The Organfestival 2013 takes place from Friday 21 - Saturday 29 June 2013. Main location will be the Grote Sint Laurenskerk In Alkmaar. The festival is dedicated to the composer Johann Sebastian Bach, with the emphasis on his cantatas and organ works.
The festival will consist of a series of concerts, the 10th International Schnitger Organ Competition and the Organ Academy, for which participants from all over the world can apply.
The festival starts off by drawing attention to Bach as a young virtuoso. Via Lübeck, Weissenfels and Hamburg the public will at the end of the festival finally arrive in Leipzig. At the final concert the international jury will play the "Great Organ Mass" from Bach’s third part of the Clavierübung (1739) , alternated with vocal chorals. Bach, who had initially been strongly influenced by the Northern-German masters Böhm, Reincken and Buxtehude, developed his own style while in Weimar. The study of Italian and French examples soon gave his work a European flavour.
Ever since the famous German organist Helmut Walcha chose the Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger organ as the instrument for his Bach recordings in the 1950’s, the organ in Alkmaar enjoys a worldwide reputation as a Bach-organ. Frans Caspar Schnitger renovated the organ in 1725 when Bach was 40 years old. Schnitger conceived an instrument which posseses a brilliant full organ, as well as an extensive range of musical colours which was new at the time. The thirteen reeds that have been preserved deserve a special mention. The Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger-organ has a number of trumpets in its specification and other beautiful sounds such as the exotic Viola di Gamba, the Hautbois en the Bassoon. Bach, who was very fond of reeds, would certainly have appreciated the instrument in Alkmaar.
BACH Unlimited is also the theme of the 10th edition of the international organ competition. The grand-masters’s compositions form the heart of the repertoire. It will be a great challenge for the young participants to show their artistic view of Bach’s work on these wonderful historic organs.
Apart from Bach’s fenomenal organworks, the opening weekend will pay tribute to his chamber-music with a special concert by the Ensemble Schönbrunn. At the opening concert Bach cantatas will be played by the Sweelinck Baroque Orchestra, which consists of young music students of the Amsterdam School of Music.
Dansstudio Flex will take care of a special dance performance to the organmusic for 4 hands from the First Suite for Orchestra.
It is traditional for the Regional Youth Orchestra Artiance to perform on the Thursday-night of the Festival, together with the Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger-organ, alternated by dance- and theatrical performances by the young people of Artiance, the centre for the arts.
Spread over the week are four lectures which will relate to the Bach works as performed.
While the competition takes place, an organ academy will be held simultaneously, with master classes and workshops. The Academy might be regarded as a refresher course for those students who during their regular studies have little opportunity to meet with historical organs and/or would like to specialize in playing these instruments.
Masterclasses and workshops take place in the Grote Sint Laurenskerk with its two world famous organs, the Van Covelens-organ (1511) and the Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger-organ (1646/1725) ; also on the beautiful Müller-organs of the Lutheran Church (1755) and the Kapelkerk (1762) in Alkmaar and of the Grote Kerk in Beverwijk (1756) A unique chance to gather knowledge and experience of these top-instruments!
The "Bach Weekend".
On Friday 21st of June the festival kicks off at the Cheese- market on the Waagplein. Afterwards the cheese- market visitors and others will walk through the town to the Grote Sint Laurenskerk to listen to the Cheese-market Concert. Later the first round of the organ competition starts in the church, followed up on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
On Saturday afternoon the traditional Organ crawl will take place with Willem Poot, who will take you from the Kapelkerk to the Lutheran Church and finally the Remonstrantse Kerk.
Saturday night the opening concert takes place in the Grote Sint Laurenskerk. The Sweelinck Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Kees Koelemans, will play two Bach Cantatas, with Lenneke Ruiten- soprano, Sophia Patsi-alt and Pieter van Dijk, organ.
Sunday afternoon the Ensemble Schönbrunn performs in the Lutheran Church, with Marten Root (traverso), Viola de Hoog (baroque cello)and Menno van Delft (harpsichord).
Afterwards there is a dance performance “Dancing Bach” by young dancers of Dance Studio Flex, led by Lizette Visser.
The weekend will be concluded in the Grote Sint Laurenskerk with a program around "Bach’s Orgelbüchlein” with the organists Pieter van Dijk and Frank van Wijk.
Organ concerts, Academy, continuation organ competition and Youth Concert.
During the week there will be various concerts, the academy takes off, the competition will be continued and there will be the special youth performances.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the participants of the competition and of the academy play lunchtime concerts in the Ter Coulsterkerk in Heiloo.
On Monday- and Wednesday evening jury members Arvid Gast, Daniël Zaretsky, Theo Jellema and Jörg-Andreas Bötticher will play.They continue the cycle of Bach’s organ works, launched at the weekend, under the name “Bach Unlimited”.
Thursday night the organ by tradition belongs to the young people. Together with Artiance Centre for the Arts, and the Regional Youth Orchestra Artiance conducted by Otto de Jong, some 100 young people will bring a program of music, dance and theatre around the organs of the Grote Sint Laurenskerk and some of them will actually play the organs.
Friday, after the cheese- market there is again an extended Cheese- market concert by Gerben Gritter, winner of the organ competition in 2005, followed by a lecture in the Lutheran Church about he organ builder Christiaan Müller. In the evening the finale of the organ competition takes place, when the three finalists will compete for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize.
The festival will be concluded on Saturday the 29th of June with two concerts and a lecture. Early afternoon the academy participants play a concert in the Grote Sint Laurenskerk, later that afternoon there is a lecture in the Kapelkerk by Prof. Dr. Albert Clement about the Clavierübung, to be performed that night.
Saturday night the final concert will be held in the Grote Sint Laurenskerk. The organists Jörg-Andreas Bötticher, Arvid Gast, Daniël Zaretsky, Pieter van Dijk and Frank van Wijk will play Bach’s Great Organ Mass together with the Amsterdam Vocal Ensemble Duodektet, led by Christiaan Winter.
For a detailed look at the program see: