Paul Ott (b. August 23, 1903; d. October 28, 1991 in Bovenden) was a major German organ builder of the organ reform movement (Orgelbewegung) in the 20th century. Paul Ott was one of the priamary organ builders in the revival of tracker-action organs in Germany.
In 1937 Ott received his Meisterbrief (Master designation). He soon began significant restorations of historic organs in northern Germany, including Stade/St. Wilhadi and Cappel. It was not till after the Second World War, in the 50s, that he also received contracts for larger instruments. Ott’s first triple keyboard design was the Christ Church organ at Wolfsburg (1951). Other restorations were in Lemgo, Borgentreich, Norden and Stade/St. Cosmae. The Ott workshop’s most profitable years were in the 1960s and 1970s, when numerous instruments were built for European and overseas clients, including Norway’s largest organ with some 7,000 pipes in the Konserthus in Oslo (1977/78).
Dieter Ott and Martin Ott
Paul Ott’s contribution to organ building
Paul Ott was one of the pioneers of the Orgelbewegung. He tried to incorporate or adapt its tenets in a more moderate approach, while retaining historical concepts and radical realizations of its principles. He became a leading authority within the movement as a result of the interest in positives and continuo organs by the "youth music movement (Jurgndmisikbewegung).
Ott’s tonal approach, with narrow scaling, low wind pressure, and minimal nicking needs to be understood as an effort against the extremes of the late-nineteenth century Romantic organ. Ironically, this approach would lead to another extreme, which remained hidden from the majority of fellow organbuilders and musicologists for almost two decades. Other organbuilders preferred lesser extremes, although their instruments may not have achieved the quality and character of Ott’s work. On the other hand, it is this particular style that complicates the conservation of Ott organs today. Ott’s students (and their students) have carried his influence as far away as North America.
(Source: The organ: an encyclopedia. By Douglas Earl Bush, Richard Kassel (extract) : ISBN 9780415941747)