"George Eastman House Press Release"


Parsons Pipe Organ Builders has been selected to install Aeolian Opus 1345, a close relative of the Aeolian Organ, Opus 1416, that once played daily in the Conservatory for the pleasure of Mr. George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, NY. Kathy Connor, Curator of the George Eastman House, has contracted with Parsons Pipe Organ Builders in Canandaigua, NY to remove the fully restored Aeolian, Opus 1345, organ from Dr. Richard Zipfís home in California and transport it to Rochester for reinstallation in the second floor organ chamber that once housed Opus 1416, the former North organ. The components and pipework of Aeolian Opus 1345 will be connected to and made playable with Aeolian Opus 947, the original South organ.

A collector and restorer of a wide variety of antiques, the donor, Dr. Zipf, not only decided to offer the Aeolian 1345 pipe organ and its accessories to the Museum but to provide the much needed funds to have it professionally disassembled, packed and transported to Rochester, NY, and then modified to fit into the original space, now being reallocated by the Museum.

When Mr. Joseph Blackburn, the resident organist and volunteer for the Museum, came across the advertisement for this organ he recognized how close the donorís organ was to the long lost North organ George Eastman once had in his home in the present day Discovery room. Mr. Eastmanís North organ has been missing since the 1950ís. Mr. Blackburn was instrumental in the correspondence and negotiations moving forward with Dr. Zipf.

Mr. Bryant G. Parsons, Sr. was employed by Mr. Eastman himself to tune and maintain the Aeolian pipe organ in his home. Bryantís most common task, every Monday for 52 Mondayís a year, was to change the paper rolls on Mr. Eastmanís Concertola (10 roll player mechanism) designed to play back music recorded by the foremost organists of the day. Today Bryant Parsonsí grandsons and great-grandsons continue to service and tune the South organ regularly.

The organ is now located at the Parsonsí workshop in Bristol center. For the removal process, the team from Parsons was joined by two Museum volunteers, Joe Blackburn and Richard Eastman (no relation). Together the team removed, packed and inventoried all of the 3,300 pipes and other components, for transportation to Rochester for reinstallation at George Eastman House. The organ will be reconfigured during the summer of 2012 to fit the original chamber, with installation beginning in September, 2012. It is expected that the organ will be ready for its debut at the George Eastman House by Spring, 2013.

The original South organ, while functional in many ways, remains in desperate need of restoration. It is the goal of the Museum and the dedicated volunteers to see the organ perform to original grandeur, as once heard by Mr. Eastman. Anyone interested in donating to this project for future restoration may contact the Museum via telephone at 585-271-3361 x242 or via the web at www.eastmanhouse.org.

Copyright © 2012 Parsons Pipe Organ Builders