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The Global Hyperorgan

Published: 12 July 2021

The Global Hyperorgan is an international research project through which existing pipe organs around the world are networked for real-time, geographically-distant performance, with performers utilizing instruments and other input devices to collaborate musically through the voices of the pipes in each location.

The project was initiated by the organist and researcher Randall Harlow, funded by a Fulbright Global Scholar Fellowship, allowing initial work at McGill University in Montreal and eventually, in 2022, at Orgelpark in Amsterdam. A pilot study was carried out by GEMM in January 2021, connecting two large pipe organs in Piteå, Sweden, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Four members of GEMM, Federico Visi, Robert Ek, Mattias Petersson and Stefan Östersjö,  formed the TCP/Indeterminate Space Quartet at this event. The Global Hyperorgan provides opportunities within the individual PhD projects of Ek and Petersson, for exploring the potential of modular systems and interaction with hyper instruments, as well as for the multimodal study of music performance, as is driving the postdoctoral research of Federico Visi. The quartet performed again in June, first at NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) and at a symposium dedicated to the Global Hyperorgan, organised by Orgelpark in Amsterdam. At NIME, the quartet performance received the Best Music Award. 

The contribution of GEMM to the Global Hyperorgan project is grounded in the potential of the University organ, a unique instrument in Studio Acusticum. In 2019-2020, Stefan Östersjö carried out a collaboration with the Swedish composer Kent Olofsson, mapping the possibilities of creating a hyper instrument, connecting a MIDI Chapman Stick with the University organ, resulting in a composition premiered with Norrbotten NEO in February 2020. As a response to the restrictions under the pandemic, Federico Visi and Stefan Östersjö organized three international conferences to discuss the potential in telematic interaction in musical creativity. As a part of these events, Östersjö, Visi, Ek and Petersson developed strategies for remote performance of the University organ. All of these developments informed the implementation of the Global Hyperorgan in 2021.