Photo of Hans Fidom

prof. dr. Hans Fidom

    1991 …2017

    Research output per year

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    Personal information

    Chair Organ Studies / Established by the Orgelpark Foundation

    • Orgelpark Amsterdam | Concert Venue & Research Center
    • Gerard Brandtstraat 26 | NL-1054 JK | Amsterdam | The Netherlands 
    • Phone: +31 6 537 14 735
    • Mail:


    Chair Organ Studies

    The chair Organ Studies at VU University was established in May 2010 by the Orgelpark Foundation, Amsterdam ( The mission of the Orgelpark is to integrate the organ in current music cultures by presenting it in new ways.



    Organ Studies is multi-disciplinary by nature: it touches the fields of Sound Studies, Philosophy, Musicology, Art Studies, and History. The main themes are Music (Improvisation, New Music, Performance History), Philosophy (What is it to make music, and what to listen to music?), History (Sound Heritage, Organ history as a tool to understand integrations of technology, architecture, design, and music), and Organ Building (Historical concepts, new technologies).



    Organ Studies is active in the fields discovered and explored in the past decades by new disciplines such as Sound Studies, and by applying new strategies such as Artistic Research. It is inspired by developments such as New Musicology and recent Philosophies of Music. Hence, the chair is a completely rethought and refurbished version of the chair in Organ Studies (''Orgelkunde") established at VU University in 1987.VU University organist and Bach expert dr. Ewald Kooiman held the chair until his death in 2009.

    The chair is located at the heart of current scientific interest in music, sound, and art. Point of departure is the simple fact that each organ is custom-made by definition. This demands developing new perspectives on questions as to what it is to make music, to review music, to listen to music, etc. Typically, Organ Studies focuses on musicians and listeners, not, or at least not in the first place, on composers and scores. In practice, this leads to new developments in organ building: Organ Studies is, in close cooperation with the Orgelpark, active at the core of the international network developing so-called 'hyper organs'. Such organs combine historically informed concepts with digital interfaces, thus making these sound concepts accessible to new music-making and listening strategies.

    Organ Studies and Orgelpark Research organize annual international symposia at the Orgelpark in close cooperation. Themes include Improvisation (2008-2011), Medieval Organ Art (2012-2017), Digital Organ Art (2014-), Interaction and Mediation between Technology and Listening/Making Music (2013-), and The Art of Voicing (2017-). The results of the projects are published in the e-book series Orgelpark Research Reports, available for free at



    Honours Course: Music: Listening & Philosophy. 6 ECTS. Lectures, workshops. Open for any student interested in music and willing to work hard. English spoken. Training in listening to music and in thinking about listening as a musical activity. Getting acquainted with the problems challenging music makers and listeners, as well as with composers, musicians and philosophers. Overview of the history of music philosophies. Discussing concepts such as Authenticity, Quality and Meaning. Contributions by international guest lecturers, including pop musicians.

    Research Master/Master: Sound Heritage. 6/9 ECTS. English spoken. Lectures, workshops, field work. Information here (Research Master) and here (Master). Sound Heritage explores what sounds and sound concepts have been approved in the past; under what conditions these might be considered heritage today; and what saving such concepts for future generations actually means. A major complication is that sound is volatile: it exists only in the now, and only in one's own ears. This means that Sound Heritage researchers need to question listening cultures and skills developed in the past, as well as to question and develop own ones. Put differently: artistic activity (listening to sound in music) will necessarily be a major element in this seminar, to be integrated in otherwise 'normal' epistemic research strategies.

    Tutorials. Subjects to be suggested by the student. Tutorials students already have finished recently may serve as examples: ‘Organ music: philosophical aspects’, ‘Organ music: performative aspects’, and ‘History of organs and organ music’.

    Theses. Students who wish to focus on or just include organ music related research in their theses are welcome. This option may be especially worthwhile for MKDA-students, history students, musicology students and conservatory students.

    PhD's. Organ Studies offers the opportunity to engage in PhD-research. Themes should be organ (music) related. 


    Curriculum vitae

    Hans Fidom is Professor of Organ Studies at VU University Amsterdam, Leader of the Orgelpark Research Program, and an internationally active Organ Expert/Organist. 

    Hans Fidom studied musicology at the University of Amsterdam and Organ Studies at VU University Amsterdam. He completed his studies with honours at the University of Groningen in 1993. In 2002 he took his doctoral degree at VU University Amsterdam. His Phd dissertation focused on socio-musicological aspects of the German organ scene between 1880 and 1918; around 1880 magazines on organ art began to appear. In his dissertation, Diversity in Unity, Fidom researched the discussions about organ building in those days, and presented the subject of these discussions, the 'modern' German organ type, for the first time as an artistic unity, in which all parts, including the ones that were industrially made, add to the musical qualities of the instruments. His supervisors were prof dr Ewald Kooiman (his predecessor as Endowed Professor of Organ studies at VU University Amsterdam; prof Kooiman held the chair from 1987-2008) and prof dr Hermann J. Busch (Cologne, Germany).

    Hans Fidom is examiner for the Dutch School for Organ Experts and certified member of the Dutch College of Organ Experts. He was chief editor of the magazine Het Orgel from 1996 until 2006. In 1997 he initiated the National Improvisation Competition for Organist in Zwolle. He was member of the International Improvisation Competition Foundation Haarlem (2000-2007), vice-president of the Gerard Bunk Gesellschaft, Dortmund (1995-2007), and member of the board of the Royal Assocation for Music History of The Netherlands (2011-2017). He was vice-president of the Music Committee and member of the later Main Committee of the Art Council Groningen (advisory board of the local government of the city and province of Groningen). Furthermore, he was chief editor of the Encyclopedia 'Het historische orgel in Nederland'. His book on Dutch Organs in the early 20th Century is widely recognized as a standard work.

    Main themes in Hans Fidom's research currently are the 21st century development of so-called 'hyper organs', 20th century organ culture histories, and the central position of listeners in both musical and non-musical situations.


    Ancillary activities

    • Stichting het Orgelpark | Amsterdam | Leider Orgelpark Research Program | 2020-07-01 - present

    Ancillary activities are updated daily


    • M Music
    • BH Aesthetics
    • NX Arts in general
    • D204 Modern History
    • ML Literature of music
    • MT Musical instruction and study


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