New opportunities for the municipal organist by Jan Smelik

by Jan Smelik | Het ORGEL | Year 109 | (2013) | Issue 4


Jan Smelik New opportunities for the municipal organist
Het ORGEL 109 (2013), nr. 3, 18-24 [summary]

In the past three decades ten Dutch cities have instituted the function of municipal organist. At the moment there are fourteen municipal organists. To get a good idea of the character of the position, a questionnaire was sent to the municipal organists. The results are summarized in this article. Only a couple of municipal organists have something approaching tenure with a regular salary. There are differences in job descriptions as well, but in general municipal organists play at official events, they give organ concerts, they organize concerts, and they are responsible for the organs.
The municipal organist can have great significance for Dutch (organ) culture in the 21st century: even more since increasing numbers of church buildings no longer hold services. The buildings that have monumental organs are important for various reasons to the cities themselves and for tourism. A municipal organist can usefully strengthen and support this broad significance. It requires invention, creativity and flexibility in the search for possibilities to present the organ in extremely variable contexts. From cultural, religious, and even economic viewpoints, there are good reasons to hire a municipal organist.

Pieter Saenredam Interior former Mariakerk Utrecht 1638