Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts - New York City (Photo: Chris Lee)
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

10 Lincoln Center Plaza
Broadway at 65th Street
New York, N.Y. 10023
http://www.lincolncenter.org


Avery Fisher Hall

Organ Specifications:
• III/95 Walker Technical Co. electronic (2006)
IV/99 Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co., Inc., Op. 1388 (1962)






Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a 15-acre complex of buildings built during Robert Moses's program of urban renewal in the 1960s. The concept of gathering major cultural institutions in a centralized location came to fruition on June 22, 1956 with the incorporation of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. John D. Rockefeller 3rd was the center's first president, and the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Society was the first constituent. The boards of The Juilliard School and The Metropolitan Opera Association voted to become constituents in 1957, and on May 14, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower broke ground for the new center. Philharmonic Hall was the first building to open, in 1962, followed by the New York State Theater (1964), the Vivian Beaumont Theater and Forum (1965), the Library and Museum of the Performing Arts (1965), the Metropolitan Opera House (1966), Alice Tully Hall (1969), and The Juilliard School (1969). In 2004 Lincoln Center was expanded by the addition of Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center's facilities at the AOL/Time Warner Center, located a few blocks to the south at Columbus Circle.

Philharmonic Hall was designed by Max Abramovitz of Harrison & Abramovitz, and opened on September 23, 1962. The state-of-the-art concert hall featured retractable acoustic clouds as specified by Leo L. Beranek, the hall's acoustician. Unfortunately, the new hall's acoustics were immediately panned by audiences and critics, with musicians complaining they couldn't hear themselves on stage. Several attempts were made to improve the acoustics, but without much success. Finally, it was decided that the only solution was to gut the hall and start over. A $10.5 million donation by Avery Fisher, a member of the Philharmonic board of directors, made possible an acoustical reconstruction of the auditorium, designed by architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee of Johnson/Burgee, with Dr. Cyril Harris as acoustician. At this time, the hall's Aeolian-Skinner concert pipe organ was removed. Avery Fisher Hall reopened on October 19, 1976, but the reviews were mixed on the acoustics. Further acoustical renovations were implemented in 1992, when changes were primarily made to the stage area, including the addition of reflection panels along the sides of the stage. In 2005, the board of the New York Philharmonic approved a plan to renovate Avery Fisher Hall, with a design by architect Norman Foster, of Foster and Partners in London.

Avery Fisher Hall has used various electronic instruments since 1976. It is hoped that a future reincarnation of the hall will include a concert pipe organ.
               
Walker Technical Company
Zionsville, Penn. (2006)
Digital tone generation
3 manuals, 86 speaking stops, ~95 equivalent ranks


The three manual, six division electronic instrument built by Walker Technical Company features 86 stops created utilizing high definition, digital sound production. Based on the American Classic style of organ building with enhancements to expand its versatility, the unique design of the specification provides complete tonal resources in all divisions. With the extensive resources utilized, the instrument provides a tonal palette that allows virtually any of the organ literature to be performed accurately and effectively.

The console of this instrument is of a traditional design with raised panels on the sides and rear of the console shell. It is constructed with a solid oak exterior and solid rosewood interior. These rosewood interiors are finished with a high gloss elegant finish. An internal caster system in the console facilitates the quick, efficient movement and set up of the instrument by the stage personnel. The audio system is capable of being flown” above the stage with speaker clusters specifically designed to provide the multi-directional, complex sound spectrum required by an organ of this size and nature.
               
  Aeolian-Skinner Organ, Op. 1388 (1962) in Philharmonic Hall (Lincoln Center) - New York City (The American Organist, Feb. 1963)
Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company, Inc.
Boston, Mass. – Opus 1388 (1962)
Electro-pneumatic action
4 manuals, 89 registers, 69 stops, 99 ranks




The Aeolian-Skinner organ built in 1962 for Philharmonic Hall in Lincoln Center was designed by a committee consisting of organists Robert Baker, Charlotte Garden, and Searle Wright; plus Joseph Whiteford, chairman and tonal director of Aeolian-Skinner; and Carlos Mosely, president of the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York.

