The Philadelphia Orchestra pulls out all the stops for organ music

The Philadelphia Orchestra (TPO) has received a huge USD5m (€4.2m) donation from the Wyncote Foundation, with the money to be spent on its organ music programme. TPO is based at Verizon Hall home to the Fred J Cooper Memorial Organ – the world’s largest mechanical action concert hall pipe organ.

The Wyncote Foundation donated the money as part of its mission to ‘support efforts that strengthen and enrich culture’. Foundation board member Frederick R Haas will help curate the programme alongside TPO music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

The expanded organ programme will run over the next five years, with TPO commissioning new organ pieces and presenting both existing organ concertos and symphonic works featuring the organ.

“It is an honour to cultivate the partnership between TPO and Wyncote Foundation, to explore new ways to present organ music to the audiences of Philadelphia,” said Haas. “It is of paramount importance to increase access to these treasured works, many of which are not well known.”

Organ highlights in the 2017-18 season include Wayne Oquin’s Resilience (6-10 October); a ‘Halloween Organ Extravaganza’ (27 October); James MacMillan’s A Scotch Bestiary (11-13 January, 2018); and Handel’s Organ Concerto in F major (4-5 May, 2018).

The Fred J Cooper Memorial Organ weighs 30 tonnes and has 6,938 pipes in total.