On Saturday 25th, a date that marks the eve of Johann Sebastian Bach’s 332nd birthday, the pipes of Bogotá’s Catedral Primada will resound at the hands of Japanese organist Kei Koito. Born in the legendary city of samurai warriors, Kyoto, Koito is considered one of the most important concert organists in the world and interpreter of Baroque music.

Built in 1860, the most important organ in the country fell silent three years ago to undergo an important renovation. Even though the 1808 pipe organ was unveiled last year with a performance by the Spanish musician Juan de la Rubia, the instrument will now be the protagonist of the Ministry of Culture’s soon to be launched concert series “Bach in Bogotá”.

On one Saturday every month until September, the Primatial Cathedral will host a free afternoon concert to present the complete organ works of Bach. To achieve this musical first in South America, the Ministry has invited 17 of the most recognized organists to play the four keyboards of a console that dates back to 19th century Barcelona.

Organist Koito will play Bach’s Fuge in C major, BWV 545; Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 730; Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 720; Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 662; No 12 of the “18 Leipzig Corals”; Sonata Trio No 1 in E-flat BWV 525; Ich will an den Himmel danken BMV 653; Toccata, Adagio and Fuge in C major, BWV 564.

Born into a family of artists, Kei Koito studied music from age six, taking lessons on the piano, cello, harpsichord and in singing. At sixteen she began to study organ in Tokyo with Mitchio Akimoto before moving to France to continue her studies in Toulouse, Cologne and Freibourg. Having performed organ music of every repertoire since 1985 (including many world premieres) Koito is best known for her interpretation of Baroque music, primarily Bach. Her career as a solo concert organist has taken her across all of Europe, the United States, Russia and Japan. Koito is a lecturer at the University of Music in Laussanne and artistic director of the BACH Festival in the same Swiss city.

On April 22, Bach in Bogotá presents French organist Ghislain Leroy of the Sapporo Concert Hall and organist of the Cathedral Notre Dame de la Treille, Lille, France. Leroy is also a professor of organ at the conservatories of Laon and Soissons and chair of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Belgium.

For Bach in Bogotá, Leroy includes in his extensive repertoire the Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV 550; Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, BWV 665; No 15 of the “18 Corals of Leipzig”; Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 695; Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten, BWV 690 and BMV 691.

May’s guest organist is Matthias Havinga of the Amsterdam Conservatory and artistic director of Koepelkerkconcerten. His performance in the cathedral is scheduled for the 20th.

Even though June may seem like a long time to plan ahead for an afternoon concert, on the 10th of the month Dexter Kennedy will take his turn on the black and white keys. Kennedy is the chief organist and choral director of Christ Church in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and recipient in 2014 of the Grand Prix de Chartes d’Interprétation.

The Ministry of Culture has lined-up Uruguayan Cristina García Banegas on July 23, Briton Robert Morgan on August 26, and Swede Hans Fagius for the final concert September 23.

All concerts are scheduled for 5:00 pm and if you are planning on heading to these free concerts give yourself at least an hour to get a seat in a pew, if not there will be standing room only near the main doors of the church facing the Plaza de Bolivar.