The Most Famous Organist: A Ranking of Noteworthy Pioneers

Choose the organist you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 9, 2024 08:15
Welcome to StrawPoll, the ultimate hub for polling enthusiasts! We invite you to join our thriving community as we dive into the melodious world of organ music, unearthing the virtuosos that have graced this majestic instrument. Today, we're on a quest to determine the most famous organist of all time! From the Baroque brilliance of Johann Sebastian Bach to the contemporary genius of Cameron Carpenter, we've curated a diverse list of maestros for you to choose from. But, the power lies in your hands – cast your vote, champion your favorite, or even suggest a missing maestro that deserves recognition. So, why wait? Let the crescendo of opinions chime in, and together, we'll celebrate the harmonious legacy of these exceptional organists!

Who Is the Most Famous Organist?

  1. 1
    Johann Sebastian Bach
    Elias Gottlob Haussmann · Public domain
    Johann Sebastian Bach - considered by many to be the greatest composer and organist of all time, Bach wrote numerous works for the organ and is known for his virtuosic playing.
    Johann Sebastian Bach in other rankings
  2. 2
    Olivier Messiaen is a French composer and organist known for his innovative use of rhythm, harmony, and color. His works for the organ are considered some of the most challenging and rewarding pieces in the repertoire.
    Olivier Messiaen in other rankings
  3. 3
    Franz Liszt
    Franz Hanfstaengl · Public domain
    Franz Liszt is a Hungarian composer and pianist who also wrote for the organ. His works for the instrument are known for their virtuosity and technical difficulty.
    Franz Liszt in other rankings
  4. 4
    Dietrich Buxtehude
    Johannes Voorhout · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Dietrich Buxtehude is a Danish-German composer and organist who was a major influence on Bach. His works for the organ are known for their expressive power and virtuosity.
    Dietrich Buxtehude in other rankings
  5. 5
    Louis Vierne
    AnonymousUnknown author · Public domain
    Louis Vierne is a French composer and organist known for his symphonies for the organ. He was blind from birth but still managed to become one of the most important organists of his time.
  6. 6
    Marcel Dupré
    Koifish · Public domain
    Marcel Dupré is a French composer and organist who was known for his virtuosic playing and innovative use of registration. He also wrote numerous works for the organ.
  7. 7
    Johann Pachelbel is a German composer and organist known for his famous Canon in D and numerous works for the organ.
    Johann Pachelbel in other rankings
  8. 8
    Charles-Marie Widor
    Paul Berger (photographer). Breitkopf & Härtel, London (publisher). · Public domain
    Charles-Marie Widor is a French composer and organist known for his symphonies for the organ. He was also a teacher and mentor to many other famous organists.
  9. 9
    César Franck
    Pierre Petit · Public domain
    César Franck is a Belgian-French composer and organist known for his innovative use of harmony and his works for the organ, including his famous Prelude, Fugue, and Variation.
  10. 10
    Max Reger
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    Max Reger is a German composer and organist known for his complex and harmonically adventurous works for the organ. His music is often considered challenging but rewarding for both performers and listeners.

Missing your favorite organist?


Ranking factors for famous organist

  1. Skill and Technique
    The technical prowess and mastery of the instrument are crucial factors. The ability to demonstrate exceptional technical skills, such as manual dexterity, pedal technique, and coordination, is highly significant.
  2. Musical Interpretation
    The ability to interpret and convey the emotions and intent of the music being played is vital. An organist who can bring out the nuances and intricacies of a musical composition is highly regarded.
  3. Reputation and Recognition
    The level of recognition and reputation an organist has achieved within the music community and beyond is important. Awards, accolades, and critical acclaim contribute to an individual's fame.
  4. Performance Experience
    The number and quality of performances an organist has given are significant. Experience in performing at prestigious venues, with renowned orchestras or ensembles, or as a soloist, can elevate an organist's fame.
  5. Composition and Innovation
    The ability to compose original music or innovate within the realm of organ music can lead to increased recognition. Organists who push the boundaries of traditional repertoire or contribute as composers can notably impact their standing.
  6. Recording Legacy
    The number and quality of recordings an organist has produced can greatly influence fame. A catalog of well-received recordings can expand an organist's reach to a broader audience and perpetuate their legacy.
  7. Impact and Influence
    The impact an organist has made on the organ music genre and its community is an important consideration. Contributions such as teaching, mentoring, or advocacy work can influence the development and appreciation of organ music.
  8. Historical Significance
    The historical context and legacy an organist leaves behind also play a role. Organists who have contributed significantly to the advancement or preservation of the instrument may gain importance and recognition over time.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous organist. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Organist is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 190 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Organist once every 24 hours. The rank of each Organist is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous organist

Organists have been an integral part of the music world for centuries, and many have achieved great fame and recognition for their talents. From classical composers like Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel to contemporary musicians like Cameron Carpenter and Olivier Latry, the list of famous organists is long and impressive. Organ music has a rich history that dates back over a thousand years, with the instrument itself evolving over time. Today, organs can be found in concert halls, churches, and even rock bands. The skill and expertise required to play the organ at a professional level is immense, and it is no surprise that some of the most famous musicians in history have been organists. So who is the most famous organist of all time? That is a question that has been the subject of much debate and discussion among music enthusiasts. Some might argue that Bach, widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, should hold the title. Others might point to contemporary musicians like Carpenter or Latry, who have brought new life to the instrument with their innovative performances. Regardless of who you believe deserves the title of most famous organist, there is no denying the impact that these musicians have had on the world of music. Their contributions have helped shape the course of musical history and inspired countless others to pursue their own passions for the organ.

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