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The cultural project of the Contius Foundation

The instrument and the location

  • An exceptional organ, in the aesthetics of the German Baroque, for the performance of the music of J.S. Bach and his family in unique circumstances.
  • St. Michael’s Church, built in 1650-1671 by the Jesuits, is a beautiful Baroque church, architecturally and acoustically a special shrine.
  • The organ was placed on a new rood loft, where there is room for singers, instrumentalists, and – to a limited extent – ​​listeners or visitors.


The cultural project

  • An artistic project with a European dimension, based on high-quality artistic research. This is the mission of the Festival and the Summer Academy that are organized every year at the beginning of July. Every two years there is the International Organ Competition.
  • The project wants to firmly anchor itself: in the city of Leuven, Flanders, Belgium, Europe. Concerts and educational activities take place regularly between April and October.
  • The projects of the Contius Foundation contribute to the active policy of the city of Leuven in the field of the organ.


A project inspired by the search for Peace

  • St. Michael’s Church gave itself a calling as “Church of Peace”. The Contius Foundation wishes to give an important place to this peace dimension, in various areas: international peace, avoidance of conflict, search for dialogue at local level.
  • The intercultural dimension will thus be an axis of reflection in the activities of the Contius Foundation: “Organ in dialogue with the music of other worlds”.
  • The Contius Foundation is working on establishing a European network with similar initiatives.
  • The Contius Foundation commissions musical creations inspired by the theme of peace and intercultural dialogue.


A scientific project

  • It is exceptional that the construction of the Contius organ in Leuven was preceded by an in-depth study of the Contius organ in Liepaja (Latvia).
  • In relation to KU Leuven and other universities, the Contius Foundation wants to promote research in the field of musicology and organology, in order to continue to nourish the performance practice of baroque music.


A project aimed at youth

  • The Contius Foundation’s project aims more specifically to offer young talented organists the opportunity to play the organs that J.S. Bach knew and valued getting to know him better.
  • 18 young professional organists from all over Europe are invited to each give a concert as part of an integral work of J.S. Bach which will extend over three years (6 concerts per year, monthly, from April to October).
  • The Contius Foundation is preparing a residency of one or two years for a young talented organist.
  • Every year, the summer academy will offer a dozen young organists the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of German Baroque music (in particular that of J.S. Bach).
  • Based on the desire to build a bridge between the organ world and the world of historical performance practice, the summer academy also offers the opportunity to other young professional instrumentalists to acquire knowledge and experience around a central masterpiece.
  • A sustainable partnership with the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel is being developed.
  • The Contius Foundation organizes awareness campaigns for classes of primary and secondary schools.
  • In collaboration with other European festivals and institutions (Toulouse-les-Orgues, Orgelpark Amsterdam, …), the Contius Foundation commissions musical creations for a large children’s choir and organ, inspired by the theme of Peace.


A project with European ambition

  • The projects by the Contius Foundation in the field of artistic programming, creation, education and training, scientific research, search for peace, … all exude a strong European dimension.
  • The Contius Foundation wants to develop sustainable European partnerships in all these areas.
  • The Contius Foundation is exploring the possibility of proposing certain collaborative projects to the European Commission’s “Creative Europe” programme.


An inclusive project, visually presented in a function pyramid.



In its aim to unite all these complementary dimensions, the Contius Foundation wants to develop a cultural project in a spirit of collaboration that brings together heritage, creation, education, research, innovation and democratic participation.