Manuel Rosales (organ builder)

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Manuel J. Rosales, Jr., (born 1947, New York City)[1] is an American organ builder whose instruments display a strong synthesis of romantic and contemporary styles.[2] His workshop has built over 30 pipe organs[3] with his notable output including collaborations on the instruments at Walt Disney Concert Hall and Rice University.[4]

Notable Instruments[edit]

Rosales organ at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, OR

Rosales achieved notoriety in 1987 with the bold tonal design[5] of his new instrument for Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. Built at a cost of $1 million, a substantial figure for an organ at that time,[6] it is considered to be “one of the great organs in the United States”.[7] Two years later, Rosales completed an organ conceived in the early Spanish style for Mission San José,[8] joining a movement of American organ builders who, during the 1980s and 1990s, designed instruments in specific historic styles that embrace the literature of their period.[9]

Notable Collaborations[edit]

In 1995, Rosales collaborated with the organ building firm of C. B. Fisk in the design and voicing of a 75-stop organ for the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Designed along French classical and romantic lines, its full ensemble is intended to evoke the powerful and fiery tone found in the works of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.[4]

Rosales consulted on the organ for the Walt Disney Concert Hall, working for two years with architect Frank Gehry to arrive at a solution that would integrate Gehry’s sculptural vision of an explosion of pipework with the musical requirements for a functional organ. Later, Glatter-Götz Orgelbau company of Owingen, Germany, built the instrument and installed it in 2004, with Rosales completing the finishing and voicing process later that year.[10]


  1. ^ Rosales, Manuel; Rosales Pipe Organ Services, Inc. "Biography of Manuel J. Rosales". Archived from the original on 2009-11-07. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  2. ^ Bicknell, Stephen (1999-03-04). "Organ building today". In Thistlethwaite, Nicholas; Webber, Geoffrey. The Cambridge Companion to the Organ. Cambridge Companions to Music. Cambridge University Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-521-57584-3. Retrieved 2012-10-17. ...Rosales...confidently celebrates aspects of the romantic tradition....the appearance of strong romantic and contemporary influence in the work of Rosales or van den Heuvel is notable, as is the relaxation of the neo-classical rule that only mechanical action is acceptable. 
  3. ^ Rosales Pipe Organ Services, Inc. "Instruments". Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  4. ^ a b Whitney, Craig (2004-09-15). "Back to the Future". All The Stops: The Glorious Pipe Organ And Its American Masters. New York, NY: PublicAffairs. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-7867-4025-3. Retrieved 2012-10-17. ...a seventy-five-stop organ combining French classical and romantic sounds, much as Caville-Coll had done at St. Sulpice, ...Rosales remained involved as collaborator and co-voicer...the sound of full organ was designed to be equally fiery and powerful in tone. 
  5. ^ Adam, Joseph (1995-10-01). "Rosales, Opus 11". The American Organist. ...undeniably beautiful but solid... 
  6. ^ Stabler, David (2012-08-13). "Clefnotes: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral marks 25th anniversary of Rosales organ". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2012-10-18. The city's first $1 million instrument did not disappoint, filling the cathedral with glorious, reedy sound... 
  7. ^ D'Antoni, Tom (2008-05-01). "Organist Catherine Crozier". Oregon Art Beat. Oregon Public Broadcasting. Archived from the original on 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2012-10-18. ...[Catherine Crozier] plays the mighty Rosales, one of the great organs in the United States. 
  8. ^ Rosales Pipe Organ Services, Inc. "Mission San José". Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  9. ^ Reed, Douglas (1999-03-04). "North American organ music after 1800". In Thistlethwaite, Nicholas; Webber, Geoffrey. The Cambridge Companion to the Organ. Cambridge University Press. p. 310. ISBN 978-0-521-57584-3. Retrieved 2012-10-17. During the 1980s and 90s, several other American builders (...Rosales...) built instruments in specific styles (e.g., early Spanish,...) in an attempt to better illuminate the historic organ repertoire. 
  10. ^ Whitney, Craig R. (2004-05-11). "Pipes Askew, It Still Needs to Sing". The New York Times. Frank wanted it to look unlike any other organ you'd ever seen, said its creator, Manuel J. Rosales....Now Mr. Rosales is trying to make it sound unlike any other organ you've ever heard. And that is an acoustical and engineering challenge as formidable as any organ maker has faced. 

External links[edit]