Aeolian-Skinner Organ, Op. 1388 (1962) in Philharmonic Hall (Lincoln Center) - New York City  
The organ was installed on a shelf that was behind and 12 feet above the stage, in a space measuring 50 feet wide, 11 feet deep and 27 feet high. A wire mesh scrim to which was attached random-width wooden slats hid the pipes from view; when desired, the organ could be seen through the scrim by turning on theatrical lighting in the chamber. Although the organ was shipped in plenty of time, last-minute construction work and several labor disputes in the hall made conditions impossible for Aeolian-Skinner personnel to tonally finish the organ in time for the hall's opening concert on September 23, 1962. In the interim, a two-manual Allen electronic organ was used. The inaugural concert on the Aeolian-Skinner organ was postponed until December 15, 1962, when Catharine Crozier, E. Power Biggs, and Virgil Fox shared the honors. The first solo organ recital was given by Virgil Fox on January 7, 1963.

  Aeolian-Skinner Organ, Op. 1388 (1963) in Philharmonic Hall (Lincoln Center) - New York City (photo: Jeff Scofield)
In 1976, the organ was removed when Philharmonic Hall was gutted, rebuilt and renamed Avery Fisher Hall. At the suggestion of Virgil Fox, Opus 1388 was purchased by the Garden Grove Community Church in Garden Grove, Calif., where it was combined with a five-manual Ruffatti organ in the Crystal Cathedral. The four-manual ebony console was later sold to a private individual in Arizona, and is now owned by Hal Stoddard, who has connected it to the organ in his Hooper, Utah barn, known as "The Hoopernacle."
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes (3-5/8" pressure)
16
  Kontra Geigen
61
2
  Super Oktav
61
8
  Prinzipal
61
2
  Blockflöte
61
8
  Bourdon
61
    Mixtur IV-VI ranks
330
8
  Spitzflöte
61
    Zimbel III-V ranks
263
4
  Oktav
61
    Kornet III ranks
183
4
  Rohrflöte
61
16
  Fagott (4" w.p., enc. in CH)
61
2 2/3
  Quinte
61
       

 

     

 

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed (4½" pressure)
16
  Flute Courte
68
  Plein Jeu III ranks
183
8
  Montre
68
    Cymbale III ranks
183
8
  Viole de Gambe
68
16
  Bombarde
68
8
  Viole Celeste
68
8
  Trompette
68
8
  Flute Ouverte
68
8
  Bassoon
68
4
  Prestant
68
4
  Clairon
68
4
  Flute à Pavillon
68
  Tremulant
2 2/3
  Nazard
61
    Swell Unison Off  
2
  Octavin
61
    Swell 4'  
1 3/5
  Tierce
61
       
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed (4½" pressure)
16
  Gemshorn
68
1 3/5
  Terz
61
8
  Viola Pomposa
68
1 1/3
  Larigot
61
8
  Viola Celeste
68
  Scharff IV ranks
244
8
  Cor de Nuit
68
8
  Petite Trompette
68
8
  Flauto Dolce
68
8
  Clarinet
68
8
  Flute Celeste
68
4
  Fagott (ext. GT)
31*
4
  Principal
68
  Tremulant
4
  Flute Triangulaire
68
    Choir 16'  
2 2/3
  Rohr Nasat
61
   
Choir Unison Off
 
2
  Zauberflöte
61
    Choir 4'  

 

     

 

 
* flue pipes
Positiv Organ (floating) – 61 notes (3" pressure)
16
  Holz Quintade
73
1
  Sifflöte
61
8
  Rohrflöte
61
    Zimbel III ranks
183
8
  Holz Quintade (fr. 16')
8
  Krummhorn (4" w.p.)
61
4
  Koppelflöte
61
4
  Rohr Schalmei (4" w.p.)
61
2
  Prinzipal
61
    Tremulant  
1 1/3
  Larigot
61
       
