University of Minnesota

Northrop Auditorium

Minneapolis, MN
This organ received OHS Citation #249 (1990)
Builder: Aeolian-Skinner
Opus: 892, 892A, 892B, 892C
Manuals: IV
Stops: 81
Pipes: 6975
Ranks: 108
Action: Electro-Pneumatic
Year: 1932-1935

--Information from Dean Billmeyer, Mike Foley, Laura Edman, Charles Hendrickson and David Engen.
Foley-Baker, Inc. removed the Northrop Organ and placed it in storage on campus. Northrop Auditorium was down-sized from a 4800 seat room to a 2800 seat room. There are three balconies rather than the original one. The organ chambers originally above the stage have been reconstructed. Instead of two levels there is one, with the pedal moved to chambers flanking the sides of the stage. The thick plaster grill through which the organ spoke into the vast hall has been removed so sound egress into the room is direct. Completed restoration planned for 2018, with no tonal changes.
Since the organ was installed under four contracts, begun by Skinner and completed by Harrison, it is interesting to note the change in materials during this time. The earliest Great 8' diapasons are lead and the late ones are spotted metal.
-- Last update 05/31/2017
Pre renovation:
Northrop Auditorium was completed in 1930, and the organ was installed in four stages between 1932 and 1935 as funds became available. There is virtually no reverberation in the 4800-seat auditorium. The organ is installed in the upper center of the proscenium shell and the console is located on a lift in the front-center of the orchestra pit seventy feet below and behind the proscenium. The organ is best heard in the balcony. It was designed by Ernest Skinner but installed and finished by G. Donald Harrison. The organ almost died a couple of times but has been lovingly cared for by Gordon Schultz, who has kept the organ operational since the 1970s.
Housed in the ceiling of the auditorium, above the stage and behind the proscenium, the organ speaks through the proscenium’s grillwork and is played from a four-manual console located in the orchestra pit. Completely unaltered, intact, and in its original condition after 75 years, the Northrop organ possesses enormous historical value and is one of the most important instruments in the Upper Midwest.
16 Diapason
8 First Diapason
8 Second Diapason
8 Third Diapason
8 Flute Harmonique
8 Gedeckt
8 Viola
8 Gemshorn
5-1/3 Quint
4 Octave
4 Second Octave
4 Flute
3-1/5 Tenth
2-2/3 Twelfth
2 Fifteenth
VII Plein Jeu
IV Harmonics
16 Contra Tromba
8 Tromba
4 Octave Tromba
16 Bourdon
16 Gemshorn
8 Geigen Diapason
8 Hohlflute
8 Rohrflute
8 Flauto Dolce
8 Flute Celeste
8 Salicional
8 Voix Celeste
8 Echo Gamba
8 Echo Celeste
4 Octave Geigen
4 Flute
4 Violina
2-2/3 Twelfth
2 Fifteenth
V Dolce Cornet
V Chorus Mixture
16 Posaune
8 French Trumpet
8 Cornopean
8 Oboe
8 Vox Humana
4 Clarion
16 Contra Viole
8 Diapason
8 Concert Flute
8 Cor de Nuit
8 Dulcet II
8 Dulciana
8 Unda Maris
4 Flute
4 Gemshorn
2-2/3 Nazard
2 Piccolo
1-3/5 Tierce
1-1/3 Larigot
III Dulciana Mixture
16 Fagotto
8 Trumpet
8 Orchestral Oboe
8 Clarinet
16 Contra Gamba
8 Flauto Mirabilis
8 Gamba
8 Gamba Celeste
8 Aetherial Celeste II
4 Orchestral Flute
4 Octave Gamba
III Cornet de Viole
16 Corno di Bassetto
8 English Horn
8 French Horn
8 Tuba Mirabilis
4 Tuba Clarion
32 Double Open Diapason
32 Sub Bourdon
16 Diapason
16 Metal Diapason
16 Diapason (Gt)
16 Contra Basse
16 Contra Gamba (Solo)
16 Contra Viole (Ch)
16 Bourdon
16 Gemshorn (Sw)
16 Echo Lieblich (Sw)
8 Octave
8 Cello
8 Viole (Ch)
8 Gedeckt
8 Still Gedeckt (Sw)
5-1/3 Twelfth
4 Super Octave
4 Flute
V Harmonics
32 Bombarde
32 Contra Fagotto (Ch)
16 Trombone
16 Posaune (Sw)
16 Fagotto (Ch)
8 Tromba
4 Clarion
Black and white photos show Northrop as it was until the renovations of both hall and organ. In the picture at left can be seen the ceiling grill (about 18" thick) through which the organ spoke. Stacked chambers were directly above the stage, with the sound reflected by a huge curved "tone chute". The four enclosed divisions (Swell, Choir on left, enclosed Great and Solo on right) were centered, with big pedal at the far left and the remaining pedal and Great on the right. The pedal mixture chest alone stood in front of the enclosures in the most prominent acoustic location near the opening.
From before the renovation: on the left is the console on its lift. On the left is a view of 32' Bombarde boots.
Only 32' C of the Bombarde required a miter. Ladder to Solo, with walkway outside the Solo chamber. On the right: 32' Open Diapason in wood, on the left side of the chamber.
On the left is a view down to the stage from the chamber door through which the entire organ was removed. Right: enclosed Great Tromba chorus. (There is a cornopean chorus in the swell)
On left are the largest wood pedal stops. On the right is a view from the Solo chamber down to one of the exposed Great chests. The huge ceiling grill would be directly above this picture.
Left: Solo chamber, which houses four chests on two pressures. English Horn in foreground. Right is Pedal Harmonics V, which includes a tierce and seventh.
Left: An inscription from the original installation showing names and dates, written on the outside of the Solo chamber.

Remaining pictures are from Foley-Baker, showing various states of reconstruction and installation. Shown here is the empty Swell chamber.
Left: Swell chamber partially filled with restored pipes.

Right: restored blower room.
Left: chest set up in Foley-Baker shop.

Right: completed Northrop Auditorium with reduced seating and three balconies instead of one.
Other views of the revised Northrop. Only the ornate proscenium arch remains of the visible elements from the old hall.