Organ writing workshop with Thomas Lacôte

General presentation | Teachers : Thomas Lacôte | Trainees | Method | How apply | Schedule


The organ is a mysterious instrument, a world in itself, whose prodigious entrails are only just beginning to reveal their fascinating secrets. Its prodigious and unheard-of sound capacities remain completely under-exploited: a veritable terra incognita to be conquered, its thousands of pipes, its palette of tones, and its formidably efficient mechanics can give rise to thousands of new combinations, capable of opening up new worlds of sound.

This course enables young composers, under the wise guidance of the organist and composer Thomas Lacôte, who is committed to the renewal of the organ repertoire, to explore these sound worlds. The magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ of the Royaumont Foundation will be made available for an in-depth exploration of sound, addressing timbre research, technical possibilities and limits, questions linked to the adaptation of one instrument to another, and instrumental construction. A Fenêtre sur cour(s), in the form of a workshop involving the public in these discoveries and presenting the first stages of the work, will close these days.


Thomas Lacôte ; organist, composer (France, 1982)

Artist in residence at Royaumont

* 2021 : Opus#1 Danse autour de l’orgue.
* 2020 : concert-rencontre autour de l’orgue.
* 2019 : visite-concert orgue Faites vos jeux : la palette de l’organiste ; visite-concert orgue Aimez-vous Franck ? ; visite-concert orgue Trois lectures improvisées avec Aleksi Barrière récitant ; atelier de formation Franck à l’orgue Cavaillé-Coll et au piano avec Bertrand Chamayou et Yves Balmer ; concerts César Franck et invention musicale et Immortal Bach.
* 2018 : atelier de formation Olivier Messiaen avec Florent Boffard, Yves Balmer et Chris Murray.

Thomas Lacôte’s career is that of a complete musician, combining composition, interpretation, improvisation, teaching and research. He is the owner of the great organ of the Trinité church in Paris, the organ loft that was Olivier Messiaen’s for 60 years, and he has made his instrument the privileged workshop for his sound research.
His cycle of Etudes for organ (2006-2015) proposes a renewal of writing for the instrument by rethinking the links between writing and timbre. Among his latest works, Uchronies (I and II) for 2 pianos, commissioned by the Festival Messiaen au Pays de la Meije with a writing grant from the French Ministry of Culture, and by the Festival Nouveaux Horizons d’Aix-en-Provence Sept jours, for voice and piano on poems by Frédéric Jacques Temple, and two commissions from Radio-France: La nuit sera calme, for percussion and organ, and La voix plus loin, for two horns and organ.
A first monographic disc entitled The Fifth Hammer was released by Hortus in 2013.
In 2019, SACEM awarded him the Hervé Dugardin composition prize.
Professor at the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSMDP), after having been the student and assistant of Michaël Levinas, he teaches musical analysis and writing of the 20th and 21st centuries. His online research notebook, Phtoggos, as well as numerous published articles, testify to his theoretical activity in various musical fields. Together with the musicologists Y. Balmer and C.B. Murray, he is the author of Le modèle et l’invention, O. Messiaen et la technique de l’emprunt (Symétrie, 2017), a work awarded the Prix spécial du jury France Musique des Muses.
Since 2019, Thomas Lacôte is artist in residence at the Royaumont Foundation. He is a member of the Music Council of the Prince Pierre de Monaco Foundation.
His works are published by Editions Henry Lemoine.

* Past collaborations with Royaumont


3 composers
Young professional artists or those in the final stages of their studies


Before the training, by videoconference : :

  • Contact with the group: presentation of the speakers and the participants in the training, reminder of the objectives and procedures.

At the time of the training : :

  • Presentation of the instrument by Thomas Lacôte, work on sketches, collective sessions of deciphering, improvisation, experimentation, sharing of knowledge and feelings ;
  • Presentation by Thomas Lacôte of significant works in contemporary writing for organ ;
  • Public presentation at the end of the course.

How apply

Selection on dossier

EElements required:

  • Biography
  • CV
  • Covering letter: highlighting skills and qualities, personal project, reasons for wanting to participate in the training
  • Photo
  • Two recent scores (training courses of your choice) and their audio and/or video recordings; good sound quality is essential.

Application deadline : 15th of January 2022

Results : end of January 2022


From 18 to 20 February 2022
3 days of training – 21h

Public presentation at the end of the training :
Fenêtre sur cour[s], with the participants
on Sunday 20 February 2022 at 6pm

This training workshop is supported by la Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso, la SACEM, Aéroports de Paris and les Amis de Royaumont.