Thomas Ospital

Elbphilharmonie Innerview: Thomas Ospital

»We are constantly reinventing ourselves«: organist Thomas Ospital about the special features of his instrument and the art of listening.

The series: Innerviews

Inwards – in the »Elbphilharmonie Innerviews«, artists explore the Elbphilharmonie in their own unique ways, letting their thoughts run free. The result: special insights into the spaces of the concert hall and a rare opportunity to get to know the artists personally beyond the stage.

»We organists are really the adventurers among musicians,« says Thomas Ospital. In this Elbphilharmonie Innerview he talks about the individuality of every organ, about the art of listening, and why organists are constantly reinventing themselves.

The Elbphilharmonie’s »Innerviews« series is supported by our Principal Sponsor Julius Bär.

Elbphilharmonie Innerview with Thomas Ospital

In dialogue :Encounters with new instruments

»Every time I arrive at a new venue to give a concert, I feel a kind of unrest and excitement,« Thomas Ospital says. – He doesn't just get to know a new place or a new concert hall, he also sits down to play a new and unfamiliar instrument every time.

As often as not, he only has a few hours time to familiarise himself with the organ in question and its special features. »That's why we constantly have to reinvent ourselves and adapt our playing,« the young Frenchman explains. The art is to listen: »You need to listen very carefully to what the organ is telling you, so that you don't end up fighting it, but conducting a dialogue with it.«

Thomas Ospital Thomas Ospital © Daniel Dittus

»You can never force an organ to do anything.«

Thomas Ospital

A present-day organ

As part of the Hamburg International Music Festival, the Basque organist made his debut at the Elbphilharmonie organ on 8 May 2022: nearly 5,000 pipes, 15 metres by 15, weighing some 25 tons - »and definitely a 21st century organ,« says Ospital with pleasure. He had the  chance to explore the many modern details of the organ in the Grand Hall. »It offers almost boundless possibilities for contemporary music and improvisation,« he says.


»This enormous flexibility of such a modern instrument almost makes you forget that it is an organ.«

Thomas Ospital


Thomas Ospital learned his virtuoso technique at the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris under leading organists like Olivier Latry and Thierry Escaich. He played his way into the hearts of Hamburg music lovers with his first notes. He has long since made a name for himself in France as one of the country's organ stars: wherever the young keyboard virtuoso performs, he garners thunderous applause. For just as he listens with an open mind to each new organ, hitting the keys sensitively and carefully, he also makes his audience listen to every organ with new ears.

Text: Julika von Werder; last updated: 23 May 2022
Traslation: Clive Williams

Thomas Ospital Thomas Ospital © Daniel Dittus
Thomas Ospital Thomas Ospital © Daniel Dittus
Thomas Ospital Thomas Ospital © Daniel Dittus
Thomas Ospital Thomas Ospital © Daniel Dittus

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