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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Wotan
1913 Welte Wotan of the Sanfilippo Collection

A Home for Music

It must be pretty wonderful to have a pipe organ in your living room and still more amazing to own the largest theatre organ in the world. On our next Pipedreams program, we visit the Place de Musique, Jasper and Marion Sanfilippo’s snazzy residence north of Chicago to hear Tom Hazleton play the Mighty Wurlitzer Plus, and explore with curator Robert Ridgeway some of the other marvelous musical machinery for which the Sanfilippos have an obvious fascination. Before radio, surround-sound stereos and video arcades, you could summon your own private concert at the drop of a coin. Hear the photoplayers, music boxes, automatic violinas and orchestrions all restored to better-than-new condition.

Hear a world of music spring to life as we visit a private collection of marvelous mechanical musical instruments: band organs, pianolas, a violano-virtuoso, and a Mighty Wurlitzer. In the company of Tom Hazleton and Robert Ridgeway, ours is a special guided tour like no other of A Home for Music this week on Pipedreams.

Program Broadcast dates:

  • March 19, 2001

Links and Resources:

Music played in the program

FRED FISHER: Chicago. JOHANN STRAUSS II: Pizzicato Polka. VINCENT YOUMANS/GEORGE GERSHWIN: Praise Choruses: It’s ain’t necessarily so; Someone to watch over me; I’ll build a stairway to paradise; Sing Hallelujah!; Our love is here to stayTom Hazleton (1927 Wurlitzer/Place de la Musique, Sanfilippo Residence, Barrington, IL) recorded October 19, 1997

SIDNEY TORCH: Hot DogTom Hazleton, via digital playback sequencer; recorded October 17, 1997

Von TILZER: Oh, how she could dance (1913 Welte Wotan Orchestrion/Place de la Musique, Sanfilippo Residence, Barrington, IL)

FRITZ KREISLER: Liebesleid (Mills Violano Virtuoso/Place de la Musique, Sanfilippo Residence, Barrington, IL)

WALTER DONALDSON: How ya gonna keep them down on the farm (1927 Wurlitzer/Place de la Musique, Sanfilippo Residence, Barrington, IL)

WALTER DONALDSON: You. W.C. HANDY: Saint Louis BluesTom Hazleton, via digital playback sequencer; recorded October 17, 1997

ROBERT HEBBLE: Simple GiftsTom Hazleton (1927 Wurlitzer/Place de la Musique, Sanfilippo Residence, Barrington, IL) Hopeful Heart CD-202

Filler –SIDNEY TORCH: On a Spring Note; Hopeful Heart CD-202 (see above)

In addition to the instruments listed above, you’ll also hear a Philips Pianella Paganini Violin-Piano - Style 3, a Wurlitzer Mandolin PianOrchestra, a Mills Multi-Violino, a Wurlitzer Mandolin Quartet, and a Wurlitzer Photo-Player - Style K. These are just a few of the several hundred player-instruments, phonographs, music boxes, and other intricate and marvelous devices found in Jasper Sanfilippo’s remarkable and comprehensive collection, all made possible by, but not for, peanuts!