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The Zurich Resolution 2011

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David Pinnegar:

The «Zurich Resolution 2011» will call on politicians, church representatives, cultural officials and the broad public to take over responsibility for the preservation and the promotion of the cultural values of the organ.

The resolution was prepared by a team of experts, revised by the specialized committee of the Symposium and passed during the Symposium by all participants.

The organ is a cultural treasure of Europe with a worldwide influence. For centuries it has shaped the European music scene, music performance, education and also instrument making. But it is more than that: In the context of the church and Christianity, its spiritual influence has defined and continues to define attitudes, intellectual movements and values, of which Europe is justifiably proud.

The organ fascinates people, both as an individually conceived, technically complex artistic work of art and also for its immense tonal possibilities. In the spirit of the UNESCO convention for the protection and promotion of cultural diversity, the functioning organ and artistic organ playing, preserve cultural heritage, promote contemporary musical forms of expression and maintain a dialogue with other cultures. The organ strengthens man’s cultural identity.

In times of cultural uncertainty and social upheaval, it is of concern to the European organ building and playing experts gathered here that, recognising the varied history of the instrument, the importance of the organ to today’s and tomorrow’s society is underscored.

With concern, they note
• that the European organ culture risks losing attention and appreciation,
• that the familiarity of the music-loving public with organ music has dwindled over the last decades due to decreasing church attendance,
• that in church services the organ is not sufficiently recognized as an instrument that can be innovative and open to various musical genres and is ever more being replaced by other instruments or even recorded music,
• that the organ has very little presence in non-ecclesiastical concert programming, nor in broadcasting or the print media,
• that the interest in organ teaching, especially at the professional level in conservatories, is falling sharply,
• that in some European countries resources for the maintenance and the preservation of valuable historic or new organs are scarce,
• that due to the change of use of some facilities or lack of interest, church and concert hall organs are no longer used and thus neglected – or are being disposed of.

With proposals to improve the situation, they wish to address the leaders in politics, religion and culture, in particular the authorities at the E.U., UNESCO, governments, religious authorities and dignitaries, conservatories, universities of the arts and music schools, the concert organisers and the media.

They urge them to:
• treat the art of the organ as a relevant part of the public cultural life,
• give organ music an appropriate place in worship, concert and broadcasting,
• introduce children, young people and adults with appealing presentations and concerts to the culture of the pipe organ, to fill them with enthusiasm for organ music and the richness and abundance of its sound and the technical marvel of the instrument,
• include organ teaching as an option for music lessons,
• present the fascinating professions of organ playing or making to young people,
• provide and expand teaching for full-time and part-time organists,
• keep the use of existing church organs for rehearsals for church services free of charge and encourage this by making adequate practise time available,
• maintain the stylistic identity of existing good organs and not to jeopardize it with unsympathetic alterations,
• appoint and pay church musicians appropriately,
• provide the necessary funding for the maintenance of organs, their surveying and preservation; if necessary, across national borders,
• involve professionals, to maintain the quality of instruments as well as concert and liturgical organ playing at a high level.

They are convinced that by these means, the circumstances of the organ as an instrument, and of organ playing, will improve, leading to an increase in interest amongst the general public.

Signed 9th September 2011 by all delegates

Saturday 10th September 2011
Resolution «Orgel 2011»
Reading of the Resolution «Orgel 2011» by Prof. Dr. Michael Kaufmann, and its presentation to representatives of Church and State, as well as the general public (media).

Steve Best:
I like this! Please tell us more about the organization that formulated this document and how it came to be.


--- Quote from: Steve Best on September 10, 2011, 07:36:26 PM ---I like this! Please tell us more about the organization that formulated this document and how it came to be.
--- End quote ---


Details are on,878.0.html

The Symposium covered many topics and spawned numerous discussions and the notes and videos may warrant a specific section of this forum where those discussions can be continued. Reports were received from all over Europe and, excepting Portugal, the general picture appeared broadly the same.

Declining interest or appreciation of churches and organs, linked, organs perceived to being a specialist interest far from mainstream painting a broadly similar picture with organs being exported to former Iron Curtain countries and the Far East . . .

Hopefully time may be available to decipher handwritten notes early in the coming week.

Best wishes

Forum Admin

--- Quote ---Words of Welcome from Michael Eidenbenz

Head of Department of Music, Zurich University of the Arts

Honored Guests

The Zurich University of the Arts is happy to welcome you to an event which is rare, even considering the broad spectrum of events usual for our institution. Unique to this Symposium is the variety of discussions and concerts offered, impressive the magnitude of international professionals assembled, extraordinary the theme. This last may cause surprise, as the organ in general public opinion is that festive instrument of respect that sits in its traditionally impregnable place in the church galleries and on occasion – mostly for weddings and funerals – is quite pleasantly acknowledged.

