German Influences in Finnish Organ Art of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Peter Peitsalo

Tuesday, June 21, 8 AM

The earliest documents concerning organ building and organ playing in Finland are from the 15th century. Until the middle of the 19th century Finnish organ art was influenced by organ builders and organists from Sweden and the Baltic regions. A native Finnish tradition of organ building and playing emerged during the latter part of the 19th century. During the 20th century a rich organ culture was created, affected by reform movements in both organ building and church music. A large amount of organ music was composed in Finland during the 20th century in the national romantic, neoclassical and modern styles.

The purpose of this paper is to examine German influences in Finnish organ art during the 19th and 20th centuries. The paper examines the contribution of German organists and organ pedagogues to organ playing in Finland, the activities of German organ builders in Finland and the impact of their instruments on the work of Finnish organ builders. The paper also gives examples of how German music affected the musical language of Finnish composers of organ music.

Doctor of Music Peter Peitsalo is Professor of Church Music at the Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki (Finland), where he divides his activities between the Department of Church Music and the DocMus Doctoral School. Peter Peitsalo is also a concert organist, composer and former chairman of the Organum Society, the oldest society for promoting organ art in the Nordic countries.