Magazine article The Tracker

Obituaries: Dirk A. Flentrop

Magazine article The Tracker

Obituaries: Dirk A. Flentrop

Article excerpt

Dirk A. Flentrop, a Dutch organ builder who influenced a generation of American counterparts in making pipe organs that play and sound like the classical Baroque instruments of Bach's time, died at his home in Santpoort, the Netherlands, on November 30, 2003 his company, Flentrop Orgelbouw, announced. He was 93. Mr. Flentrop headed the company, which is based in Zaandam, from 1940 to 1976. He took over from his father, Hendrik Flentrop, an organist who founded the company in 1903.

Inspired by what his father had learned in restoring 17th- and 18th-century European instruments, Mr. Flentrop, who also played the organ, built hundreds of new instruments in the Netherlands and elsewhere using historical construction techniques - mechanical connections between keys and pipes, bright and clear tones, elegant wooden cases to focus sound.

His influence spread to the United States in 1958, thanks to his friend E. Power Biggs, the concert organist, whom Mr. Flentrop had guided on a tour of European Baroque organs in 1954.

Most American pipe organs in the mid-20th century were being made with remote-control electropneumatic playing action and pipes that often imitated the sounds of the orchestra-unresponsive and heavy sounding, to Mr. Biggs's ears. He ordered an organ from Mr. …

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