Iveta Apkalna at the electronic console
Video on demand from 10 Apr 2020
available until 10 Apr 2025

Elbphilharmonie Sessions: Iveta Apkalna

Aivars Kalējs’s »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 voicing 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
Technicians / Session Iveta Apkalna Technicians / Session Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna / Grand Hall Iveta Apkalna / Grand Hall © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna at the electronic console Iveta Apkalna at the electronic console © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Session Iveta Apkalna Session © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Session / Technical equipment Iveta Apkalna Session / Technical equipment © Daniel Dittus
The Elbphilharmonie organ’s mobile console The Elbphilharmonie organ’s mobile console © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Session / Grand Hall Iveta Apkalna Session / Grand Hall © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Session / Sheet music Iveta Apkalna Session / Sheet music © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Iveta Apkalna © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Session / Grand Hall Iveta Apkalna Session / Grand Hall © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Session / Mobile console Iveta Apkalna Session / Mobile console © Daniel Dittus
Iveta Apkalna Session / Grand Hall Iveta Apkalna Session / Grand Hall © 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.

Der Große Saal der Elbphilharmonie
Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall © Gilda Fernandez

Elbphilharmonie Explains: 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 the 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 Apr 2020

Mediatheque : More stories

Play Video

: Rebecca Saunders – A Portrait

On a perpetual expedition into the unknown, with an unmistakeable signature – a portrait of one of the most successful composers of our time.

Live gaming concert: »Let’s Play«
Play Video

Video on demand from 13 Feb 2024 : Live gaming concert: »Let’s Play«

Gaming with live music: the successful streamer Staiy plays live in the Grand Hall – accompanied by an orchestra and a Foley artist.

Play Video

: Elbphilharmonie Explains: The composer Luigi Nono

»You can’t escape his music« – The musicologist Prof. Friedrich Geiger on Luigi Nono and his fascinating, politically relevant music.