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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

[1911 Wanamaker Grand Court Organ at the Macy’s Center City in Philadelphia, PA]
1911 Wanamaker Organ at the Macy’s Center City in Philadelphia, PA

The Wanamaker Legacy

…since its inauguration in 1911, the 1911 Wanamaker Organ, at Macy’s, has prevailed as an internationally renowned fixture of the downtown Philadelphia commercial and cultural scene. We explore its resources with artist-in-residence Peter Conte and curator Curt Mangel.

Audio 0835 Complete Show 1 hr 28 min

Audio 0835 Part 1 30:16
Audio 0835 Part 2 22:35
Audio 0835 Part 3 35:09

Program Broadcast dates:

  • Week of September 01, 2008

Links and Resources:

  • Audio Curt Mangel  Wanamaker Organ Curators Curt Mangel and Sam Whitcraft, and their dedicated crew are working overtime to prepare the Grand Court Organ for its upcoming ‘debut’ with the Philadelphia Orchestra, in particular, reactivating the long-dormant Orchestral Division, a project made possible by a gift from the late Edith Brickman.
  • Audio Ray Biswanger  Executive Director Ray Biswanger talks about the work of the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ, a non-profit support group with an international reach, organized in 1992.
  • Audio Robin Hall  Macy’s vice-president of the Parade and Entertainment Group, Robin Hall, talks about the important corporate involvement which his company provides to keep the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ alive and well.

Music played in the program

SIR ARTHUR SULLIVAN: H.M.S. Pinafore Overture

ROBERT HEBBLE: Homage to Fritz Kreisler, Londonderry Air


MARCEL DUPRÉ: The World Awaiting the Savior, from Symphonie-Passion, Opus 23


SIR EDWARD ELGAR: Nimrod, and Finale, from Enigma Variations, Opus 86

LOUIS VIERNE: Toccata, from Pieces de fantasie, Opus 53

MARCEL DUPRÉ: Nativité-Crucifixion-Résurrection, from Symphonie-Passion, Opus 23

Filler –LEONARD BERNSTEIN (see above)


Performances here are derived, in part, from compact discs available on the Gothic Records label, and from recordings made during the American Guild of Organists National Convention, recorded in June of 2004, and the American Theatre Organ Society ‘Afterglow’ concert from July 2007.

The Wanamaker Grand Court Organ is played daily at Macy’s Center City department store in downtown Philadelphia. [Schedule]

A few tickets may still be available for a gala concert on September 27, 2008, in celebration of Macy’s 150th Anniversary, when the world’s largest functioning pipe organ is presented in concert with the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra. More information is available online through the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ. See you there!