Berliner Philharmoniker

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50th Organ Anniversary

A birthday concert for the Berlin Philharmonie organ, which was first heard 50 years ago. Gunnar Idenstam will play the birthday songs. He is a prize winner of the renowned Grand Prix de Chartres and one of the most unusual organists of our time. The Swede is a superb organist and improviser, as well as a brilliant arranger; at this concert he will present orchestral works he has arranged for organ and percussion, as well as solo works.

Gunnar Idenstam Organ


Lukas Böhm Percussion, Ni Fan Percussion

Maurice Ravel

La Valse (arr. for organ)

Michael Praetorius

Four Dances from Terpsichore: Ballet in g, Bransle de la Torche, Spagnoletta and Bransle La Gilotte (arr. for organ and percussion)

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV 541

Jean-Baptiste Lully

Marche des combatants, Bourrée du Mariage forcé, Chaconne de lʼAmour médecin and Air de ballet (arr. for organ and percussion)

Maurice Ravel

Lever du jour from Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2 (arr. for organ)

Maurice Ravel

Pavane pour une infante défunte (arr. for organ)

Maurice Ravel

Boléro (arr. for organ and percussion)

All arrangements by Gunnar Idenstam

Dates and Tickets

Sun, 22 Nov 2015 11 a.m.

Philharmonie – Karl Schuke Organ

Introduction: 10:00 am


Two years after the Philharmonie, which opened in 1963, the organ in the great concert hall will celebrate its 50th birthday. Designed by Karl Schuke’s renowned Berlin organ building workshop, it “slumbered” for many years. This changed in 2008, however, when the Orgel concert series was launched. Since then the great organ virtuosi of our time have been pulling all the stops their musicianship enables. Recently, the “queen of the instruments”, which suits the neo-Baroque sound ideal, was renovated and expanded in terms of sound, including three “romantic” registers and the “tuba en chamade” with bells protruding horizontally from the façade. But the console experienced the most important change: it now meets today’s standard in digital technology and provides comprehensive electronic playing aids.

For the anniversary concert, one of the most unusual organists of our time will sit at this console: the Swede Gunnar Idenstam, prizewinner of the renowned Grand Prix de Chartres. Idenstam is not only a superb organist and improviser, but also a brilliant arranger whose speciality is setting symphonic works for his instrument. In this concert he will present arrangements for organ and percussion. Besides Baroque dances from less known ballets by Michael Praetorius and Jean-Baptiste Lully, he has arranged well-known compositions by Maurice Ravel, including La Valse and Boléro, for this unusual instrumentation. Gunnar Idenstam can also be experienced as soloist with the Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV 541 by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Gunnar Idenstam

Karl Schuke Organ

The specifications of the organs in the Philharmonie

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