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 plays the violin to cheer his flue ridden cousin.

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 ©

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.

Martin Ott

Oct 15, 03:17 AM

Martin Ott

Beginning as an apprentice in 1960, Martin Ott worked in the Orgelbauwerkstatt shop (organ building workshop) of his uncle Orgelbaumeister Paul Ott and continued into his journeyman years. From this experience, he learned all the technical aspects of organ building. During his journeyman years, he also spent time at the Holtkamp Organ Co., in Cleveland Ohio. Following a formal study at the School for Music Instrument Building in Ludwigsburg, Baden-Wurttemberg, he completed his Orgelbaumeister examination in 1969 and continued to work in Germany.

Orgelbaumeister (Master Organ Builder) Martin Ott, born and raised in Göttingen, Germany, comes from a family of distinguished pipe organ builders. Mr. Ott's father, Orgelbaumeister Alfred Ott, and uncle, Orgelbaumeister Paul Ott, were an influence throughout his career. The Ott family represents more than 75 years of organ building.

Most organ builders play a keyboard instrument. Martin Ott does too, but his instrument of choice is the violin. From the age of six to his late teens, Martin enjoyed working with this instrument. To this day, from time to time, Martin still plays the violin. Martin says:

"I contribute my musical upbringing to learning the violin and listening to classical solo, small ensemble and orchestral performances. Listening and playing shaped my taste and style of organ sound. I have been blessed to arrive in the United States at a time when the pure pipe organ sound of the Baroque recurred."

Martin Ott is a member of:
International Society of Organ Builders
American Institute of Organ Builders
Organ Historical Society

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:

Martin Ott at the ISO 50th Jubilee Anniversary celebration in Holland, 2007.

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.

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

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