Many prestigious organs were built in the 17th and 18th centuries,not only in the Low Countries, but all over Europe.
Superb instruments of the baroque period have survived, great and small, in varying styles, still perfectly playable… but no instrument such as the one built in Liepaja (Latvia) by Heinrich Andreas Contius in 1773-1779.
Thanks to scientific research and generous private sponsoringthe Contius Foundation has undertaken the construction of a replica of this historic organ.
Now after almost 250 years, it will again be possible to enjoy authentic performances of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, his family and his contemporaries, on an instrument standing on aspecially recreated organ-gallery, in the exceptional acoustics of the Saint Michaels Church,Leuven.
Jean-Pierre de Bandt - Chairman of the Contius Foundation
Ich bekenne also hierdurch, nach meinem Gewißen, daß gedachten Hernn Cuntzii seine Arbeit in gedachten Orgeln und Instrumenten dergestalt gut und Regelmäßig sey, daß nichts dargegen einzuwenden ist, und nichts mehr zu wünschen wäre, als daß all dergleichen Arbeiten so tüchtig verfertigt würden, damit die Gottes Häuser sowohl als alle andere Liebhaber von dergleichen Musicalischen Instrumenten hinfüro nicht mehr durch Stümper betrogen würden."
Leipzig, den 12ten Janr:1748
Johann Sebastian Bach
Königl. Pohlnischer und Churfürstl.
Capelmeister und Musicdirector zu Leipzig
The Contius organ in Leuven is a unique project, not only by the scope of its innovation but also through the scientific approach to its conception.
For first time in Belgiuman instrument from Mitteleuropahas been recreated with such rigorousresearch.
The scientific analysis into the construction of the Contius-organ preserved in Liepaja has been both painstaking and thorough, and has produced new insights into organ-building developments of the period, highlyesteemed by J.S.Bach.
It is to be hoped that the sound of this reconstructed instrument will reveal new aspects of the timeless quality of Bach’s organ works, and serve for many years as a reference-instrumentfor organists and organ-builders.
Chairman of the Artistic Board of the Contius Foundation
This project has only been possible since the end of the cold war and renewed collaboration with the Baltic States.
This fraternal cooperation is a direct result of peace in Europe.
It is the same for our own country, as both communities have worked together on the construction of this organ.
In 1944 the church was almost completely devastated by bombing.
Destruction is always attended by uproar and clamor, whereas renewal is the fruit of reflection and calm.
I would like to commend those who from the very beginning have worked on this project with patienceand faith.
It represents so much more than just the construction of an organ.
It is a symbol of tolerance, of international cooperation, and of theeminence of the historic City of Leuven.
Board of Directors of the Contius Foundation - Minister of State
An organ as the beating heart of a community.
Find out why this project makes so many people give their best!