University of Dubuque Commissions Custom-Crafted Pipe Organ

University of Dubuque President Jeffrey F. Bullock is excited to announce today the commissioning of Dobson Pipe Organ Builders to build and install a pipe organ in Heritage Center’s John and Alice Butler Hall to expand students’ musical horizons and enhance campus events.

The $2.4 million pipe organ, known as Opus 97, is the gift of UD Trustee John Butler (DHL’17) and his spouse, Alice (DHL’17).Construction of the pipe organ began in Dobson’s workshop last year. Installation will begin May 2020 and be completed November 2020. Some prep work will occur in Heritage Center this summer.

Opus 97 consists of four divisions playable on three manual keyboards and pedal. Somewhat unconventionally, all manual divisions are enclosed for maximum dynamic flexibility. Unusual too is the provision of a Solo as the third manual division rather than a more ordinary Positive or Choir, an approach Dobson has explored with success in several previous instruments.

Opus 97 represents a homecoming for Dobson. Having worked the past two decades with clients from coast to coast and overseas – the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Merton College at Oxford University, Saint Thomas Church in New York City, among others – Opus 97 is the firm’s first new organ for an Iowa client since 1996.

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