Detail of the Sauer organ (Photo: Maike Glöckner)

Wolfgang Kupke plays the university organ

The Sauer organ will now be resounding throughout the main assembly hall more often: In July, university organist Professor Wolfgang Kupke and the University of Halle’s Association of Friends and Sponsors (VFF) hosted the first in a series of concerts that will place the precious instrument firmly back on the university’s musical agenda.

The incredible Sound of the university organ can be heard again in 2017 – thanks to Wolfgang Kupke and the VFF. (Photo: Maria-Luise Kunze)

The Sauer organ has had an eventful history since it was manufactured back in 1926 by famed organ builder Wilhelm Sauer. To this day it is the only originally preserved university organ that dates back to the early 20th-century organ movement, whose proponents aimed to revive the sound of the baroque organ. With a series of musical performances the VFF is opening up more strongly to non-members as well.

In the first concert, Wolfgang Kupke played with his wife, mezzo-soprano Annette Markert. The couple performed pieces by composers such as Bartholdy and Handel. “I often play music with my wife,” says the Kupke, rector of the Protestant University for Church Music Halle. “We also played together at the inaugural concert after the organ was renovated nine years ago.”

Kupke had a passion for the instrument from a young age. “Music always played a big role in my family,” he says. As children, both he and his sister had piano lessons. Later, his father introduced him to the choirmaster and organist at St. Stephani church in Aschersleben. But there was a problem: “I was too little; my feet couldn’t reach the pedals.” Young Wolfgang thus didn’t begin to play the organ until the age of 13.

When the university organ was undergoing extensive renovation work, Kupke visited the assembly hall almost every day: “It’s fascinating to watch an organ like that being repaired – gradually the sound starts to come back.” That incredible sound can be heard again in 2017 – thanks to Wolfgang Kupke and the VFF. Maria-Luise Kunze

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