In Monday’s (10/17) Wall Street Journal (subscription required), organist Paul Jacobs argues for including a pipe organ in the renovation of Geffen Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center. “Pipe organs graced the two largest halls in the city—Carnegie and Geffen (previously Avery Fisher)—until 1966 and 1976, respectively, when they were banished during reconstruction…Since the pipe organ was removed four decades ago, the New York Philharmonic and other orchestras have had to make do with an electronic organ. But synthesized sound emitted through loudspeakers cannot compete with the richness of tone produced by authentic organ pipes—thousands of vibrating columns of air, ranging in size from a soda straw to a telephone pole. There is simply no substitute for a genuine acoustic instrument…When one considers the price tag for Geffen Hall’s planned renovation to be in the vicinity of $500 million, the cost of a new instrument would be a drop in the bucket.” New York audiences “should not be deprived of what many already enjoy elsewhere in the world: a vast repository of music—both old and new—for organ and orchestra. With the renovations planned for Geffen Hall, we have a singular opportunity to fill this void.” 

Posted October 20, 2016