(K. Brent Tomer),
IN MAY, a Dutch organist named Pieter van Dijk performed a selection of baroque pieces in front of an audience of some 50 people. The Netherlands is famous for its organs and organists—local recitals easily attract listeners—but Mr van Dijk’s performance took place further afield. The Maggio Organistico festival in Umbria, a region north-east of Rome, aims to draw attention to Italy’s illustrious history of church music and show off an impressive collection of pipe organs.
Until recently, the organ in St Chiara’s Church in the small town of Lugnano in Teverina, where Mr van Dijk performed, was little more than a pile of pipes. Three decades ago, Wijnand van de Pol—another Dutchman—discovered a derelict organ in a church in Umbria and resolved to restore it; he soon found dozens of other centuries-old pipe organs that had fallen into disrepair and become unusable. Thus began a movement to bring the region’s instruments back to life. Assisted by a growing band of local organ aficionados, Mr van Dijk took another…Continue reading