Just in: A thank-you from the Notre Dame organist

Dear all,

In these tragic moments for the Cathedral, you have been extremely numerous to send kind words of support, all more moving than the others, either by e-mail, SMS, FaceBook, Instagram or on the phone.

I will never thank you enough for that. I would have liked to respond personally to each of you, but given the urgency of the situation, it is unfortunately not possible for me, at least for the moment. I hope you’ll understand.

Notre-Dame, who had resisted revolutions and wars, burned in a few moments. 855 years destroyed in four hours … Like you, I feel terribly sad, with contained rage, total sorrow. The images that we have seen are horrible. How not to think that we are in a bad dream? Reality comes back to us, unfortunately.

Despite all the damage in the Cathedral, the organ miraculously escaped the flames, as well as the water supposed to extinguish them. It is very dusty, but will continue to enjoy us as soon as the building will be restored. When? No one knows yet. « Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. » (John, 2). It will surely take more time in Notre-Dame, but I still live with great confidence and hope.

With warmest regards.

Olivier Latry


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  • My wife and I have been thinking about Notre-Dame, its people and all those affected by this awful occurrence all day. Very much hoping that you get back to your beloved Cavaille-Coll as soon as possible.

  • For those who are in love with that wonderful instrument (and who won’t probably be able to hear it for a long time) there is a new cd from Olivier Latry: “Bach to the future”.

    • I’ve seen nothing mentioned here in the U.S. about the March 2019 fire at the Parisian church Saint-Sulpice. It has been ruled to be an arson attack. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but it’s impossible to ignore the “coincidence.”

  • Good news from this brilliant musician. I hope he will do the re-inauguration concert with the restored organ!

  • We share your sadness from North Carolina, USA. We visited Notre Dame in 1985 and heard the mighty organ. I have spent the last several hours hearing your YouTube performances. I am thankful that you have recorded these videos so that the reverberations will be preserved for all to remember. Your talent is amazingly indescribable. I wish you well in the interim. Thank you for the beautiful gift of music.

  • Bravo, M. Latry, and thank you for your touching message. May your artistry again be heard on this wonderful organ very soon!

  • I was heartbroken to hear of the fate of Notre Dame. I have visited it many times and to watch 800 years of history going up in smoke was a terrible impoverishment. It was a huge relief that the organ escaped the flames and that so many of the church furnishings and relics are still intact. Could I suggest that any organists reading this could play Messiaen’s L’apparition de l’église éternelle as a fitting gesture?

  • Cher Olivier,

    I have been listening all day yesterday to your wonderful playing of Olivier Messiaen’s organ music, recorded at Notre Dame. It was the only way I knew how to respond to this catastrophe. Yet: out of the destruction Notre Dame will rise. If anything, the fire has reminded all of us that what is at stake is our humanity if we do not treasure and care for the richness of culture and cultural heritage, and not merely of money…

  • “Notre-Dame, who had resisted revolutions and wars, burned in a few moments. 855 years destroyed in four hours …”

    Well, the statement is a bit extreme on several accounts. Not all of ND has “burnt” but only the wooden roofsstructure (and, of course, the roof). But only a small part of the vault has collapsed, and this is what saved the cathedral from further damage inside to the organ (which is located at the far end of the worst affected area), and the glasswork rosaces.
    Now, of course, it’s not over as the real damage and fragilization of the vault and stone structures will still take a bit of time to assess, but as of now, the cathedral is still standing up.

  • This is actually a genuine comment. I know the organ dates from the 18th century, but isn’t it a “Trigger’s broom” situation.

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