Alsace, Land of organs

The 'Land of organs' tour

Organ of the Protestant church in Barr © Christophe Hamm

Organ of the Protestant church in Barr © Christophe Hamm

Mulhouse - Colmar - Riquewihr - Hunawihr - Barr - Strasbourg - Wasselonne - Bouxwiller - Offwiller - Roppenheim - Gries - Gunsbach

There are over 1300 organs in Alsace: more than one out every six French organs are located in this region. They are also particularly well preserved: 180 of them are totally or partly classified as historical monuments and are thus offered heritage protection by the French State. Some of the most remarkable of them are to be found in Protestant churches. Parishes and organisations work hard to keep this heritage alive and make it accessible to a large number of people.
 

TEMPLE SAINT-JEAN IN MULHOUSE

Built in 1766, the J. A. Silbermann organ of Mulhouse's former parish church was moved into the present St. Jean Temple and was considerably modified during the 19th century. It was rebuilt by A. Kern in 1972, then classified as a French historical monument.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 89 56 36 61

SAINT-MATTHIEU PROTESTANT CHURCH IN COLMAR

Built by A. Silbermann in 1732, this instrument was altered over the centuries. Classified as a French historical monument, R. Dott restored it in 1999. This organ was made using Silbermann as well as Stiehr materials.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 89 41 59 42

ST-MARGUERITE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN RIQUEWIHR

This church's organ is one of the region's most beautiful instruments. In 1853, J. Stiehr put a new organ of good quality into the old case. Classified as a French historical monument, it was restored by G. Kern in 1985.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +337 86 25 78 22

ST JACQUES-LE-MAJEUR SIMULTANEOUS CHURCH IN HUNAWIHR

In 1765, this organ was made by Jacques Besançon, an organ builder who is not very well known in Alsace. Damaged by a stranger in 1947, it was classified as a French historical monument and restored by G. Kern in 1990.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +337 86 25 78 22

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN BARR

This church's organ was built in 1852 by the Stiehr-Mockers firm. This was their biggest piece of work. Classified as a French historical monument, it was restored in 2002 by the Kern firm after the renovation of the church.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 08 91 49 or the tourist office: +333 88 08 66 65

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN DORLISHEIM

This organ is rather quaint. Built in 2006 by R. Mahler, the instrument is in the Renaissance style and it was inspired by the 17th century Alsatian organ builders. Its richly adorned polychrome façade is placed at the level of the gallery.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 38 15 04

THE BOUCLIER REFORMED CHURCH IN STRASBOURG

The building of this organ is one of the biggest and best accomplished works in the last ten years in Alsace. Built by D. Thomas in 2007, this new organ is in the style of Central Germany in the first half 18th century.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 75 77 85

ST GUILLAUME PROTESTANT CHURCH IN STRASBOURG

Whereas this organ's case is from J. A. Silbermann (1728), its instrumental part was built in 1987 by Y. Koenig in a G. Silbermann style, with the help of the organ builder K. Wegscheider (from Dresden).
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 36 01 36 - www.saint-guillaume.org
 

ST PIERRE-LE-JEUNE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN STRASBOURG

The organ built in 1780 by J. A. Silbermann was regularly extended over the centuries. Fleuron of the Neo-Classical organs in Alsace, it was chosen by the blind organist H. Walcha for the recording of a part of his complete Bach concerto.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 32 41 61

ST THOMAS PROTESTANT CHURCH IN STRASBOURG

This world-famous organ was built by J. A. Silbermann in 1741. A jewel of the Alsatian organ building and classified as a French historical monument, it was restored by A. Kern in 1979 and by Q. Blumenroeder in 2009.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 32 14 46

ST PAUL REFORMED CHURCH IN STRASBOURG

This church has two instruments: the big Walcker organ, the biggest in Alsace, classified as a French historical monument in 1987, and the Garnier organ, the first organ built in the 20th century to be tuned in a meantone temperament.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 35 36 18

TEMPLE NEUF IN STRASBOURG

This very beautiful symphonic instrument was built in 1877 by the French organ builder J. Merklin as a sign of resistance to the Prussian invader. Classified as a French historical monument, the organ was restored between 2003 and 2008 by N. Toussaint.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 32 89 89

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN STRASBOURG-NEUDORF

This modern instrument was built by A. Kern, as recommended by Schweitzer. A commemorative plaque of this Alsatian person can be seen on the organ's façade.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 84 12 95

SAINT-GALL PROTESTANT CHURCH IN ITTENHEIM

This organ built by A. and G. Silbermann in 1703 was only placed in the St. Gall church in Ittenheim in 1793. Its richly adorned case was classified as a French historical monument in 1977.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 69 02 59

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN WASSELONNE

The J. A. Silbermann organ built in 1745 was classified as a French historical monument, for it is one of the best preserved. The instrument was restored by G. Kern in 1992.
 

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN BOUXWILLER

Its J. A. Silbermann organ of 1778, very big compared to the church's architecture, was meant to be a symbol of the town's influence. Rebuilt by A. Kern in 1968, its case was classified as a French historical monument in 1977.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 69 02 59

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN OFFWILLER

In 2009, the parish asked J. C. Guerrier et M. Bucher to place a new instrument in the old 1831 Stiehr organ's case. This makes it an original instrument, at the meeting point of different sound influences.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 89 30 45

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN ROPPENHEIM

Roppenheim's small organ is one of the best preserved instruments in Alsace. After having been restored by A. Kern, it was classified as a French historical monument between 1971 and 1972.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 86 40 76

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN BISCHWILLER

Its small A. Silbermann organ dating from 1729 was extended by the Stiehr-Mockers firm in the 19th century to carry the parishioners' singing better. Classified as a French historical monument, it was restored by A. Kern in 1985.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 53 89 60 – pasteur.bischwiller@orange.fr
 

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH IN GRIES

In 1781, J. A. Silbermann finished this church's organ just before he died. In 1917, the front pipes were requisitioned by the German authorities for the war industry. After having been restored in 1967 by A. Kern, the instrument was classified as a French historical monument.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 88 72 42 75

GUNSBACH, SIMULTANEOUS CHURCH

Die Orgel von Gunsbach beeindruckt vor allem durch ihren symbolischen Wert, sie ist eng verbunden mit der großen Gestalt des Protestantismus, mit Albert Schweitzer. Im Zuge von Umbauarbeiten im Jahre 1931 lernten sich Schweitzer und der junge Orgelbauer A. Kern kennen, es entwickelte sich eine enge Freundschaft.
Further information at the Protestant parish: +333 89 77 09 43.

 

The Alsace and Lorraine's Protestant churches' organist training organisation (AFORGEP) is available to organise your tour and provide you with a organist guide.

 

This tour is made in partnership with the « Découverte des Orgues d'Alsace » federation ('Discover the Organs in Alsace': www.doa-alsace.org) and the Alsace and Lorraine's Protestant churches' organist training organisation (AFORGEP, www.aforgep.org)

The Sunday service is always a good opportunity to see the instruments and to appreciate the quality of their playing. To find out the opening hours, please contact each parish.

 


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