Rudolf von Beckerath

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Rudolf von Beckerath (19 February 1907 – 22 November 1976) was a German master organ builder. He was born in Munich, but grew up in Hamburg, where his family moved the year he was born. He initially pursued an interest in mechanical engineering. After encountering the quality of northern German pipe organs, particularly that of master builder Arp Schnitger, Beckerath's interest shifted. He trained as a cabinet maker at the art school in Hamburg, while studying the fundamentals of organ building on his own. In the cellar of his parents' home, he built a small house-organ, which was heard in a radio broadcast from the house and in concerts there.

His training continued in France, where he moved on the recommendation of Hans Henny Jahnn. In Châtillon-sous-Bagneux, near Paris, he entered the workshop of Victor Gonzalez. By the 1950s and 1960s, Beckerath's own firm became one of the leaders of the Organ Reform Movement in North America and Northern Europe.[1]

North American churches with noteworthy Beckerath organs include Trinity Lutheran Church (Cleveland, Ohio), Holy Cross Lutheran Church (Wichita, Kansas),[2] St. Michael's Episcopal Church (Manhattan),[3] Saint Joseph's Oratory Montreal, Quebec,[4] First Congregational Church (Columbus, Ohio),[5] Dwight Chapel, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut,[6] St. Turibius Chapel, Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio,[7] and St. Paul Cathedral (RC), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[8]


  1. ^ Phelps, Lawrence I. (Spring 1967). "A Short History of the Organ Revival". Church Music. Concordia. 67 (1). Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  2. ^ "Cleveland Beckerath – Cleveland". Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  3. ^ "St. Michael's Church (Episcopal) – New York City". Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  4. ^ "Organs – Saint-Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal". Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  5. ^ "First Congregational Church, UCC Columbus – The Organs". Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  6. ^ "Welcome – Institute of Sacred Music". Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  7. ^ "Pontifical College Josephinum". Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  8. ^ "Cathedral Organ – Specifications & Past Performers – St. Paul Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA". Retrieved 2014-01-05.

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