Completing Bach's plan
Patrons: Paul McCreesh, Andrew Prior, The Revd Donald Reeves MBE, Dame Gillian Weir
Academic Advisor: John Scott Whiteley


The Orgelbüchlein Project is a major international composition project to complete J S Bach’s Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book). It is curated by William Whitehead.

The manuscript of Orgelbüchlein has 118 missing pieces, ghostly gaps with only the title penned by Bach. Each of these gaps will be filled by a new composition based on Bach’s intended melody. The new pieces, written by the most interesting composers at work today, will survey a range of modern styles.


The first ever complete Orgelbüchlein will be heard in Amsterdam’s famous Orgelpark, May 18th 2019. Four organists will play all 164 chorales in a series of recitals lasting 7 hours. Further details here:üchleinproject-1@18-05-2019[12:00]

**** The final 6 commissions completing Orgelbüchlein Project (and Orgelbüchlein in toto) will be heard live on BBC Radio 3, Feb 12th 2019, 7.30 pm. Curator of the project, William Whitehead, will play the organ of St Peter’s Eaton Square, London, with contributions from the BBC Singers. Final commissionees: Elena Langer, Daniel Beilschmidt, Enjott Schneider, Ruth Byrchmore, Ullrich Boehme, Silas Wollston ****

*Joanna Ward’s piece will be premiered at Evensong in Jesus College, Cambridge, February 3rd 2019. It is sponsored by Liz Coupe and Albert Goh*

*Robert Walker piece to be premiered in IAO Summer Festival, at Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge, played by Richard Pinel. See*

*Gregory Rose piece to be premiered 12/5/18 in London Festival of Contemporary Church Music *

*João Vaz will visit the UK in June 2018, playing Orgelbüchlein-themed recitals in Westminster Abbey (10/6) and St Lawrence Jewry (12/6). His Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott will be heard in premiere at the Abbey. Visit supported by the Instituto Camões *


** Volume 4 now published. See:üchlein-project.aspx**

** BBC Proms (PROM 47) will feature three new commissions. August 20th, Royal Albert Hall **

** BBC Radio 3 devotes a live evening concert to the Project. May 18th 2017. William Whitehead with the BBC Singers **

** News of Danny Saleeb’s Erhalt uns Herr: **

** Material now being assembled for Volume 5 of the New Orgebüchlein to be published by Peters Edition. Two chorales are ring fenced in the Orgelbüchlein Community (115 and 134) for possible inclusion. A competition-concert is to be held – details here:**

**Premieres forthcoming from Frederick Stocken, Gregory Rose, Christian von Blohn, Geoffrey Webber**

** The Orgelbüchlein Project enters its final phase, with about 15 commission remaining. Some pieces which have hitherto been freely available on this website are now removed, preparatory to the Edition Peters publication. Volume 4 will be the first to be issued, in early 2017. It will contain numbers 87 to 113 **

** Forthcoming pieces: Zsigmond Szathmary, Sally Beamish, Robin Holloway, Andrew Synnott, Diana Burrell,  Roberto Antonello, Ronny Krippner. SPONSORS sought for Szathmary and Antonello! Italo- and Hungaro-philes please contact me! **

**Tarik O’ Regan premiere at St John’s College, Cambridge, 3rd July, 6pm**

**Belgian Organist-Harmoniumist-Composer, Joris Verdin, will write a piece in memoriam John Scott. To be premiered at the RCO Diploma Ceremony, March 12th 2016, Southwark Cathedral, played by John Scott Whiteley**

**Sally Beamish to write a project piece for September 2016**

**Grayston Ives’s piece will be premiered in the New Paths music festival in Beverley Minster, April 7th, 2016.**

**Naji Hakim’s piece will be given it’s public premiere in St Margaret of Antioch, Durham, 9th February, 2016. Part of the Secret Life of J S Bach, with the Clerks**

**Sebastian Forbes writes a piece for reopening of the renovated organ in All Saints, Blackheath. 1st Nov. Sponsored by Harrison and Harrison organs Ltd.**

Bach Hours at the Edinburgh Fringe
Monday 24th August 2015, St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

Over the course of the three concerts, the complete Orgelbüchlein of Bach will be heard, plus twelve contributions to the Orgelbüchlein Project, plus selected songs and settings of chorales, sung by tenor John Mark Ainsley.

More info

** Come to hear Ann Elise Smoot play the new piece by Francis Grier: Oundle Festival, Wednesday 15th July, 1.05 pm, Oundle School chapel **

** Premieres over the coming months by Ben Comeau, Francis Grier, Anthony Powers, Catherine Kontz, Poul Ruders. See commissioned chorales tab for details **

** BACH HOURS : Concert at St Giles Church Edinburgh as part of the Fringe Festival. Complete Orgelbüchlein of Bach will be heard, plus a dozen Project pieces. These will include UK premieres of pieces by John Butt, Ernst Wally, Franz Danksagmüller, Till Alexander Körber. More details on the Fringe website soon. 24th August, 2015. **

** The Orgelbüchlein Project is now a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation). A charity, in other words **

** Daniel Kidane will collaborate with the LSO in expanding his Orgelbüchlein Project piece into a fully-fledged orchestral work. See ‘Aftershock’ at the Barbican, April 23rd 2015 **

** Listen to the first German commission towards the Project, HERE: it is by Axel Ruoff, sponsored by the German Embassy in London.

**There are now fifteen different composers who have contributed to the Orgelbüchlein Community, ranging from a Doctor in Southern Russia to a retired British musicologist, to students at top Universities, to distinguished German Church Music Directors. At least five different nationalities are represented. Keep the compositions coming!**

** German Embassy sponsors the first German commission for the Project, by Axel Ruoff. World premiere – 16th November – see concert listings page**

**The John Hill Memorial Series 2015, four recitals by young rising star players at St Lawrence Jewry, London, will feature Orgelbüchlein Project pieces **

** Oundle Festival sponsors a piece by Francis Grier, for performance in July’s Oundle Festival**

**Exeter College, Oxford to sponsor a piece from David Briggs for premiere in 2015**

**Edition Peters now due to publish the Gesamtorgelbüchlein**

**A trio of new commissions will be heard in the Clifton Festival, June 7th. They will be by David Matthews, David Bednall and Gareth Moorcraft**

**St John’s College Cambridge to sponsor four new commissions, for premiere in 2014-16**

** Royal College of Organists sponsor Bryan Kelly to write a piece, for performance at the 150th anniversary diploma ceremony, Southwark Cathedral, 8th March 2014**

**Forthcoming collaboration with The Clerks. Provisionally entitled ‘The Arnstadt Passion’, this vocal adventure will explore Bach’s time at Arnstadt, his relationship with chorales both sung and played, and how he fought against authority**

Video courtesy of London Film School

In partnership with the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom


Copyright The Orgelbüchlein Project © 2022. All Rights Reserved.