One of the largest new instruments to be built in a European concert hall in recent times will be inaugurated in a special concert in Katowice, Poland, on Friday 13 January.


Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen will direct the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) and soloist Iveta Apklana in the world premiere of his new 25-minute Organ Concerto, co-commissioned by NOSPR, Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonie de Paris, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.

The new instrument has over a million parts, more than 7000 pipes and 105 stops, and measures 13 metres high, nine metres wide and six metres deep. That gives it a volume of 150 square metres, roughly equivalent to a single-storey house.

Under construction since April 2017, and the largest instrument ever built by the Slovenian organ builders Škrabl, the new organ has cost 20.6m Polish Złoty (PLN), roughly £3.9 million.

The organ is built in the French Symphonic style, and is inspired by the instruments in Rouen Cathedral and Notre-Dâme de Paris. The basic modelling follows the broad concepts set down by the pioneering 19th-century organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. To these concepts, however, it adds cutting-edge technology such as electromagnetic, electronic and fibre-optic systems.


The new organ makes a grand addition to Katowice's 1,800-seat NOSPR concert hall, which opened in 2014 and serves as home to the National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Poland.


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.