Seminar since 1986
Since 1986 the French Organ Music Seminar has featured study seminars in Paris and other locations where participants hear and play some of the world's most magnificent instruments and receive instruction in the form of master classes, lectures, and performances from renowned organ teachers.
These seminars are planned for organists and organ lovers of all proficiency levels, and include performance practice, history, registration, and improvisation pertinent to the music being studied.
Although we return to many of the most popular locations, each seminar is different -
Walking is extensive, so bring your walking shoes. In Paris, we use the subway system, which contains long flights of stairs. In addition, there are stairways to all of the organ lofts, many of which are narrow.
If you have trouble walking or standing, please indicate when registering. For an extra fee a car service can be arranged.
Switzerland (5 days) July 9-
July 9,10: Two full days in the magnificent city of Zurich -
We can book your hotel July 8 so you can relax and get over jet lag. Visits to organs are punctuated with visits to the Old Town and the famous Bahnhofstrasse with boutiques and Swiss watches. Highlights of Zurich include the Kunsthaus, the Rietberg Museum, the Zoo, and breathtaking river cruises. Go on your own or with one of our assistants.
Organ visits with instruction and playing time include the magnificent late romantic organ of St. Anton Church and the fabulous Metzler organ in Grossmünster Cathedral. Organs in this church had a rocky beginning due to its infamous 16th century pastor, Ulrich Zwingli, known for destroying church organs. The austere Grossmünster still shudders with his influence, broken only by the chancel windows of Giacometti and the copper pipes of the organ. The acoustics are splendid, and the organ, according to Andreas Jost, organist of the cathedral, emits a "noble and transparent sound." We will also visit Fraumünster Church with the famous Chagall and Giacometti windows and the former Tonhalle organ in the Neumünsterkirche.
July 11: Travel by coach to Muri (population 7,591). The Abbey of Muri dominates the landscape. Frescoes, carvings, rich treasures, and paintings abound. The 3 main ornate organs are laid out in a voluptuous display of Baroque magnificence, meticulously restored between 1960 – 1970.
July 12: Bern, Switzerland's capital. Its Old Town has 6 kilometers of arcades, called the "longest weather-
Highlights include the Zentrum (Klee collection), the Einstein House, the Swiss Alps Museum, the Art Museum, the River Walk (with swimming), Bear Park, and the Houses of Parliament. We will play the exceptional Bossard/Goll organ in the Französische Kirche, the oldest church in Bern (1269). Built in 1991 (buffet 1828), this organ has 4 manuals and 89 ranks. We will also travel to the monastery of Bellelay in the village of Bellelay, with 2 Kuhn organs built with Bossard specifications.
July 13: Rommainmotier, home of Father Alain's organ. This exquisite little village (450 people), dating from 1216, has for many years offered a Summer Organ Academy.
Although surrounded by mountains, it contains several organs. Founded by Guy Bovet, the academy has hosted many notables, including Marie Claire Alain, Lionel Rogg, and Harald Vogel. Its new director is Tobias Willi.
Italy (10 days) July 13 -
July 13: A new adventure begins as we board our luxury coach in Rommainmotier at noon and drive 2 hours to the beautiful town of Chamonix, France in the heart of the region of Mont Blanc.
Here we will play the 1992 organ of St. Michael's Church, built by Grenoble organ builder Michel Giroud, with its 2 buffets surrounding the stained glass window overlooking the church square. Back on the bus around 3 pm we continue our enchanting ride through the Aosta Valley, with its huge Alpine glaciers from the Gran Paradise to the Matterhorn and from Mont Blanc to Monte Rosa. In 3 hours we are in Bergamo, Italy, with buildings dating back to the Roman era.
There is a great history of Italian organ building here from the 15th century to the 20th involving the familes of Bossi, the Serassi, and Locatelli.
