Press release

The Organ, November 2006

« An exceptional organist... Impressive... »

Dernières Nouvelles de Colmar

« Divine...dazzling... a refined talent... »

Le Méridional

« An elating concert... a magician... virtuosity and an almost etheral grace. »

Le Vert

« Fascinating... She played, in the widest sense of the word, both with the scores and with the instrument. »

Buersche Zeitung (Germany)

« Her recital, a veritably display of fireworks, never failed to exploit to the full the entire sound palette of the cathedral organ. Her skillful use of rhythm and colour were carefully combined to create the most imaginative and moving effects. »

L'Orgue Normand

« She imbues her performances with an entirely orchestral flavour, creating a profound impression of space through her subtle musicianship... virtuosity... creative verve... »

Midi Libre

« She colours each musical line with incredible refinment. »

Waz Buer (Germany)

« An artist with flamboyant style... total clarity... refined use of registration... an extraordinarily distinguished lyricism... exultant exuberance. »

Luxemburger Wort

« A remarkable blend of passion and total control... This performer is unquestionably among the ranks of those truly great organists who transcend musical problems and who rise above the many technical limitations of their instrument. » Dauphiné Libéré

« Exceptional memory... truly virtuosic technique... a most interesting overall conception... splendid interpretation. »

Staz Lidu (Slovakia)

« Magic fingers... »

Figaro Madame

« I have never heard the organ played so well. »

Cultura (Sofia, Bulgaria)

« An extraordinary organist... phenomenal memory... a confident and rhythmic regularity with a fluidity of style which ebbs and flows quite naturally... She excels in placing precisely the right emphasis on each piece she plays while, at the same time, chiselling away delicately at the details. »

Luxemburger Wort

« She has made registration a true art and this, combined with a transcendent technique, gives her an assured stylistic touch. »

Musique & Concerts (Paris)

« The transcription of Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony (by the performer herself) has been carried out in the most sensitive and delicate manner, enabling one to rediscover this familiar work with an entirely refreshed pleasure. »

Hi-Fi Video

« A brilliant display... From the very midst of the most complex contrapuntal passage, she is somehow able to extract a specific phrase, and allow to emerge miraculously above the others... Total mastery. »

Il Giornale di Vicenza (Italy)

« A dazzling and original talent... and extraordinary virtuoso... Breaking down barriers completely, and with everything commited to memory, she is not content to be a servant or merely, the composer's faithful friend. She feels the music with every fibre of her being, re-creating each work whilst imbuing it with a great deal of her own personnality. »

Ouest France

« Not only is she exceptionnaly talented as a virutoso, but also her sensitivity and gifts for « registration » - that is to say the selection and use of the organ's colours - place her in a quite unique position. Yanka Hékimova is one of those rare organists who have the ability to transfigure the instrument on which they play. »

Jean Guillou

« Yanka Hékimova is a brilliant virutoso organist, whose enormous technical ability and interpretive powers mark her as one of the most formidable performers on the international contemporary scene. Ms. Hékimova's recordings of her transcription of Mozart's Jupiter Symphony and Cesar Franck's Fantaisie in A on the magnificent organ in the Church of Saint-Eustache in Paris reveal an unusual imagination in her use of registrations and are examples of her unique interpretive ability. Her sensitive and resourceful playing distinguish her as an artist of unusual perception and ability. »

Robert Noehren, Professor Emeritus, The University of Michigan


Nashville Chapter American Guild of Organists October, 2007


Eight members and/or friends of the NashvilleAGO chapter flew to Paris, France on June 21 to participate in the 2nd University of Alabama Organ 

Study Tour co-led by Dr. Faythe Freese, Professor of Organ at UA-Tuscaloosa and Keith Cole, Nashville AGO member and Witte Travel & Tours representative. After meeting up with the other 18 members who hailed from the USA, Canada and Denmark, we began a fantastic journey and learning experience. Following, are highlights from our 10 days together:

6/28/07 — Eglise Saint-Eustache/Paris — Van den Heuvel, 1989 Jean Guillou, titulaire organist. Yanka Hekimova, demonstrated the organ for us

Once we found our host, Yanka Hekimova, we were treated to one of the greatest experiences of the tour. The church does not open to the public until 10 AM so we had the place to ourselves. The organ is a fairly new Dutch instrument but is located in the original 19th century case. The main console is located on the floor of the nave, but the instrument can also be played from the console in the loft, simultaneously if needed. 

Yanka is a Bulgarian native who is Jean Guillou’s protégé and she is fantastic ! She gave a bit of history about the instrument and then plunged into some of the most brilliant playing we heard all week, again demonstrating the colors, majesty and sound of this instrument. The room is a gem with at least six seconds of reverb and a verywarm sound. Yanka mentioned that the organ is in need of some renovation/tuning, etc. which will be done in the next few months. This is the church where Louis XIV was baptized.