Yet, or better: exactly for this reason is this topic so important. The here-assembled experts know that the organ is much more than an accommodating accompanist for religious family celebrations. The fundamental idea of the Symposium is to demonstrate and to bring the possibilities of the organ's inherent vitality to the foreground.

The hope for discussion is its goal.

One of the responsibilities of a university music department is to bring music to public discussion. In the name of the Zurich University of the Arts, I offer thanks for the chance to endorse in content and structure this Symposium.

I wish all a time of insight and lasting reflection.

Michael Eidenbenz
Head of Department of Music
--- End quote ---

About Us

In 2007, during the joint organ convention of the Society of the Friends of
the Organ (Gesellschaft der Orgelfreunde) and the Austrian Friends of the
Organ in Graz (Austria), the question was raised: «Organum, quo vadis?».
Initially, the AGSO (Council for Historic Organ Preservation) under the initiative
of the organists Dr. phil. Bernhard Billeter (Zurich), Prof. Rudolf Meyer
(Winterthur) and OBM Wolfgang Rehn (Männedorf) looked further into
the matter, and were soon followed by Dr. Marco Brandazza (Organ Documentation
Centre Lucerne), Prof. Dr. Michael G. Kaufmann (OrganExpert),
Frank Mehlfeld (Rapperswil) and Dr. Markus T. Funck (Klettgau).
The Association «Organ2011» and the Zurich University of the Arts are
responsible for the organisation of the Symposium (Prof. Beat Schäfer,
Project Director, Simon Reich, Project Manager and PR). A committee of
organ teachers from German Swiss Universities and a group of organ specialists
served as advisors for the Symposium.

Presentation and Passing
of the Resolution «Organ 2011»

Prof. Dr. Michael G. Kaufmann

In preparation for the Zurich Symposium «Organ 2011», a thesis paper
has been created by the members of the work group. This paper was critically
read and commented on by a number of leading figures of the socalled
«organ scene». The evolved version is presented to the assembly
of the participants as the «Zurich Resolution 2011» and recommended
for acceptance.

The declaration has several parts: first, an introduction on the importance
of the musical instrument organ for the society as a whole in the present
and in the future, then a list of developments which, should they continue
unbridled, ultimatly would lead to the loss of the organ culture in general.
This is followed by suggestions for the improvement of the situation of
the organ in our society. The goal is to sensitise persons responsible in
politics, religion and culture and to motivate them to obtain a reflected
position towards the instrument and the related professional group as a
bearer of this culture.

According to the the definition of the term «resolution» in the dictionary
(«written declaration by an assembly based on an appropriate decision
(...), in which certain demands are raised and justified»), all participants
are invited to declare their agreement by signature and thus adding the
needed ponderosity for the resolution's appreciation in the national and
international public.

Follows is the text from the English-language press release...

--- Quote ---Press Announcement 11 March 2011
The Organ – a central cultural asset
European-wide Organ Symposium in Zurich
Over a period of four days in September 2011, the Organ will be the focus of an
international audience. The Symposium themes include relaying the cultural worth of playing
organ [“The Queen of Instruments”], to children and the youth, the promotion of young
talent and the education of organists, the meaning of the organ, in both liturgical and
concert contexts and the conservation and cultural preservation of the instrument. Firstly,
the organ assets/inventory throughout Europe will be summarized by various authors from
the respective European countries. Renowned personalities have been invited as advisers
and to participate in the discussion. The conference is organized by the association
"orgel2011", in close collaboration with the Faculty of Music at the Zürcher Hochschule der
Künste, the University of Zurich (Academic Music Faculty), the Catholic and Reformed
National Church and various federations.

The Addressees who come from all over Europe, are experts in the areas of Organ playing,
Teaching (Lecturers, Students), Organ construction (Organ Builders, Organ experts),
conservation of monuments, music management, as well as representatives responsible
from the Church, Cultural and Political spheres. However, the symposium is more than
merely a meeting of specialists, with numerous organ presentations, concerts, an organ
walk and the public presentation of the Tonahalle Organ, playing with orchestra.
Parallel to the symposium, a program including Organ Pipe Construction, Organ Fairy Tales
and Organ Demonstrations is on offer to children and the youth. All organ students of the
Music Conservatoires of Basel, Bern, Lucerne and Zurich have devoted themselves over the
current semester to the Theme of “Organ Youth Development”, whereby they plan and carry
out an Organ demonstration for children and the youth. (Competition announced by the

World Premieres of works from internationally acclaimed composer Mathias Seinauer,
Gérman Toro-Pérez and Burkhard Kinzler will be presented at the opening of the
symposium in a concert in Grossmünster and in musically arranged ecumenical services in
the Liebfrauenkirche. A friendly contention in front of open microphones will take place with
Organ Lecturers from Bern, Basel, Lucerne and Zurich, at the Organ of the French Church
and this will be broadcast on “Ludothek im 2” (Radio DRS), moderated by Roland Wächter.
--- End quote ---



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