Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Kimmel Center Verizon Hall Organ Named
February 6, 2006

The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ to be Unveiled at Kimmel Center Organ Festival in May 2006

As the Kimmel Center’s new Dobson-built organ nears completion through the winter and spring months of 2006, Janice Price, President and CEO of the Kimmel Center today announced the official naming of the organ, “The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ.”

The Verizon Hall organ has been named in honor of the late Fred J. Cooper, the father of Chara Cooper Haas. Fred J Cooper was a jeweler and organist in Philadelphia for many years and passed on a love of music, and organ music in particular, to his daughter and to his grandson Frederick R. Haas, who is the chair of the Kimmel Organ Committee. In addition, Fred J. Cooper played the organ at the old Swedenborgian church at 22nd and Chestnut Streets.

Major funding for The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ was provided by the Phoebe W. Haas Charitable Trusts and the Otto Haas Charitable Trust.

“We are delighted the Phoebe W. Haas Charitable Trusts and the Otto Haas Charitable Trust have shown both early and visionary support of Verizon Hall’s new organ with significant leadership gifts,” said Kimmel Center President and CEO Janice Price. “The Philadelphia community has clearly embraced what has very quickly become a valued and treasured asset at the Kimmel Center, now named The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ.”

“The new organ has significantly expanded the repertoire and programming possibilities for both Kimmel Center Presents and The Philadelphia Orchestra,” said Kimmel Center Vice President of Programming and Education Mervon Mehta. “We look forward to hearing the instrument’s first notes at our organ festival in May, as well as the extraordinary range of very fine performers who will join us at our festival.”

The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, Dobson organ Op. 76, will rank as one of the largest concert hall organs in the United States when complete, with 6,938 pipes, four blowers, 300 levels of memory, 111 stops, pipe sizes ranging from that of about the size of a drinking straw up to two feet square by 32 feet in length, and a total weight of app. 32 tons. Verizon Hall closed for six weeks during the summer of 2005 to complete the installation, and voicing and tuning of each of the individual pipes continues throughout the winter months during the overnight shifts when the hall is not in use, with completion scheduled for late April 2006.

The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ will be inaugurated with an organ festival comprised of 24 concerts over two weeks, beginning May 11, 2006. Performances will include The Philadelphia Orchestra led by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach; a marathon series of short recitals by several guest organists, including Diane Belcher, Alan Morrison, Cameron Carpenter and Marvin Mills; a performance by The Philadelphia Singers, led by conductor David Hayes with the Mannes College of Music Orchestra of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, plus the world premiere performance of a commission of a new work for solo organ; a family performance by the Mum Puppettheatre with Wanamaker organist Peter Conte; silent films with improvised organ music by Tom Trenney, including Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush and Douglas Fairbanks’ Mark of Zorro; and a performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra led by German conductor Manfred Honeck with Bryn Mawr organist Jeffrey Brillhart. Additional details and a full performance schedule will follow in January 2006.

Additional information is available here:

Kimmel Center, Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit organization, owns, manages, supports and maintains The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, Innovation Studio and the Merck Arts Education Center. Kimmel Center, Inc. also manages the Academy of Music, owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Academy of Music serve as home to eight Resident Company performing arts organizations, including The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, American Theater Arts for Youth, PHILADANCO, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Peter Nero and the Philly Pops®. Kimmel Center, Inc.’s mission also includes arts in education, community outreach and a rich diversity of programming through its Kimmel Center Presents and Broadway at the Academy series of performances.

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