I have the best job in the world - as resident organist of Stavanger Concert Hall. Since its inauguration in 2013 I have constantly tried to re-invent the role of the instrument, in order to open it up to new audiences.
An important part of this role is to facilitate artistic creation and interaction. We have commissioned works and involved artists of various disciplines in collaborations.
The management of Stavanger konserthus has from the very beginning been willing to spend considerable resources on the organ activities. We are very proud and suggest this should be taken as an example to follow for concert halls all over the world. Few instruments or musical phenomena possess such a potential for fascination for a large audience as the thousand-years old pipe organ!
Our 65-stop Ryde & Berg instrument (Norwegian manufactured, proud about that too!) was inaugurated in February 2013 with a 3-day festival featuring the organ in all kinds of combinations, gathering more than 4000 people (!)
The ORGELFEST included a symphony orchestra, poets, actors and dancers, a choir, a Bach-relay of local organists, a rock band, a kids programme, a funky night club and a silent movie cinema - and of course, the finest international guest organists. The event was featured on Norwegian national television.
Since then it has been important to continuously develop programme series and concepts exploiting the organ's potential and appeal to various audience groups. In the media situation, nothing should be taken as granted and the ideas on outreach need to be redefined every year as times change.
The organ of Stavanger Konserthus had from the very start its own communication, its own distinctive voice. "The organ" has become familiar to Stavanger people as were it more or less a person. You will have an idea from looking at:
- the organ's youtube channel (check various playlists from our concert series)
- Stavanger konserthus' webpage (details on the instrument & current programme)
Of course we are immensely grateful to Stavanger Symphony Orchestra who let the organ shine several times a year, including international guest organists, symphonic repertoire, CD recordings etc.
The organ is also lent to educational activities in collaboration with the University in Stavanger, Faculty for Performing Arts
To mention a few elements of our own concert series (reflected in playlists on our youtube channel):
- International recital series
- Orgelnatt (twice a year since 2013)
- Messiaen Complete (2018)
- Ønskekonserten (Audience favourites concert, 2014-2020)
- Organ cinema (at least once a year since 2013)
- Various types of family programmes, including young organists
- Christmas concerts
- Guided tours of the organ including Play it yourself
- Open Organ (10 years celebration 2023) with 11 hours of activities