with a barber's chair? And why are there so many pipes? These and other questions are answered in six entertaining episodes by Thomas Cornelius, who also shows what the Elbphilharmonie organ is capable of.

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Live! :Organ concerts in the Elbphilharmonie

Wayne Marshall

Live stream : Genius at the console

Britain's Wayne Marshall can do church music and jazz, Bach and Broadway – and he is a world-class improviser. On 2 November he created music live based on themes by Ludwig van Beethoven und Leonard Bernstein.

Watch the concert stream
The Elbphilharmonie organ

Concert Series : The world's organ elite in Hamburg

Organists from all over the world are queueing up to play on the Elbphilharmonie organ. They can be heard live in the »Orgel pur« series. Among their number is Stephen Tharp, »the best organist in America«, and the fantastic Iveta Apkalna, titular organist at the Elbphilharmonie.

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Orgel Day

100% Organ : Organ Day

How does an organ work? And what special effects can the instrument produce? Answers are available at our annual »Organ Day«.

Listening tips

Elbphilharmonie Organ

For beginners : The Top 7 organ hits

They are sacred, monstrous, intoxicating: these organ works made music history.

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For advanced listeners : New works for the organ!

»Contemporary composers should write for this fantastic organ!« Iveta Apkalna has been pursuing this vision since the Elbphilharmonie was opened. One highlight: the first performance of Pēteris Vasks's »Veni Domine«. Moving, spiritual music by one of today's most often-performed composers.

For the hard-bitten : The unplayable

Eight and a half hours playing time, 300 A3 pages of score, difficulty level: unplayable. The Second Organ Symphony by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, a composer of mixed Parsi-English ancestry, is nothing short of an imposition – and a truly mad masterpiece. British organist Kevin Bowyer risks a performance of this experimental work in the Elbphilharmonie.

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Queen of the organ :Iveta Apkalna is titular organist at the Elbphilharmonie

Who is Iveta Apkalna? : The face of the organ

She is a »true shining light«, the face of the Elbphilharmonie organ: Iveta Apkalna is one of the world's leading organists. She was responsible for testing the Elbphilharmonie organ, has given many acclaimed concerts here, and has infected concertgoers with her own enthusiasm. Her constant companion is a little red bag…

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6 little sweeties : Chocolates for the ear

Chief organist Iveta Apkalna knows that chocolate warms the heart. This prompted her to create her own personal box of chocolates containing six musical titbits: favourite pieces that warm the mind and the soul. From 5 November on, discover a new piece every week.

Open the box of chocolates
Iveta Apkalna

Elbphilharmonie Session : Welcome to the living room!

»I feel very much at home in this large, round hall, where people look at you from all directions«, says Iveta Apkalna. »It's like being in a huge living room.« She recorded the iridescent work »Lux aeterna« by her countryman Aivars Kalējs in the Grand Hall.

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More stories

Elbphilharmonie Sessions: Elbtonal Percussion
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Video on demand from 15 Jan 2021 : Elbphilharmonie Sessions: Elbtonal Percussion

They’ve got their sticks ready and are raring to go: Elbtonal Percussion is making the best of the hard lockdown and heading to the Elbphilharmonie – with (almost) boundless possibilities!

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons
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Video on demand from 13 Jan 2018 : Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons

In remembrance of a legendary conductor: Mariss Jansons plays Strauss and Prokofiev.

Elbphilharmonie Kopfhörer #04 – The World of Instruments

The Elbphilharmonie podcast for young people aged 8 and upwards.