For many people, organ music is for weddings, funerals, and the Phantom of the Opera. But as the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports, this pious pocket of classical music is starting to become mainstream.
Why didn't we know about this before? After the gala installation of the Kimmel Center's Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in 2006, interest waned among less-devout concertgoers. And let's face it, the organ community can seem like a forbidding club of connoisseurs. The organ could have sunk into aficionado obscurity.
Instead, honored collaborators were brought in, such as the Mendelssohn Club choir last season. And maybe organists needed a few years to determine what makes that instrument sing. The answer is not, according to Philadelphia Orchestra organist Michael Stairs, pulling out all the stops. The disaster for the organ is...that it seems to be so hide bound and earth bound...when the reality is that it's the greatest instrument because of its malleability and versatility.