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  • WDCH
  • Aug. 2, 2004
  • Newly Installed Instrument is Focal Point of 2004/2005 Season

    Local organist Philip A. Smith, who currently serves as Organist and Director of Music at the Wilshire United Methodist Church and Organist and Choir Director at Temple Israel Hollywood, has been appointed the Organ Conservator of the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. In this newly created position, Smith is responsible for collaborating with visiting organists to orient them with the organs' specifications and technical capabilities, as well as for evaluating the condition of the instrument on a day-to-day basis. Smith will work closely with Manuel Rosales, the organ builder, to monitor the care and use of the organ, and will make recommendations for its tuning and maintenance. He will also represent the Association as host to groups who may require a tour of the instrument.

    "The inauguration of the organ at Walt Disney Concert Hall this fall marks yet another landmark for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association," says Philharmonic President Deborah Borda. "We are delighted that Philip has accepted this vital position and are confident that he will take great care of this magnificent new instrument. His conservatorship will ensure the organ's continuing place in the musical life of the Philharmonic, of Los Angeles, and beyond."

    "I'm ecstatic to have been appointed to this position with the Los Angeles Philharmonic," says Philip Smith. "I've been a fan of the orchestra for over 30 years, and it's wonderful to see this orchestra and city have such a gem of an instrument to call its own. I am looking forward to spreading my own enthusiasm about the organ and organ music to the varied audiences of Los Angeles."

    Smith brings more than three decades of experience as organist and music director to this position. He has worked at numerous churches and temples throughout the Los Angeles area, as well as in Michigan and Ohio. Smith is a member of the Price/Smith Duo for trumpet and organ and the "Nicholas 3" trio, a voice, flute, and keyboard ensemble. He is also active as a teacher in organ, piano and voice. Smith maintains an active performing schedule, both in the United States and abroad, and continues to serve in the local chapters of the American Guild of Organists. Smith began his musical studies at the age of five, singing and playing the piano. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree (Organ) from Spring Arbor College in Michigan, and his Master of Music degree (Organ and Church Music) from the University of Michigan School of Music.

    The 6,134-pipe organ, one of the focal points of the Walt Disney Concert Hall auditorium and of the 2004/2005 season, is the designed by Frank Gehry and Manuel Rosales. Preceding the orchestra's subscription series, the Association christens the organ with an inaugural recital by Frederick Swann on September 30. The Opening Night Gala on October 1 and orchestral concerts throughout the season feature the new instrument. Five additional solo organ programs complete the new organ recital series. In addition, on Sunday, October 17, Los Angeles-based organists play free 30-minute recitals throughout the day as part of the Philharmonic's annual community festival day, featuring concerts and activities for children and families.

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  • Contact:

    Rachelle Roe, 213.972.7310; Sabrina Skacan, 213.972.3408