Massey Memorial Organ

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The Massey Memorial Pipe Organ is located in Western New York's famous Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater, which is open-air except for its roof. The high-precision instrument is subject to harsh winter conditions from the snowbelt downwind of Lake Erie. It is generally considered to be an outdoor symphonic organ and at last count contains 5,640 pipes.[attribution needed] The instrument was installed in 1907 and given to the Chautauqua Institution by Eliza A. Massey in memory of her husband, Hart Massey. During the Chautauqua summer season, which runs from late June to late August, there are recitals on the Massey Organ most Wednesdays by organist Jared Jacobsen. There are also tours of the organ and "Children's Encounter" programs on alternating Sunday evenings.[1]

In 1928 and 1972, the Massey Organ received tonal changes, replacement and reconfigurement of some of its pipes. In 1992–1993, it received a complete reconstruction by the Fischer Pipe Organ Company of Erie, Pennsylvania. All the existing pipes were restored to their original stop designations and some were replaced. As of 2016, the instrument has 5,640 pipes.[2]

A video documentary showing the instrument's 1992–1993 reconstruction was made by Rochester Institute of Technology student Frederick Rueckert, and is currently available at the Chautauqua Institution bookstore under the title "Between the motion and the music, the Massey Organ Reconstruction". In 2003, a 32' Bombarde stop was added to the instrument by Fischer Pipe Organ Company, donated by Rueckert in memory of his grandparents and his college documentary project.

In September 2016, the Amphitheater was demolished to make way for a new and updated structure that will integrate the existing Massey Memorial Organ and organ vault, which were left intact.[3]


  1. ^ Vidaver, Lois (August 2007). "One Hundred Years of Massey Magic". The American Organist. Retrieved September 28, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Chautauqua Amphitheater Structural History" (PDF). Chautauqua Institution. Archived from the original on August 26, 2016. 
  3. ^ Steves, Jordan (September 15, 2016). "September Amphitheater Update". Chautauqua Institution.