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View from southern aisle towards North-West

The Restoration of the Great Organ of St. Mary’s Church of Rostock

In 1983 the organ has been renovated for the last time.

Both in 1938 and in 1983 all major measures have been limited by restricted ressources (preparation of war, economical crisis during socialism era).

It ist time to bring this unique instrument into a state which corresponds to its original vision!

In 2019, all previous considerations (partly begun 20 years ago) regarding renovation, rebuild or new organ, are being brought closer towards concretion.
By the moment, you will mostly see appeals here. As soon as plans by the advisory board are available, they will be published here, too.
What is unavoidable to be done is stated here>

This page collects individual articles regarding this project. If you want to learn more about the history of the church and its organ, please turn to the dedicated page>. The necessity of a restoration is being illustrated by the material which is presented on our documentation page>.


  • Joachim Vetter, director of music, invites five organ builder firms to examine the organ and to tender for concepts for its future
  • Proposals for new organs within the historic case are beeing made, only one concept prefers a historical reconstruction following the MArx organ of 1793 and integrating the retained material from that period. None of those concepts was realized, as the church was still facing other major renovation challenges.


  • For the successor of J. Vetter the parish asks for dedicated knowledge of organ building matters to direct a future renovation


  • The renovation of the nave’s vault is completed, the organ is being cleaned.
  • For the first time after decades, the hull of the building is completely closed. The heavy immission of dust ceases, and the organ’s sound is slightly improved by these circumstances
  • Karl-Bernhardin Kropf is elected successor of KMD Joachim Vetter, he has a strong dedication to questions of organ building and has completed an advisor’s training. In the following years, some long-suffered minor faults are being corrected


  • A compact disc is produced, documenting the slightly improved sound of the organ takes place.
  • The parish invites organ builders and experts to a symposium – an intensive discussion about the powers and weaknesses of the organ. Some potentials are acknowledged, but the general mood is pessimistic about the existing organ.


  • The society for support of church music in Rostock’s lutheran city parish is founded
  • since 2009 many organists and experts visited the instrument, many talks spread a more positive view of a restoration


  • A specially designed positive organ is presented to the parish by the supporters society. Among other purposes this organ is also dedicated as a substitutional instrument for the time of a renovation of the Great Organ.
  • Fundraising for the positive organ was succesfully achieved by pipe patronages and minor donations. Following this success, the supporters society declares preparing the renovation of the Great Organ as its next goal.
  • The parish reserves funds for research measures in preparation of a renovation project


  • An advisory board is being formed
  • Delays occur due to adjustments with the heritage preservation authorities regarding the preliminary examinations


  • The first expertises regarding the surface of the organ, its structure and history (including the duke’s loft beneath the organ) will be commissioned.
  • In the course of the Bach Festival in May 2019 (, the Great organ will be played for the last time within a large concert with entrance fee, prior to the start of renovation work (whenever this really will be)


  • Laser scanning of complete interior, exterior and surroundings of the organ, acoustical research
  • Delays due to the corona pandemic


  • Documentation of the finsh and historical surface of organ, organ loft and duke’s loft
  • Enlargement of the Advisory Board following new building regulations of the North German Lutheran Church, first narrowing of the options for the future of the organ, exclusion of a historic reconstructive approach (in the style of around 1780) or a simple renovation of the present material (1907, 1938, 1983)

Second Meeting of the Advisory Board

On March 24 2022, the advisory board met for the second time and discussed a scheme for the redesign of St. Mary’s organ

Thank you, Daniel Hope!

Daniel Hope is an internationally celebrated Violinist and a well-known presenter. Supporting charity events and social or cultural projects is  part of his work.  Together with pianist Jacques Ammon, his long-term concert partner, they gave a charity concert for the restoration of the organ of St. Mary's Church of Rostock, performed in the Nikolai Church.…

Extended Advisory Board

On 29 September 2021, the first meeting of the enlarged advisory board for the organ restoration project took place. The enlargement was initiated by new bulding laws of the Lutheran Church of North Germany. The members of the former advisory board have been integrated in the new one. This added to the fact that the…

Surface analysis completed

From May to October 2021, restorer Bastian Hacker analyzed the surfaces of the organ, the organ loft and the duke's loft. This analysis will be the base for all decisions regarding the restoation of these surfaces. At a number of spots, the original finish from the building period (1770) has been laid bare under the…

Scaffold for Surface Analysis completed

Scaffolding works for the conservator’s preparatory surface analysis are completed.

Report on 2009 Symposium published

The report on the experts conference of 2009 has been published. It is supplemented by later findings and developments.

The “Janke Chord”

Following the symposium regarding the future of the organ of St. Mary's church, held in 2009, there was the question, how far there was undeveloped potential within the voicing of the pipes dating from 1938. It was a common opinion that this potential has not been fully exhausted yet. In early 2012, the well-known voicer…

Acoustic Research of Organ Situation

In the course of preparing the organ’s restoration, a more etailed research of acoustical characteristics of the organ case was undertaken.

Charity Concert of Rostock Academy of Music

In 2020, the charity concert for St Mary’s Church took place in the church itself.

St. Mary’s Church and Organ Loft in 360°

For the “Open Monuments Day” 2020, 360°-views of the St. Mary’s Church have been created

Rostock business people visit organ

Members of the Rostock Tradesmen Association visited St Mary’s organ in the course of their summer party

Digital Measurement of St. Mary’s Organ completed

In the first half of 2020, the organ has been digitally captured inside and outside by laser

A Donation by MeckRohr Company

On occasion of the 30th anniversary of its founding, MeckRohr Ltd donated EUR 10.000,- for restoring St. Mary’s organ

Concert Series Summer 2020

A series of End-of-Week-Concerts on Fridays

Third Meeting of Advisory Board

On March 11 2020, the Advisory Board met for the third time

10 Years ago: Symposium regarding the future of St. Mary’s organ

In November 2009, experts were invited to a Symposium regarding the future of the organ of St. Mary’s church of Rostock.

Impossible Organ Concerts Nr 1

On 11 Jan 2020, the series “Impossible Organ concerts” was started with Olivier Messiaen’s “La Nativité du Seigneur”

A Christmas CD for the Organ’s Restoration!

A very special compact disc with carols has been released for restoration fundraising!

Meeting of the Advisory Board October 2019

In Oct 2019, the Advisory Board met for the 2nd time

Examination of Windchests from 1793

The 1793 windchests by Marx under examination

Stories of hard times

Some images illustrate the melancholy of the 80’s…

Painted Appeals – Now and Then

In the 80’s, there was a first donation appeal, and in 2018 children painted for the same purpose again!

Donation of the “Jahresköste” of Rostock’s Tradesmen Association

Rostock’s Tradesmen Association grants EUR 25,000 for Restoration Project

Children stay overnight in St. Mary’s

Zum zweiten Mal übernachtet eine Kindergruppe in der Marienkirche!

First Principal Donators…

After some six weeks, the first Certificates are being sent to the donators

Memo Nr. 4

The 94th Bach Festival has ended! Our organ participated in concerts and services

Become a Principal Donator!

In may 2019, the campaign “Become a Principal Donator!” was initiated

Memo Nr 1

The organist’s personal thoughts from 18 Feb 2018

Memo Nr 2

The organist’s personal thoughts from 17 Jan 2019

Memo Nr 3

The organist’s personal thoughts from 26 Feb 2019

An Appeal from 2017

An introduction to the status report from 2017 (in German)

Status Report 2017

This PDf document was communicated to the Parish Council of Rostock Lutheran City Parish

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