Altenburg - DE

Altenburg is a small city with a population of 35,000 right in the heart of Germany. It is based 25 miles south of Leipzig which can be reached comfortably by a direct train line.

Altenburg was firstly mentioned in 976. The city center of Altenburg within the former wall has a planned grid of 12th/13th century origin. Since the 17th century, Altenburg has been the residence of different Ernestine duchies, of whom the Saxe-Altenburg persisted until the end of monarchy in Germany in 1918. Industrialisation reached Altenburg and the region quite early in the first half of the 19th century and flourished until the Great Depression around 1930.

During the 19th and early 20th century, Altenburg saw a construction boom and the town enlarged to all directions, particularly north and east towards the new railway station (opened in 1878). Its time as a state capital until 1918 led to many interesting public and private buildings in Gründerzeit style. Later, the town lost some of its importance and became a simple district capital in Thuringia.

World War II left Altenburg unscratched, so all historic buildings are preserved. Buildings' maintenance was neglected during the East German period but after the German reunification, most of the main sights and historic buildings were refurbished.

But where will Altenburg be in future? Major André Neumann showed his vision “Altenburg 2030” shortly after taking office. The concept involves a holistic approach connecting the history of Altenburg with mod- ern culture, new infrastructure and making the city a place worth to live in.

Altenburg will invest €60 million for the redevelopment of museums, the castle hill area and the theatre in the next 5 years. They will develop the tourism sector with a newly designed Spielewelt (playing world) in the heart of the city. By 2030, Altenburg expects 250,000 visitors every year and we will show our organ landscape to them.

The central German organ landscape is unique in its character and relevance and is known and appreciated worldwide. Especially in the 18th, 19th and 20th century, the organ music from this area of Germany was – alongside the organ building – ground-breaking not only in Germany but worldwide. Composers as Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz List or Max Reger created their masterpieces in this area - music which is the heart of organ repertoire of most organists until today. Perfectness and development of organ building and organ music inspired each other in central Germany for centuries and affected the cultural identity of the country and its church. Central German organs never sound rigid, they sound warm, alive, emotional and flexible, short: they touch the soul.

It needs historically authentic instruments from those single epochs, to understand and preserve this tradition. In this view, Altenburg’s organs landscape is perfect, as there are three representative organs from important central German organ builders, representing an ideal epochal chronology: The Trost organ at the castle church (1739), the Ladegast organ in St. Bartholomew’s Church (1881) and the Sauer organ in friars church (1905). The charisma of this organs is supplemented by very interesting organs in the direct neighbourhood.

This unique organ ensemble makes the fascination for central German organ culture come alive, hands it down to coming generation and illustrates its actuality and its enormous future potential.

Altenburg’s organ landscape represents both, the capstone of baroque organ building in Thuringia and the progression of central German organ building in ensuing centuries. Altenburg supplements Freiberg’s focus on activities around the great Saxonian and central German baroque organ builder Gottfried Silbermann.

Artistic Directors: DANIEL BEILSCHMIDT (email) & JOHANN FRIEDRICH RÖPKE (email)

André Neumann


Altenburg joins ECHO!

ECHO keeps growing. After Leuven, Altenburg becomes a full member of ECHO.


The Organs

Artistic Director

Daniel Beilschmidt

Daniel Beilschmidt

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