Learn about the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875
Photos provided by Sara Beatty, Chris Kralik, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Mark McDonald.
Sitting approximately 25 feet above the Helzberg Hall stage, the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875, is a one-of-a-kind musical masterpiece.
The crown jewel of Helzberg Hall was built specifically for the Kauffman Center by the world-renowned Casavant Frères at their facility in Quebec, Canada. After it was carefully crafted, it was disassembled into 20,000 pieces and transported 1,368 miles to its new home in Kansas City.
It took two months of installation and two months of testing to “voice” the organ in Helzberg Hall. Much of this work was done overnight to accommodate the brand-new concert hall’s busy performance schedule.
Named after Kauffman Center founder and Board Chairman Julia Irene Kauffman, this one-of-a-kind instrument showcases the incredible sound, elegant beauty and perfect harmony complementing the acoustical and visual design of Helzberg Hall.
Learn more about the history through Kansas City PBS’ documentary, Kingdom Come: The Making of Casavant Opus 3875.
Watch, Listen & Learn
Listen here to the Kauffman Center’s Best of: Pipe Organ Spotify Playlist
Pipe organs, like any other instrument, need to be played regularly and maintained. Grammy-nominated Organ Conservator Jan Kraybill joined the Kauffman Center shortly after the pipe organ’s installation. She maintains the instrument, performs in concerts with the Kansas City Symphony and welcomes guest organists, among other responsibilities.
Enjoy this series of six short performance videos from Kraybill as she offers a brief synopsis of each work before showcasing the instrument’s powerful voice. As an added resource to accompany these short videos, the Kauffman Center created a Pipe Organ Guide, perfect for teachers and parents. This guide contains fun facts, a glossary of terms, a word search and prompts for classroom discussion.
You can also enjoy three video tours from Organ Conservator Jan Kraybill as she takes you inside this amazing instrument.:
See more of the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875, through the Google Arts and Culture Exhibition, and learn more with our fun facts sheet.