Messiaen Complete


Nils Henrik Asheim was awarded with a prize from The Norwegian Critics’ Association for his organ project Messiaen Complete. The award ceremony took place at Litteraturhuset in Oslo on the 26th September 2019.



Olivier Messiaen is considered by many as the greatest organ composer after Bach. With inspiration from sources as diverse as birdsong, Indian rhythms, stained glass windows and religious mysticism, he developed his own universe of sound that never ceases to appeal. On the 17th November 2018, Stavanger Concert Hall presented his complete organ works, all in one day.


The concert took place in two rooms simultaneously. The music was played live on the organ in Fartein Valen (orchestra hall), where the audience sat down as in a normal concert. The sound was transferred to the second hall, Zetlitz, (black box hall), where the audience could move around, sit or lie down in different zones. Video projection, light design and art installations were inspired by Messiaen’s strong relationship to visual impulses.


“Messiaen minute by minute” was unique in terms of its nine-hour long duration, and such an event had never been undertaken before. Starting at 3pm and ending by midnight, the event provided the audience with an exclusive opportunity to dive into the composer’s lifework, written between 1928 and 1984. A timeless musical universe, spanning from the dramatic to the heavenly meditative.


Olivier Messiaen

Olivier Messiaen is considered by many to be the greatest organ composer of the 20th century. Looking at the music he wrote for the organ between 1928 and 1984 as a whole, it comes together as a clear, diverse and fascinating artistic project. It has its own ability to captivate listeners with different musical backgrounds.


Jennifer Bate (UK)

Few deserve more than Jennifer Bate to be characterized as an international authority on Messiaen. She worked closely with the composer during the 20 last years of his life, as one of his preferred performers. Bate has recorded Messiaens complete works, and was also the one to open the 1995 Messiaen Festival in the composer’s own church in Paris, La Trinité.

Thomas Ospital (FR)

Already before reaching 30, Thomas Ospital can boast an impressive list of artistic achievements. International prizes, teaching activity, recital tours including also improvisation to silent movies. He holds the position as organist of Saint-Eustache in Paris, and is newly appointed organist in residence of the new instrument in Maison de la Radio (Radio France Concert Hall).

Lidia Książkiewicz (PL/FR)

The virtuoso Polish musician Lidia Książkiewicz has won a number of international competitions both as pianist and organist. She has given concerts in a great number of European countries and recorded for radio and television. She now teaches at the conservatory of Strasbourg, and works as an organist in the cathedral of Laon, France.

Kåre Nordstoga (NO)

Among Norwegian organists, Kåre Nordstoga stands out with his extensive international career. He studied with David Sanger i London and has been the principal organist of Oslo Cathedral since 1994. Nordstoga has made a number of CD recordings, for example of Franck and Widor on French instruments, and of Bach on historical organs in Germany.

Thomas Lacôte (FR)

After having worked as organist in the cathedral of Bourges, Thomas Lacôte took over the organ position at Olivier Messiaens church, La Trinité in Paris. He is a recognized composer and improviser, as well as professor of analysis at the Conservatory of Paris. Lacôte has also devoted several years to research on Messiaens music.

Nils Henrik Asheim (NO)

Since the inauguration of the instrument in 2013, Nils Henrik Asheim has been organist of Stavanger Concert Hall. He is known as a prolific composer and also improviser. In his position in Stavanger Concert Hall he has created a concert programme that aims to develop new approaches to the organ.

James McVinnie (UK)

The celebrated young British organist James McVinnie has been assistant at St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, and made his debut in Royal Festival Hall in 2014. He is known for his many collaborations with composers (among others, the electronic musician Squarepusher), has appeared with a solo recital in Walt Disney Hall and as soloist with LA Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Colin Mark Andrews (UK/USA)

Colin Andrews is at veteran in the context of Messiaen’s organ music. This British organist studied with, among others, Lionel Rogg and Gillian Weir. He is currently professor at Indiana University and musical director of First Presbyterian Church, Columbus. Andrews has recorded Messiaen’s complete works and is member of honor of “Association Grand Orgue Trinité Messiaen”.

With support from the Norwegian Cultural Fund