THE ORGAN BUILDERS
"If the organ really is 'the king of instruments', Klais is the power behind the throne."
- The Times (London)
After a worldwide search that ended in July 2001, a team of MSO staff, board members and acousticians selected Orgelbau Klais
in Bonn, Germany, to build the Overture Concert Organ.
"Organ building has been the principal concern of the Klais family for 120 years. My great-grandfather, Johannes, started the company in 1882 and I learned the business at the knee of my father, Hans Gerd," explained Philipp Klais, fourth-generation managing director of Orgelbau Klais. "The key personnel in my workshop have over 300 years of organ-building experience, including concert hall experience on more than 20 organs on four continents."
Klais has built organs for the concert halls of Cologne and Munich, Germany; Brisbane, Australia; Athens, Greece; London and Birmingham, England; Kyoto, Japan; Krakau, Poland; Hong Kong, China; and Delaware, Ohio; among other cities.
The Orgelbau Klais workshop, located on the street where Beethoven grew up, employs 65 highly skilled and trained organ builders and four carpenters. The workers live and work under the same roof, taking meals together and working side by side in the shop.
The Klais company houses a timber yard where wood is dried for a period of 6 to 10 years before it is used in their organs. Natural timber-drying is best because it ensures that humidity and tension work their way out of the wood. The woods primarily used are oak, fir and beech.
This is the second collaboration between Orgelbau Klais and Overture Center architect Cesar Pelli
. They previously worked together on the Petronas Concert Hall in the Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the home of the Kuala Lumpur Symphony Orchestra. This is the third collaboration between Orgelbau Klais and Overture Hall acousticians Kirkegaard Associates