News Archive: May 2005
The hall, restored in 2000, was built by architects Louis Boonen and Laurent Demany, and was opened by Eugne Ysae on 30 April 1887. Two white marble staircases connect the Hall Csar Franck to the Foyer Eugne Ysae. The Italianeaque Salle Philharmonique has a capacity of 1,162, and is richly decorated with ten paintings by Emile-Edouard Berchmans adorning the dome on the theme of Apollo and the Nine Muses. The programme of celebration includes four free organ recitals, two symphonic concerts, meetings with the craftsmen who worked on the organ and a silent film evening with organ improvisation among many other events.
More pictures and details at www.opl.be
Removal of the pipes for cleaning has revealed a hidden porcelain washbasin behind the Pedal 32' reed, presumably provided for the organists' convenience in the days when the console of the current organ's smaller predecessor was located nearby.
You can view the Cathedral's website here, and the 1926 specification here.
Click on any image to enlarge. Images are from left to right: The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, © Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Verizon Hall prior to console installation, © Roman Violy, and Dobson Opus 76 after console installation, © Evelyn Taylor
The organ will be inaugurated by The Philadelphia Orchestra at a concert on May 11, 2006, led by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach. The program will include a new work commissioned by the Kimmel Center and The Philadelphia Orchestra from composer Gerald Levinson, as well as Barber's Toccata festiva (premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy in 1960) and Michel Corrette's (1707-1795) Organ Concerto in C Major, Op. 26, No. 4, all performed by Olivier Latry, organist of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Also on the program will be Saint-Sans' Symphony No. 3, Organ, with organist Michael Stairs. The concert will be followed by a postlude performance of improvised organ music by Latry. Further details of the concert series can be found at the Kimmel Center website.
The Kimmel Center is also looking to appoint an organist to play and curate the new organ. Mervon Mehta, Vice President for Programming and Education, comments "When complete, the new organ will significantly expand the repertoire and programming possibilities for Kimmel Center Presents, The Philadelphia Orchestra and other users of the hall. We're looking for someone who will be a passionate and energetic advocate and can convey the significance of the pipe organ, its history, and music to diverse audiences ranging from highly educated enthusiasts to young students." So if you are, or know "a leader in the organ field with a deep knowledge of organ repertoire, strong improvisation skills, and the ability to perform in a variety of settings from organ/choral concerts to educational concerts, films, meetings and conventions, and occasionally as a recitalist and soloist for large orchestral works", see the Kimmel Center website for details of the position.