Orgelpark Research

At the Orgelpark, academic and artistic research are considered two sides of the same coin. Artistic research requires academic reflection. In 2008, the Orgelpark decided to start the Orgelpark Research Program. In 2010, it reinstated the Chair Organ Studies at VU University Amsterdam. Hans Fidom holds the chair at VU University and is responsible for the Orgelpark Research Activities.


Orgelpark Research Program

The Orgelpark Research Program focuses on music and music-making on organs. Each year, Orgelpark Research organizes about eight colloquia. In the first week of June, the annual International Orgelpark Symposium takes place. The results are documented in the e-book series Orgelpark Research Reports. These are published in collaboration with VU University Press. The Reports are available for free.


The Research Program started with a three-year project on Improvisation from 2008 until 2011. The specific sound of each organ flourishes optimally in music that is specifically made for that organ. This is one of the reasons that organists never have stopped improvising. How did the art of improvisation develop through the centuries, what relevance was ascribed to it by, say, musicians such as Johann Sebastian Bach, and how can improvisations best be analyzed? Answers to these and other questions are documented in Orgelpark Research Report #3.


Another aspect of the Orgelpark Research Program is the ongoing research into 15th and 16th century organ art, inspired by the Van Straten organ that was built by the organ building company Reil in 2012. This organ is an interpretation of the oldest Dutch organ, originally built in 1479 by Peter Gerritsz for the Nicolaïkerk at Utrecht. Orgelpark Research Report #4 contains background information and over one hour music played by major contributors to the Report, such as Harald Vogel.  


From 2012 until 2018, the main themes of the Orgelpark Research Program were the design and building of the Utopa Baroque Organ. This organ combines the sound concept of the organs Zacharias Hildebrandt built in Johann Sebastian Bach's time and region with digital technology. The latter provides access to the sound resources of the organ in ways previously unknown. The organ was inaugurated on March 21st 2018; Orgelpark Research Report #5/1 and Orgelpark Research Report #5/2 provide a detailed overview of the development of the instrument. 


Meanwhile, the Utopa Baroque Organ has been acclaimed internationally as a "hyperorgan". Hyperorgans are organs that offer more interfaces than just keys and stop knobs. Orgelpark Research addresses the implications regarding the making of and listening to old and new music. The goal of this project is to inspire musicians and other artists to develop new ways of making music, thereby positioning the organ in the 21st century.  



Organ Studies / VU University

The Chair Organ Musicology at VU University provides courses for both Bachelor and Master students. Furthermore, there is the possibility of doing a PhD research. In order to connect academic students and artistic students, the University organizes a bi-annual SummerCourse at the Orgelpark. The aim is to make them benefit from each other's talents and to broaden their perspectives.

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The Orgelpark originated from the ideals of the Utopa foundation.

With its own initiatives, the Utopa Foundation offers people space to develop their creative talents and further.

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