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Auditorium Organ


The Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1309 is located in the Auditorium in Independence, Missouri, USA.

Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1309  

The Auditorium organ was built by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company of Boston, Massachusetts. Immediately after its installation in 1959, the organ became—and remains—perhaps the most important example of the company’s work from the period. The commanding display of exposed Great, Positiv, and Pedal pipework forms the visual centerpiece of the massive conference chamber which seats nearly 5,800 people. The main organ is framed by nineteen acoustical clouds suspended above and in front of it, and by choir seating and the large rostrum beneath it. The entire room is covered by a huge dome, culminating in an oculus rising some 100 feet above the floor. 

Donald Harrison, President and Tonal Director of Aeolian-Skinner and one of the twentieth century’s most influential organ builders, was responsible for the organ’s initial design and specification in the mid-1950s. Following Mr. Harrison’s untimely death in 1956, Joseph Whiteford was appointed Tonal Director and, in collaboration with consultants Catharine Crozier and Harold Gleason, finalized the design and formulated the organ’s pipe scales.

The Auditorium organ is a superb example of the "American Classic Organ," a concept and design developed by Aeolian-Skinner that mingles the colors and textures of both German and French organs from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with twentieth-century voices developed or adapted by the builder. This scheme was conceived to allow the performance of a wide body of the organ literature. 

The organ’s tonal foundation is based on a 32’ Principal, a stop that speaks nearly an octave below the lowest note on the piano and provides a tremendous gravity to the organ’s ensemble. In reality, the longest pipe in this stop is nearly forty feet long and stands in the center left "tower" of the façade. In contrast, the smallest pipe is about the size of a lead pencil and speaks nine octaves higher. The entire organ is played from an elegant, solid walnut four-manual console located on a platform just above the rostrum. 

An antiphonal organ of three divisions is located at the opposite end of the conference chamber. It may be played from its own two-manual console in the rear balcony as well as from the main console. A dramatic feature of the Auditorium organ is the Trompette en chamade, a bold voice of horizontal trumpets mounted atop the antiphonal organ. 

Several ranks have been judiciously added to the organ over the years to increase its flexibility and scope. These stops were designed, made, and voiced in Aeolian-Skinner style, in some cases by former Aeolian-Skinner employees. The instrument now employs solid-state relays and combination action, and utilizes a MIDI system, which includes a digital record/playback system, allowing a performance to be recorded and immediately played back exactly as performed. 

This noble organ contains nine divisions, 113 ranks and 6,334 pipes. 

Great 

Manual II (exposed, 4" wind pressure) 
16’ Sub Prinzipal 
8’ Prinzipal 
8’ Spitzprinzipal 
8’ Flûte Harmonique 
8’ Bourdon 
4’ Principal 
4’ Gemshorn 
4’ Rohrflöte 
2 2/3’ Quinte 
2’ Doublette 
II Sesquialtera (2 2/3’) 
IV-VI Mixtur (1 1/3’) 
IV Scharf (2/3’) 
16’ Kontra Trompete (console preparation) 
8’ Trompete 
Tremulant 
8’ Trompette en Chamade (Bombarde) 
Positiv on Great 

Swell 

Manual III (enclosed, 5" wind pressure) 
16’ Gemshorn 
8’ Geigen Prinzipal 
8’ Viole de Gambe 
8’ Viole Céleste 
8’ Rohrflöte 
8’ Flûte Douce 
8’ Flûte Céleste 
4’ Praestant 
4’ Flûte Harmonique 
2’ Octavin 
III Plein Jeu (2’) 
III Acuta (2/3’) 
16’ Contre Trompette 
8’ Trompette 
8’ Hautbois 
8’ Vox Humana 
4’ Clairon 
Tremulant 
Positiv on Swell   

Choir 

Manual I (enclosed, 5" wind pressure) 
16’ Contre Gambe 
8’ Viola Pomposa 
8’ Viola Céleste 
8’ Gedackt Pommer 
8’ Dolcan 
8’ Dolcan Céleste 
4’ Principal 
4’ Nachthorn 
2’ Blockflöte 
IV Mixtur (1’) 
16’ Fagot 
8’ Cromorne 
4’ Trompette 
Tremulant 
8’ Trompette en Chamade (Bombarde) 
Cymbelstern 
Positiv on Choir   

Positiv 

Floating (exposed, 3 ½" wind pressure) 
8' Prinzipal 
8' Nasonflöte 
4' Praestant 
4' Koppelflöte 
2-2/3’ Nasat 
2' Italian Principal 
1-3/5’ Terz 
1-1/3’ Larigot 
1' Oktav 
III Mixtur (1') 
8' Krummhorn 
Tremulant 

Bombarde 

Manual IV (unenclosed, 6 ¼" wind pressure) 
 
V-IX Tierce Mixture (1’) 
16’ Bombarde 
8’ Trompette Harmonique 
4’ Clairon Harmonique 
8’ Trompette en Chamade (25" wind pressure) 
Positiv on Bombarde 

Pedal 

(exposed and unenclosed, 5" and 6 ½" wind pressures) 
32’ Principal (Great extension) 
32’ Resultant 
16’ Contre Basse 
16’ Principal (Great) 
16’ Violone 
16’ Rohrbordun 
16’ Contre Gambe (Choir) 
16’ Gemshorn (Swell) 
8’ Principal 
8’ Violone 
8’ Rohrflöte 
8’ Gemshorn (Swell) 
4’ Choralbass 
4’ Nachthorn 
2’ Blockflöte 
IV Fourniture (5 1/3’) 
III Scharf (1 1/3’) 
32’ Contre Bombarde 
16’ Ophicleide 
16’ Bombarde (Bombarde) 
16’ Fagot (Choir) 
8’ Trompette 
8’ Trompete (Great) 
8’ Bombarde (Bombarde) 
8’ Fagot (Choir) 
4’ Clairon 
4’ Fagot (Choir) 
8’ Trompette en Chamade (Bombarde)   

ANTIPHONAL ORGAN 

Great 

(unenclosed, 4 ½" wind pressure) 
8’ Bourdon 
8’ Spitzflöte 
4’ Principal 
IV Mixtur (1-1/3’) 

Swell 

(enclosed, 4 ½" wind pressure) 
8’ Viola 
8’ Rohrflöte 
4’ Gemshorn 
8’ Trompette 
Tremulant   

Pedal 

(unenclosed, 5" wind pressure) 
16’ Bourdon (Great) 
8’ Principal   

Design Details 

Manual compass 61 notes 
Pedal compass 32 notes 
All standard sub, unison, and super couplers 
Electric stop and key action 
Electronic combination action–128 memories 
Balanced expression pedals: Swell, Choir, Antiphonal Swell, Crescendo 
Programmable crescendo–4 levels 
Keyboards: bone-covered naturals, ebony sharps 
MIDI capabilities 

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