LSM Newswire

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Walt Disney Concert Hall Curator Dedicates Local Church Organ

Curator Manuel Rosales Restores 50-Year-Old Pipe Organ and Showcases at Recital on Nov. 2

(LOS ANGELES, CA)ĺ─ýWalt Disney Concert Hall curator and builder of its pipe organ, Manuel Rosales will dedicate St. Edmundĺ─˘s Episcopal Church newly restored pipe organ on November 2. Fifty years ago, St. Edmundĺ─˘s in San Marino invested in a world-class instrument known as Aeolian-Skinner Opus Number 1323, or a pipe organ. One of 1,400 instruments produced by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company and its predecessor, the Skinner Organ Company, in America, St. Edmundĺ─˘s pipe organ is a significant historical instrument in need of restoration.

ĺ─˙St. Edmundĺ─˘s has only been able to provide the maintenance necessary to slow the pipe organĺ─˘s disintegration,ĺ─¨ said The Reverend George F. Woodward III, rector of St. Edmundĺ─˘s. ĺ─˙The pipe organ was in need of restoration, revoicing, and tonal finishing to enhance and improve the instrument to the builderĺ─˘s original intent.ĺ─¨

The San Marino church consulted with Thomas Harmon, PhD, Professor and University Organist, Emeritus, of UCLA, who established the potential for enhanced effectiveness of the organ through restoration and judicious additions of new pipework. ĺ─˙The church with long and continued services from its fine Aeolian-Skinner instrument and has the potential, particularly if the organ is enlarged, of regaining its place as one of the important instruments in the greater Los Angeles area,ĺ─¨ according to Harmon.

To assist with the organĺ─˘s restoration, St. Edmundĺ─˘s contracted Manuel Rosales of Rosales Organ Builders, who designed and supervised the construction of the organ at the new Walt Disney Concert Hall and is the Curator of that organ. With over 25 new instruments including large organs for Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon and St. James Catholic Cathedral in Seattle Washington, Rosales is the fine artisan St. Edmundĺ─˘s needed to revive its pipe organĺ─˘s stunning voice and tone. Examining fully the St. Edmundĺ─˘s pipe organ, which is located in four chamber rooms, Rosales provided the church with a comprehensive description of its much-needed mechanical rebuilding.

The formal name of the completed instrument is ĺ─˙The St. Edmundĺ─˘s Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1323 / Rosales Opus 37 Organ.ĺ─¨ With over 700 new pipes, including the addition of exterior fał▀ade pipes in the chancel, renovation of the console, and a total rebuilding of all wind chests, leather pouches, electronics and expression shutters, the San Marino pipe organ is among the finest church organs in Southern California, and is attracting national attention.
St. Edmundĺ─˘s pipe organ has already garnered national attention with its guest organist for the dedication recital, world-renowned Stephen Tharp, who is hailed as ĺ─˙the organist for the connoisseurĺ─¨ (Organ magazine, Germany), ĺ─˙the thinking personĺ─˘s performerĺ─¨ (Het Orgel), ĺ─˙every bit the equal of any organistĺ─¨ (The American Organist magazine) and ĺ─˙the consummate creative artistĺ─¨ (Michael Barone, Pipedreams). Tharp is recognized as one of the great concert organists of our age.

Having played 32 solo intercontinental tours and over 800 North American concerts, Tharp has built one of the most well-respected international careers in the world, earning him the reputation as the most traveled concert organist of his generation. He is currently Artist-in-Residence at Grace Church (Episcopal), New York, and served as organist at St. Patrick's Cathedral from 1995-1997 and the Associate Organist at St. Bartholomew's, NYC, from 1998-2002.

Tharpĺ─˘s recital will include the works of Bach, Widor, Demessieux, Druprłę, Hakim and Mendelssohn. The dedication will begin at 4:00 p.m. at St. Edmundĺ─˘s Episcopal Church located at 1175 San Gabriel Blvd. in San Marino, CA 91108. Rosales will also offer a special presentation about the restoration project.
To learn more about St. Edmundĺ─˘s Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1323 / Rosales Opus 37 Organ, contact the San Marino church at (626) 793-9167 and visit

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