Auf den Spuren César Francks

Eine außergewöhnliche Klangreise durch Paris - 2008

"Von oben muß es kommen, was das Herz treffen soll", beschrieb Michael Grüber die Gefühle in einer kleinen Gedenkfeier am Denkmal von César Franck vor der Kirche von Ste. Clotilde. Genau dies hatten die Teilnehmer in 5 Tagen "Auf den Spuren  César Francks in Paris" erlebt : die Tiefe der Franck´schen Musik an den authentischen Orten und Wirkungsstätten, den wunderbaren Kirchen und Instrumenten im inspirierenden Klima von Paris. Das gesamte Orgelwerk in Orgelkursen und Konzerten mit Francois-Henri Houbart in La Madeleine, mit Yanka Hékimova in St. Eustache, und mit Olivier Penin in Ste. Clotilde. Dazwischen immer wieder eingestreut wissenschaftliche Beiträge und Vorträge von Helga Schauerte (Francks Stellung an Ste. Clotilde), Dr. Kurt Lueders (Franck und das Harmonium und Franck im Pariser Musikleben), und Eric Lebrun (C. Franck und A.P.F.Boely). In einem großen, ergänzenden Besichtigungsprogramm gab es weitere, umfassende Einblicke in die Orgelwelt von Paris mit Orgelvorführungen und Konzerten in St. Bernard, St. Roch, Notre-Dame de Lorette,  St. Antoine, Chapelle du Val de Grace, Institut des Jeunes Aveugles, Notre-Dame d´Auteuil, Invalidendom, St. Jean de Montmartre, St. Augustin und St. Thomas d´Aquin. Besondere Höhepunkte waren die Begegnung mit Olivier Latry in Notre Dame und die privaten Konzerte in St. Eustache und in Sacré Coeur. 

Die 70 Teilnehmer kamen aus allen deutschsprachigen Gebieten, den Niederlanden, aus Italien, Russland, Norwegen, Korea, Großbritannien und aus Frankreich. 

"Auf den Fußspuren César Francks unterwegs in Paris" : von der Hochzeitskirche und ersten Organistenstelle (1847) in Notre-Dame de Lorette, den Wohnungen in Rue Blanche und Boulevard St. Michel, von St. Jean-St. Francois (Stelle als Organist 1851), nach St. Eustache (erster öffentlicher Auftritt in Paris 1854), über die Rue César Franck vom Grab auf dem Friedhof Montparnasse, bis nach Ste. Clotilde. Hier in Ste. Clotilde endete die Spurensuche mit einem Gottesdienst, Gedenkfeier und einem abschließenden Teilnehmerkonzert. 

Die Studienreise Paris war Fortsetzung der "César-Franck-Tage" von Mitte Februar in der Philharmonie in Essen unter der Organisation von

Max Pöllner, Marco Paolacci (Musikhochschule Wien)

In the Footsteps of César Franck

An unusual sound journey through Paris - 2008

"If it should touch the human heart, it must come from above" is how Michael Grüber described his feelings in a small remembrance ceremony at the memorial to César Franck in front of the church of Ste. Clotilde. This is exactly what the participants of "in the footsteps of César Franck in Paris" had experienced in their 5-day pilgrimage: the profundity of Franck´s music at the authentic locations and scenes of activity, the wonderful churches and instruments in the inspiring atmosphere of Paris. The whole of his output for organ in organ courses and recitals with Francois-Henri Houbart in La Madeleine, with Yanka Hékimova in St. Eustache, and with Olivier Penin in Ste. Clotilde. And strewn at intervals between them, academic contributions and lectures by Helga Schauerte (Francks Position at Ste. Clotilde), Dr. Kurt Lueders (Franck and the Harmonium and Franck in the musical life of Paris), and Eric Lebrun (C. Franck and A.P.F. Boely). In a wide-ranging complementary programme of viewings there were further extensive  insights into the organ world of Paris, with organ demonstrations and recitals in St. Bernard, St. Roch, Notre-Dame de Lorette,  St. Antoine, Chapelle du Val de Grace, Institut des Jeunes Aveugles, Notre-Dame d´Auteuil, Cathedral of the Invalides, St. Jean de Montmartre, St. Augustin and St. Thomas d'Aquin. Special high spots were the meeting with Olivier Latry in Notre Dame and the private recitals in St. Eustache and in Sacré Coeur. 

The 70 participants came from all German-speaking areas as well as the Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Norway, Korea, Great Britain and France. 

"The footsteps of César Franck in Paris" led from the church in which he was married, his first position as an organist (1847) in Notre-Dame de Lorette, his apartments in Rue Blanche and Boulevard St. Michel, St. Jean-St. Francois (position as organist 1851), St. Eustache (first public appearance in Paris 1854), via Rue César Franck, from to the tom at the cemetery of Montparnasse to Ste. Clotilde. Here at Ste. Clotilde the pilgrimage ended with a service, a remembrance ceremony and a final recital for participants. The study trip to Paris was the continuation of the „César Franck Festival“ in the middle of February in the Philharmonie in Essen organised by

Max Pöllner, Marco Paolacci (Conservatory Vienna), Translation : Peter Kirk