THE WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL PIPE ORGAN: INSPIRED FORM, FLAWLESS FUNCTION

This unique and powerful instrument has a story almost as complex as that of its home.

WDCH Balcony View of Stage (2011) by Adam LanthamLA Phil

The Quest for Something New

Architect Frank Gehry devoted a great deal of time to the design of Walt Disney Concert Hall's main auditorium and its signature pipe organ. He worked with Los Angeles organ designer and builder Manuel J. Rosales to create something different from a typical church organ.

Detail of the WDCH Organ Manuals (2010) by Mathew ImagingLA Phil

Gehry’s initial designs included pipes hanging from the ceiling and the organist in a cage halfway up the wall. Rosales found the concepts fanciful and marvelous, but he knew there was no way they would lead to the construction of a practical musical instrument.

WDCH Terrace View of Stage (2003) by Frederico ZignaniLA Phil

Eventually, Gehry presented a concept that looked like a cluster of flowers shooting out of the ground. Rosales loved it and agreed they could pursue the new design. What we see today is the dramatically splayed composition of beams that Gehry refers to as “French fries.” (And they are certainly supersized!)

Detail Above the WDCH Organ Pipes (2011) by Adam LanthamLA Phil

A Closer Look at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Pipe Organ

These videos and photos provide a behind-the-scenes look at the design, construction, and inner workings of one of the world's most famous musical instruments.

Detail of the WDCH Organ Stops (2011) by Adam LanthamLA Phil

VIDEO: BUILDING THE WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL ORGAN (2014)LA Phil

From Inside the Music with Classical KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen celebrating the 10th anniversary of the WDCH organ

Underneath the WDCH Organ (2011) by Adam LanthamLA Phil

Behind the WDCH Organ (2011) by Adam LanthamLA Phil

VIDEO: IN THE EYE OF HURRICANE MAMA (2014)LA Phil

From Inside the Music with Classical KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen celebrating the 10th anniversary of the WDCH organ

Detail Below the WDCH Organ Pipes (2011) by Adam LanthamLA Phil

Mash Note on WDCH Organ by Composer Terry Riley (2011) by Adam LanthamLA Phil

Mash Notes on WDCH Organ by Previous Organists (2011) by Adam LanthamLA Phil

Dedication Text and Mash Notes on WDCH Organ (2011) by Adam LanthamLA Phil

VIDEO: THE ARTIST AND THE MUSE (2014)LA Phil

From Inside the Music with Classical KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen celebrating the 10th anniversary of the WDCH organ

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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