J. L. van den Heuvel Orgelbouw

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J. L. van den Heuvel Orgelbouw
Organ builder
Industry Pipe organ construction and restoration
Founded 1967
Headquarters Dordrecht, Netherlands
Key people
Jan L. and Peter van den Heuvel
Products New and restored pipe organs
Services Maintenance and restoration of old organs; construction of new organs
Website http://vandenheuvel-orgelbouw.nl/English.htm

J. L. van den Heuvel Orgelbouw is a firm of pipe organ builders, based in Dordrecht, Netherlands. The company specialises in the construction of instruments in the French Symphonic tradition.

History of the firm[edit]

Jan van den Heuvel had, from early childhood, felt an affinity with symphonic organ music. Jan founded his organ building company in 1967 at the age of twenty (this made him the youngest organ builder in the Netherlands), having spent four years in training with Flentrop in Zaandam, where he persisted in his championship of the romantic organ in the face of Dirk Andries Flentrop's neo-Baroque ideals.[1]

Jan van den Heuvel constructed his first organ (one manual and pedals, 10 stops) in 1967, attracting immediate critical acclaim for its voicing and high build standard. The actual construction took place in the workshop belonging to his father, a painter. He was commissioned to build a new three manual organ of 32 stops for the Singelkerk at Ridderkerk as a result of the many positive reactions to this first instrument - a significant milestone in the young organ-builder's career, as he was responsible not only for the design and construction of the instrument, but also for the richly carved organ case.[2] The commissioning of this instrument necessitated the construction of a new workshop, which Jan van den Heuvel himself designed. The instrument attracted widespread praise, leading to numerous orders for new organs and restoration of existing instruments. A new organ of two manuals and 33 stops was commissioned for the Lambertuskerk, Strijen, which was delivered in 1975, the year in which Jan's 17-year-old brother Peter joined the firm.[3] Expansion of the business, with further enlargement of the workshops, was underpinned by receipt of a volume of new contracts for large organs. Particularly worthy of mention amongst these are the instruments in the Nieuwe Kerk, Katwijk aan Zee, l'Église Saint-Eustache, Paris (the largest organ in France), the Victoria Hall in Geneva and the Katarina kyrka in Stockholm (the last two buildings now restored after being gutted by fire) and the DR-BYEN Hall in Copenhagen.

Tonal ethos[edit]

Both Jan and Peter van den Heuvel were for a number of years interested in nineteenth century French organ building, as well as the traditions previously practiced in the Netherlands. Their contact with French organists such as Michelle Leclerc and Daniel Roth spurred them on to further studies on the Aristide Cavaillé-Coll organs. This led to numerous visits to France, not only to study and evaluate famous Cavaille-Coll organs (such as St. Sulpice, Notre-Dame and Sacré-Cœur in Paris).[4] The brothers developed Cavaillé-Coll's own schemes to establish a style of organ that was entirely their own, but completely inspired by the French Symphonic tradition. This ethos continues to this day. However, not only does the firm specialise in French-style instruments, but they have also built organs in traditional Dutch style.

Notable organs[edit]

Date Country Place Building Size Comments
1970 NL Ridderkerk Singelkerk IIIP/32 J. L. van den Heuvel's first major commission
1979 NL Katwijk aan Zee Nieuwe Kerk IVP/80 One of the Netherlands' largest organs
1989 FR Paris Église Saint-Eustache VP/101 The largest organ in France
1992 CH Geneva Victoria Hall IVP/71 The only van den Heuvel organ in Switzerland
1993 GB London Royal Academy of Music, Duke's Hall IIP/24 The only van den Heuvel organ in Britain
1994 USA New York City Church of the Holy Apostles IIIP/32 The first vdH organ in the USA. Originally in Castle Shiloah, TX.
1995 SE Stockholm Kungliga Musikhögskolan IIIP/25 The first van den Heuvel organ in Sweden.
1995 NL Rotterdam Maranatha Kerk IIIP/25 The Musikhögskolan's twin, built for another buyer who pulled out
1997 DE Berlin St Franziskus Kirche IIIP/51 The only van den Heuvel organ in Germany
2000 SE Stockholm Katarina Kyrka IIIP/62 Replaced a 1976 Åkerman & Lund organ destroyed by fire in 1990
2000 NL The Hague Residence of Ben van Oosten IIIP/16 vdH's first commission for a house-organ from a famous organist
2000 FI Mänttä Church IIIP/30 The only vdH organ in Finland: also, their only totally enclosed organ
2006 DK Copenhagen Copenhagen Concert Hall IVP/91 The only van den Heuvel organ in Denmark. Inaugurated in 2009.

Notable players of van den Heuvel organs[edit]

Photo gallery[edit]

External links[edit]