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The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ

Featured Concerts in the 2013-14 Season

For featured concerts in the 2014-15 Season, click here.

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This concert is part of the following subscriptions:

Fauré's Requiem

Thursday, March 13 8 PM
Friday, March 14 2 PM
Saturday, March 15 8 PM

Alain Altinoglu Conductor
Susanna Phillips Soprano
Philippe Sly Bass-baritone
Michael Stairs Organ
The Philadelphia Singers Chorale
     David Hayes Music Director

Gabrieli Canzon septimi toni No. 2, from Sacrae symphoniae
Franck Organ Chorale No. 1 in E major
Villa-Lobos Bachianas brasileiras No. 5
Duruflé Four Motets on Gregorian Themes
Fauré Requiem

The multi-season exploration of the great requiems continues with Fauré’s intimate and contemplative work. After the requiems of Mozart, Brahms, and Verdi, the Fauré is equally ethereal and deeply personal. The famous “Pie Jesu,” a beautiful and soaring solo for soprano, is just one highlight of the piece. It’s distinctive orchestration of lower strings is the centerpiece of a program featuring unique combinations and ensembles in this spiritual program, including styles from Medieval chant to antiphonal brass to Brazilian rhythms. It opens with sparkling brass fanfares and organ chorales. Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras No. 5 for soprano and cellos is a delightful blend of Brazilian folk tunes and Bach-inspired chamber music. The Philadelphia Singers Chorale will also be featured in short a cappella selections by French composer Maurice Duruflé, based on Gregorian melodies.

This concert is part of the following subscriptions:

The "Organ" Symphony

Friday, April 11 8 PM
Saturday, April 12 8 PM
Sunday, April 13 2 PM

Gianandrea Noseda Conductor
James Ehnes Violin
Michael Stairs Organ

Casella Symphonic Fragments from La donna serpente
Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2
Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 (“Organ”)

Gianandrea Noseda returns to Philadelphia in a program featuring the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3. This impressive work combines the power and lyricism of the orchestra with the remarkable sound and colors of the grand pipe organ. Audience favorite James Ehnes returns to Philadelphia to perform Prokofiev’s thrilling Second Violin Concerto. And the program opens with a suite from Alfredo Casella’s opera La donna serpente, premiered just three years before the Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2. Full of joyful marches, robust fanfares, and tuneful dances, the suite captures the thrilling symphonic highlights of this rarely heard opera score.

About the Organ

The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, Dobson organ Op. 76, ranks as the largest mechanical-action concert hall organ in the United States. With its nearly 7,000 pipes, four blowers, 300 levels of memory, 111 stops, pipe sizes ranging from about the size of a drinking straw up to two feet square by 32 feet high, this is truly the King of Instruments!

Organ Facts

  •  Largest Pipe: Built of wood, the largest pipe is approximately 2 feet square by 32 feet long.
  • Smallest Pipe: Built of metal, the smallest pipe is the size of a drinking straw.
  • Range of Wind Pressures: Three blowers totaling 25 horsepower supply the organ with air ranging in pressure from 4" to 25".
  • Instrument Total Weight: The total weight of the organ and its structure is approximately 32 tons.
  • Total Number of Pipes: 6,938
  • Levels of Memory: 300 (meaning thousands of preset combinations can be stored for the organists' use during performance)
  • Number of Combination Pistons: 48
  • Number of Toe Pistons: 22
  • Where does the Verizon Hall Organ rank in size?* 47th in the world (Interestingly, Philadelphia’s Wanamaker Organ is the largest fully functional pipe organ in the world.)
    *Based on total number of ranks.



Click below to hear the different sounds of the pipes

1' C of Great Principal 8'

2' C of Bourdon 16'

2' C of Posaune 16'

2' C of Chimney Flute 8'

8' C of Chimney Flute 8'

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Glossary of Terms

The large unit where the organist sits to play and control the organ. This includes the keyboard or manuals, pedal board, pistons, and drawknobs or stops.

The pipes are grouped into several separate sections called divisions such as the Great, Swell, Solo, Positive, and Pedal. Each is controlled by its own manual or the pedal board.

Electric Key Action
In an electric key action, a wire, an electric circuit, and an electro-magnet cause the valve below each pipe to open and close. When you press the key, you close an electrical contact. Electricity flows to the circuit that causes an electro-magnet to open and close the valves under each pipe.

Mechanical Action (Tracker Action)
The key is connected to trackers (wooden, metal, or plastic strips or rods) that eventually connect to the valves that open to admit air from the wind chest into the pipe. When you press the key, you are physically opening the valve in the wind chest. In mechanical action, there is one valve for each note on the keyboard.

Note: The Verizon Hall organ has both electric and mechanical key action.

Organ pipes fall into one of four broad sound categories: principal, flute, string, and reed. The first three types are known as "flue" pipes and work like whistles. The majority of organ pipes are flue pipes. In contrast to the whistle-like flue pipes, the reed pipes work like clarinets or saxophones, but have a brass "tongue" instead of a cane reed. Some of the reed pipes are the loudest pipes in the organ.

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