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Famed Zurich organ to sound in Koper church by 2020

Koper, 20 May - An organ from the famed Tonhalle concert hall in Zurich has found a new home at the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Koper. If everything goes according to plan, it will be played for the first time in 2020.

Koper, a coastal city in Slovenia.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

Tonhalle decommissioned the organ after less than three decades because the old organs, built by the firm Kleuker-Steinmeyer, never quite fulfilled the expectations of a venue that prides itself on being acoustically one of the best halls in the world.

The foundation decided that instead of simply throwing the old organ away, they could donate it. The church in Koper, the seat of the Koper Diocese, learnt about the plan by pure chance.

"We heard about it from Italian friends who knew we do not have the means to be able to afford new organs," Koper priest Primož Krečič told the STA.

The church put together an application which included a plan of work and statements by multiple supporters, according to Krečič, and they were selected from six applicants across Europe.

The church is now busy preparing the space for the new organ. Most notably, they have to build a new choir loft, which they plan on completing in 2019. The organ is expected to be in operation in 2020.

"This will be a long process, for every single one of the 6,000-plus pipes needs to be retuned and installed," Krečič said.

Being one of the biggest churches in Slovenia, the Koper Cathedral is seen as being an ideal home for what will be the biggest church organ in Slovenia.

The instrument will not be used for liturgy alone. Krečič said these were concert organs and he hopes many musicians will come to Koper wanting to play them.

The existing church organ from the late 18th century, which Krečič said was too weak for the mighty building, will be decommissioned. If the church community can raise enough money, they will be restored and transferred to a smaller church in Koper.

© STA, 2018