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Lincoln Center Gets Its Organ Back

After spending four years in storage, Alice Tully Hall's 19-ton concert organ is back in business. Or at least back at Lincoln Center.

The delicate instrument was delivered today in thousands of pieces. It will take all day to unload from two trucks, and all summer to re-install. Once the free-standing organ is put together, each of its 4,192 pipes will be adjusted separately to fit the acoustics at the newly renovated Alice Tully.

Expert instrument makers from the Kuhn company, which built the organ in 1974, travelled from Switzerland to oversee the process.

Lincoln Center expects to welcome back the organ with a concert on November 16.

Click on the images below to view a slideshow of the organ being unloaded.

Experienced movers, stagehands, and five Swiss organ builders all work together to unload the insument's thousands of pieces from two 48-foot trucks.

( Samantha Stark )

During its four years in storage, each piece of the organ was cleaned, polished and packaged by hand.

( Samantha Stark )

The majority of the organ's 4,192 pipes are made from a delicate tin. Movers can't haul the pipes over their shoulders because they might dent them. "They have to carry them in their arms like a baby," Claude Lardon, an organ builder from Kuhn, said.

( Samantha Stark )

These little holes will hold some of the organs smaller pipes, which range in length 18.3' to a tenth of an inch.

( Samantha Stark )

Mover Jeremy Eagle has a special connection to this delivery--his brother Harry, a musician, used to be Alice Tully's house manager, and often talked about how much he loved the organ.

( Samantha Stark )

Some of the organ's pipes are carved from oak.

( Samantha Stark )

The slow moving process started early in the morning and will go well into the night. No one wants to risk damaging the organ, which was designed both as a virtuoso instrument and with the capability of blending in an ensemble.

( Samantha Stark )

Part of the instrument's frame is so big that movers had to forgo the inner doors of the elevator, travelling inch by inch holding onto the pieces.

( Samantha Stark )

Stagehands covered the stage with paper, so as not to scratch the newly-renovated space. The organ will be re-inaugerated in November with a performance by Paul Jacobs, Chairman of the Organ Department at The Julliard school.

( Samantha Stark )
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