Photo: C. Bassett ©

Dr.Jeannine Jordan interviews Martin Ott.

August 2010 Pro-Motion Music newsletter

Dr. Jordan also authors the PromotionMusic Blog, rich in news about music, pipe organs, and travel.

Photo: C. Bassett ©

Metal pipes are purchased from German pipe makers and are tailored to Martin Ott specifications. Wooden pipes are built at the St. Louis workshop using oak, maple, or cherry.

Martin has 24 cousins on his father’s side; every one plays a musical instrument, several at high professional level. House music was an important part of growing up. His father, Alfred Ott, played the cello, his mother the piano, his sister Barbara the piano, Martin plaid the violin and his brother Nicolaus the piano.

Martin Ott by C. Bassett ©

Alfred Ott at the console of a Romantic pipe organ. A typical instrument of the period where extensive use of the tubular pneumatic action) was in vogue.

Distler's house organ build in 1938 by Paul Ott.
Photo source: Hugo-Distler-Archiv, Lübeck

The Orgelbewegung, Distler’s teachers, and the Zeitgeist of the early 20th century influenced Distler’s compositional output. But nothing influenced Distler’s organ music as prominently as the instruments themselves. Distler wrote his works for two main organs: a historical Stellwagen instrument in Lübeck’s St. Jakobi-Kirche and his own house organ in Stuttgart, built by Paul Ott. (Source: Celebrating Hugo Distler: 100 Year Anniversary of the Birth of a Genius. -Diapason Magazine)


Distler's house organ has a 16' Pedal stop named a TRICHTERDULZIAN (dulzian with funnel shaped resonator). This stop was reportedly invented by Paul Ott.

Paul Ott Organ, 1946, (12 Stops)

(2 of the stops made from cardboard), from the house of Wolfgang Adelung (author of organ reference book: Einführung in den Orgelbau). (Source: Ladack Instruments)

Antoine Bouchard at the Ott organ, Laval University, Quebec (12 stops)

Canadian organist and historian, Antoine Bouchard ordered four small tracker organs for Quebec from the German firm Paul Ott in 1963.

Bouchard catalogued and recorded the Complete Organ works of Pachebel in 1995. His book: "Quelques Reflexions Sur Le Jeu De L'orgue", 2003. ISBN: 2-7637-8018-0, demonstrates the value of tracker organ for baroque organ music.)

Opus 37 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, 1977, (17 stops)

Built by Paul Ott in 1977, the Russian organist Valery Maisky, who just then imigrated from Russia to Tel Aviv, gave the inauguration recital.

In 1994 it was restored by Ernst Junker, himself a student of Paul Ott.

Alfred Ott

Oct 15, 03:17 AM

Alfred Ott

Alfred Ott - Martin's Father - was an important influence on Martin's approach to voicing and scaling. Born in 1910, Alfred Ott apprenticed in mechanics after primary education, following with formal education in mechanical engineering. After graduation, Martin's uncle Paul invited Alfred to join him to build organs in Goettingen the province of Lower Sachsen. In 1945 he joined the organ reed manufacturer firm Giesecke & Sohn. Alfred Ott received his Orgelbaumeister Certificate circa 1946. He was the tonal director until his retirement in 1985.

The Sydney Opera House Grand Organ was build between 1969 and 1979. It was the largest mechanical action instrument in the twentieth century. Alfred Ott was the principal designer and maker of many of the reed stops for this instrument, during his employment at the reed pipe manufacturer Giesecke & Sohn in Göttingen, Germany.

Nathanael Ritz



Photo: Opus 54, C. Bassett ©


The Opus 54 film project was created and produced by Caleb Bassett and Ian Welch.

Opus 54 features interviews and commentary from several key figures from the history of the organ, as well as the talented musicians who make the instrument sing. (90 minutes DVD). You can order your copy at:

Photo: (BACK FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) Paul Ott, Julius Ott, Emil Koser (the technical director at Paul Ott company), Ludwig Doormann, (Godfather to Dieter Ott), Alfred Ott, Dieter Ott. (FRONT) Martin Ott.

In 1945, on the end of the second world war, the organ builder Alfred Ott, join the prestigious reeds and flues builder, Giesecke and Sohn (established in 1844) in Göttingen, Germany.

In his role as technical director he managed 75 men (Shown here, in his white coat, circa 1948. Photo courtesy of Giescke GmbH). This is where he became known for his expertise particularly in reeds design.

The Grand Organ designed by Ronald Sharp for the Sydney Opera House

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