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

Introduction :The organ explained

Elbphilharmonie Organ

The Elbphilharmonie organ : Facts to Gloat About

• 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 at the Elbphilharmonie

Wayne Marshall

Live stream : Genius at the console

Brit Wayne Marshall can play church music and jazz, Bach and Broadway – and he is a world-class improviser. On 2 November he created live music based on themes by Ludwig van Beethoven and 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 »Simply Organ« series. Among their number is Stephen Tharp, »the best organist in America«, and the fantastic Iveta Apkalna, titular organist at the Elbphilharmonie.

Browse the concert series programme
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«.

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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 cynics : The Unplayable

Eight and a half hours playing time, 300 A3 pages of score, difficulty level: unplayable. The Organ Symphony No. 2 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 at 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 chocolates : Pralines for the Ear

Titular 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 at the electronic console

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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Mediatheque : More stories

Play Video

: Hamburg International Music Festival

From 6 May to 6 June 2021 the digital music festival offers a wide range of top concerts from the Elbphilharmonie.

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Live stream in
on 17 May 2021 at 20:00 :
Xilin Wang: Music by a Survivor

2021 festival: Unter the baton of Johannes Kalitzke, the Hamburg-based Ensemble Resonanz plays a symphony by the revolutionary freethinker in an atmospheric concert stream.

Handel: Israel in Egypt
Play Video

Video on demand from 16 May 2021 : Handel: Israel in Egypt

2021 festival: Thomas Hengelbrock and his Balthasar Neumann ensembles perform Handel’s mighty oratorio.