To be able to look over Olivier Latry's shoulder, to listen to French Suites in Couperin's church or sit on Olivier Messiaen's organ bench in La Trinité – the organ trip to Paris with Kulturbüro ORGANpromotion from 4 to 8 april 2018 was rich in such high points. For five whole days everything centred round the queen of instruments, of which there are especially many to discover in Paris. In the week after Easter 40 participants from Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, France, Great Britain, Mexico, Switzerland and the Netherlands were able to experience numerous recitals, view instruments and get to know their resident organists.. Each morning there gathered a colourful group, led by Michael Grüber and Christa Stiegenroth, of church musicians,, students and organ fans aged between 17 and 80 set off on their organ pilgrimage through Paris. Included in the group was the winner of the competition for church service organ playing organised by the Association for Protestant Church Music in Württemberg, which took place in the summer of 2017 in Ludwigsburg. This is the third time that Michael Grueber has donated such a trip as a prize to the winner.
For 19 years now, Michael Grüber has been organising themed organ trips to Paris. In 2018 the world of music is celebrating the 350th birthday of Francois Couperin. So, for this reason the main theme this year was „French Baroque Music and the French Baroque Organ“. Further themes were: Charles Gounod (200th birthday), René Vierne (100th anniversary of his death), Jeanne Demessieux (50th anniversary of death) and in special memory of Pierre Pincemaille, who died on 12th January this year..
When thinking of Couperin we could not fail to visit St. Gervais. This is where he worked his whole life as organist – as did other members of his family. Aude Heurtematte demonstrated the richness of sound colours on the reeds in a recital. For some participants there was the opportunity after that to receive tuition from the organist and Professor. Also very impressive was the visit to St. Sulpice. Resident organist Daniel Roth presented the Great Organ and the Choir organ. Both instruments were by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, and both Widor and Dupré played on them. Everywhere in the churches of Paris you can't help coming across the footsteps of great composers and virtuosos. Organ viewings led us to places in which Messiaen, Gounod and René Vierne were active. There was also the unforgettable visit to th house organ of Duruflé. On the final day was the visit to Notre Dame. Participants were allowed to sit in the organ loft beneath the Spanish trumpets and watch and listen to Olivier Latry improvising.
With its more than 600 churches containing large and small instruments, Paris will continue to offer much to discover. The Organ Trip for 2019 is devoted to Louis J. A. Lefébure-Wély, that of 2020 to Louis Vierne. Information on these trips from www.ORGANpromotion.org