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Lincoln Center Gets Its Organ Back

Monday, June 14, 2010

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.

Samantha Stark/WNYC

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/WNYC

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

Samantha Stark/WNYC

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/WNYC

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/WNYC

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/WNYC

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

Samantha Stark/WNYC

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/WNYC

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/WNYC

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.

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Comments [3]

OrganLover from Seattle WA

It is wonderful to see that the organ is being reinstalled in Alice Tully Hall. Hopefully, NYC will hear the Saint Saens Organ Symphony again, soon. We are blessed here in Seattle to have great pipe organs. Benaroya Hall is a great venue and the tracker there is used regularly as well as during a Monday free tour every two months. A vacated downtown Seattle church was saved from the wreckers and is now the Daniels Recital Hall with its organ in use. Besides that one, Seattle's Roosevelt High School has its pipe organ restored for use in student concerts and lessons. We all look forward to the annual Halloween Organ Recital given by University of Washington organ students in Kane Hall at UW. I really hope Lincoln Center will set up an extensive organ schedule so all of you New Yorkers can enjoy solo organ recitals in a concert hall setting as well as with orchestra, just like what we are privileged to do here in Seattle as well as other lucky cities on this planet of ours!

Jul. 11 2010 04:33 AM
beardly9 from New York

This is great news. Bravo Lincoln Center.
and I've already purchased my tickets for Paul Jacobs' rededication of the Tully organ on Nov. 16.
Can't wait!

Jun. 17 2010 03:32 PM
Sisko24 from Yonkers

Yeah! It's about time! I'm so pleased to see this instrument will be returning to its rightful place in our concert life. I hope we will soon be able to hear the "king of instruments" in all its glory.

But I ask Lincoln Center, when will you buy and install a pipe organ for Avery Fisher Hall as well?

Jun. 16 2010 04:34 PM

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