Demand for organs in China continues to rise
The explosive growth of Christianity in China has not gone unremarked by Johannus: the number of orders for home and church organs has been increasing for years. While traveling through the country, we spoke to a number of organists about our instruments.
When Johannus first set foot in China, there were around six million Christians in the country. They made up less than half a percent of the total population of 1.3 billion people. Nowadays the proportion is very different. In 2010, the number of Christians in China had grown to 58 million; according to research carried out by the Institute for Religion and Chinese Society at the American Purdue University, this trend is set to continue, with the number of Christians reaching as many as 255 million in 2025. In that year, more than 15% of Chinese will identify themselves as Christians. Five years later, it is expected that there will be more Christians living in China than in the US or any other country in the world.
Plenty of life in the organ
The growing interest in Johannus organs in China can be seen as supporting these statistics. “The organ is very much alive there,” says marketing manager Erwin Kreijne. Together with a cameraman, he traveled the country, searching for stories from organists and other people involved with Johannus organs.
One of the places he visited was the prestigious Sacred Heart Cathedral in the metropolis Jinan, which houses an Ecclesia D-570. In the video, Mr Shi Lei talks about his experiences with this four-manual organ with 80 stops. There’s also Pastor Kan, enthusiastic user of the three-manual Ecclesia D-470 in the Catholic St. Teresa Church in the urban agglomeration Chongqing, a city with more than 30 million residents, and Reverend Wang, who shares his experiences with a similar organ in the same city, but in another church: the Gospel Church. These interesting videos will be published soon on our website and social media channels, together with videos of organ music played by the talented organist Yihua Li.
Although more and more Chinese churches are coming into contact with Johannus, private individuals are less familiar with the concept of the home organ, as Kreijne discovered. “An organ is really a church phenomenon there. By having pastors or organists talk about their experiences with our organs, we hope to persuade other churches and private organists to give them a try.”
With the growth in the number of organs, there is also a shortage of well-trained organists, according to Kreijne. Johannus is therefore currently working on creating a course specifically for Chinese organists.
Would you like to see the videos? Keep an eye on our website and social media channels.