               
Bombarde Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed (6" pressure)
    Chorus Mixture VII ranks
427
8
  English Post Horn (fr. 16')
16
  English Post Horn
73
4
  Clairon Harmonique
61
8
  Trompette Harmonique
61
    Tremulant  
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes (5" pressure)
32
  Kontra Geigen (ext. GT)
12
2
  Spillflöte (fr. 4')
16
  Principal
32
    Fourniture IV ranks
128
16
  Contrebasse
32
    Acuta II ranks
64
16
  Bourdon
44
32
  Kontra Posaune
44
16
  Kontra Geigen
GT
16
  Posaune (fr. 32')
16
  Gemshorn
CH
16
  Bombarde
SW
16
  Flute Courte
SW
16
  English Post Horn
BOM
16
  Holz Quintade
POS
16
  Fagott
GT
8
  Oktav
32
8
  Trompete
44
8
  Spitzflöte
32
8
  Fagott
GT
8
  Gemshorn
CH
8
  Krummhorn
POS
8
  Flute Courte
SW
4
  Klarine (fr. 8' Trompete)
8
  Bourdon (fr. 16')
4
  Rohr Schalmei
32
4
  Choral Bass
32
4
  Krummhorn
POS
4
  Spillflöte
44
       
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8'   Choir to Swell 8'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Positiv to Swell 8'
    Choir to Pedal 8', 4'   Bombarde to Swell 8'
    Positiv to Pedal 8'   Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
    Bombarde to Pedal 8'   Positiv to Choir 8'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Bombarde to Choir 8'
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'   Great to Bombarde 8'
    Positiv to Great 16', 8', 4'   Swell to Bombarde 8'
    Bombarde to Great 16', 8', 4'    
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Bombarde Organ Pistons 0-1-2-3-4-5 (thumb)
Swell Organ Pistons 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-10 (thumb)
Great Organ Pistons 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Choir Organ Pistons 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Positiv Organ Pistons 0-1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 (toe)
Couplers Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb)
Entire Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 (thumb & toe)
  General Cancel (thumb)
               
Reversibles
    Great to Pedal (thumb & toe)   16' manual stops (thumb & toe)
    Swell to Pedal (thumb & toe)   Full Pedal (thumb & toe)
    Choir to Pedal (thumb & toe)   32' Kontra Geigen (thumb & toe)
    Bombarde to Pedal (thumb & toe)   32' Kontra Posaune (thumb & toe)
    Swell to Great (thumb)   Zimbelstern (thumb)
    Choir to Great (thumb)   Sforzando (thumb & toe)
    Bombarde to Great (thumb)    
               
Expression
    Balanced Pedal – Swell      
    Balanced Pedal – Choir      
    Balanced Pedal – Bombarde      
    Balanced Pedal – Register Crescendo      
               
Sources:
     Aeolian-Skinner Archives web site: http://aeolianskinner.organsociety.org/
     Callahan, Charles. Aeolian-Skinner Remembered: A History in Letters. Minneapolis: Randall M. Egan, 1996.
     Jepson, Barbara. "Needed: An Organ Transplant," The Wall Street Journal (May 31, 2007).
     Kinzey, Allen, and Sand Lawn, comps. E.M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner Opus List. New Rev. Ed. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     Lincoln Center web site: www.lincolncenter.org
     Mattison, Ben. "New York Philharmonic Approves Plan for Revamped Avery Fisher Hall," The New York Times(June 22, 2005).
     Ochse, Orpha. The History of the Organ in the United States. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975.
     Raver, Leonard. "Lincoln Center Inaugural Recital," The American Organist (Feb. 1963).
     Walker Technical Company. Press Release and organ specifications. Courtesy Joel Kuznik.
     Whiteford, Joseph S. "An Organ for an Orchestra," The American Organist (Feb. 1963). Specifications of Aeolian-Skinner Organ, Op. 1388 (1962).

Illustrations:
     Aeolian-Skinner Archives web site. Pipe display of Aeolian-Skinner Organ, Op. 1388 (1962).
     The American Organist cover (Feb. 1963). Aeolian-Skinner Organ, Op. 1388 (1962).
     Lee, Chris. Plaza at Lincoln Center.
     Scofield, Jeff. Console of Aeolian-Skinner organ, Op. 1388 (1963).