We will visit the 3-
July 17: A 1½ hour ride to Bologna and the church of San Petrino ,with the oldest operating Italian organ (1475), featuring a 32' façade, and a large organ built by Faccheti (1531). In another 1½ hours we are in the incomparable city of Florence, capital of Tuscany and Home of the Renaissance.
Surrounded by the best art in Europe, walking these streets draws one into that magical time when Michelangelo, Leonardo, Botticelli and other larger than life geniuses walked here. What other idyllic atmosphere has such masterpieces as Michelangelo's David, Botticelli's Birth of Venus, Brunelleschi's Dome, and Leonardo's Annuniciation? The first of 2 days includes a visit to the organs of the Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore). Here is an organ recessional in the Duomo from YouTube: youtube/diJL4JXmBVs.
The Duomo was begun in 1296, replacing an older cathedral dating from the 6th century. From a Florence historian: "One enters the Duomo via enormous bronze doors and finds oneself immerged in a cavernous Gothic space. The great altar is enclosed by Ionic marble columns Colorful art abounds, including portraits of Dante, Giotto and Brunelleschi; there are frescoes of The Last Judgment and The Divine Comedy. The 44 stained glass windows are beautiful beyond description.”
July 18: Playing the two organs of San Lorenzo (home of Medici's tomb) which are the best in Florence. The second and most grandiose organ (3 manuals and 64 registers) was built in 1864-
St. Peter's is the largest church in the world, and its architects are the most famous (Michelangelo, Raphael, etc.). The Grand Organ of St. Peter's (4 manuals and 74 stops) was built by Tamburini in 1954. The pipes occupy 2 identical cases on each side. We have Gabriel Marghieri, our well-
France: Paris, Rouen, and Royaumont (5 days) July 22 -
July 22: Feeling like we've just scratched the surface, we nevertheless board an Air France shuttle to Paris to begin our 18th Paris adventure.
After taxiing to our hotel for a quick group meeting over lunch we take the metro to Vincennes and the Church of Saint-
July 23: We do what FOMS participants traditionally do: sit in the organ lofts of choice for morning services. Services are at Notre Dame, Sacré Coeur, St. Eustache, and others. In the afternoon, groups will alternate between St-
July 24: Playing time at the church of La Madeleine, is followed by the Royaumont Abbey, built by St. Louis between 1228 and 1235 for his mother, Blanche de Castille.
Associated with the monarchy until the French Revolution, Royaumont was host to intellectuals and artists from its inception. Louis XIII held one of his ballets, La Merlaison, there in 1635. In 1791, the abbey was saved from destruction by its water system, becoming one of the largest industrial sites in the Seine-
July 25: Playing time at La Trinité, organ of Messiaen and Guilmant. Any French music is possible here, however sitting at Messiaen's organ playing Messiaen can be a special, mystical experience. Improvisation and Master Classes will be held at St. Eustache in the afternoon and evening by the new, young co-
July 26: In Rouen, playing the magnificent Cavaillé-
The abbey of St. Ouen is actually the 5th building on this site, dating from 1318. Today it only exists for concerts and exhibitions. In 1890 Cavaillé-
July 27: Back to the real world now, unfortunately. We leave each other with heavy hearts for US flights and other places. FOMSers make life-
Tobias Willi, organist at the Johanneskirche in Zurich and Professor of Organ and Improvisation at the Zurich University of Arts.
Gabriel Marghieri, co-
Elisabeth Marghieri, Italian translator and teacher of French and English.
Nicolò Antonio Sari, organist of the churches of Carmini and San Trovaso in Venice and artistic director of the "Gaetano Callido" International Organ Festival.
Daniel Matrone, organist at the church of Saint-
Yannick Merlin, organist of Notre-
Beatrice Piertot, co-
Francois Espinasse, co-
Benjamin Alard, co-
Thomas Ospital, co-
Vincent Dubois, co-
Accommodations, Seminars, Tour Booklet, Travel: all 3-
Not included: transatlantic air fare, airport transfers and sight-