NEW VIRTUAL ORGAN TAKES THE STAGE IN FLORIDA POWERED BY CLASSIC MIDI WORKS & HAUPTWERK
Wellington, FL (February 4, 2012) . . . Following a lifetime of dreaming, 3 years of planning, acquisition, and budgeting, and 160 days of construction, the finishing touches are now being applied to the Classic MIDI Works Hauptwerk-powered virtual organ installation created for St. John’s Conservatory in Wellington, FL USA.
Built to AGO specifications with quality components from Classic Organ Works, the St. John’s 4-Manual/Pedal virtual organ is powered by Milan Digital Audio, LLC’s Hauptwerk Advanced Edition 4.0 software (www.milandigitalorgan.com) and operates on its own dedicated computer [Dell Studio 7072 XPS9000, WIN7 Ultimate, 64bit, Intel i7-980X processor (12MB L3 Cache, 3.33GHz), 24GB Tri-Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz-6DIMMs memory. Internal HD: 500GB 7200RPM SATA].
In addition to the complement of virtual organs included in Hauptwerk’s original client package, the principal sample set being used is Milan Digital’s huge Baroque 1741 Albertus Anthoni Hinsz (Bovenkerk, The Netherlands) VPO I+II+III.
Dual 19” touch screen monitors, mounted on ergonomic arms, extend 30” forward from their recessed position and tilt, swivel, or pivot to any landscape or portrait position required by the display software and add to the overall comfort, visibility, and control of an individual player.
Classic Organ Works supplied two Classic MIDI Pro keyboards with 20 pistons each and two Classic MIDI keyboards without pistons. The key cheeks and other custom console components were custom-made for Classic’s components and were fabricated by the owners’ expert artisan cabinetmaker, Flavio Zambrano. Classic’s 32-note pedalboard was pre-wired to accommodate 10 brass-plated toe pistons and triple expression shoes. An additional universal volume controller and piano sustain pedal were added to the expression portal cutout to control future MIDI instrument expansion modules.
The pipe elegant and dramatic façade, complete with a genuine positif layout of ten gold lipped pipes with laser-cut C-N-C coral screen patterned pipe shades was designed by the owners and hand-made in Sarasota, FL by Eugene Oberstutz president and creative director of Oberstütz Orgelbau, in order to add the highest level of visual realism to the powerful audio dynamic of Hauptwerk’s sampling.
State of the art audio and video play a critical role in the functionality of this virtual organ. The digital audio signal, the voice of the instrument, is converted by two Echo AudioFire 12 (12x12) sound cards that push the audio signal to 16 powered and unpowered recording studio quality speakers. Ten speakers (including the subwoofer) are located in the organ façade with the center channel placed in the façade bridge; two surround speakers are positioned mid-room; and four additional speakers are concealed in the left and right rear cabinetry, two speakers on each side. The result is that players hear and feel an amazing “envelope” of sound that offers an extraordinary range of control over the voicing of the instrument. Naturally, additional speakers may be added at any time.
The Conservatory’s virtual organ is performer-friendly. While AGO-specified, the custom-built console is completely ergonomic and micro-adjustable for every player’s body type and playing style. In addition to placing organ controls within easy and totally adjustable reach, additional lighting is supplied to the manuals and pedals for sight-friendly viewing as well as for high-fidelity HD video recording. The console cabinetry also conceals access to eight independent audio mixer lines that are currently configured for acoustic guitar pickups and vocal microphones in order to accommodate individual or small ensemble recording. The virtual organ, of course, records its own performance in several audio formats, including MIDI, using Hauptwerk’s internal systems.
Up to six switchable, Internet-capable, HD Web cams will be positioned to view, display, and record an organist’s manual and pedal technique as well as to capture individual and group performances at events held in the Conservatory’s studio.
The Conservatory’s virtual organ occupies the entire second floor of the owner’s private Palm Beach County residence. A study is currently being conducted to determine if it’s possible to use recently-developed wireless technology and SIRI to connect the Conservatory’s virtual organ with the owners’ Yamaha 5’7” C2 Grand Piano with Mark IV MIDI wireless connectivity, which is located on the home’s first floor. The idea is based on the concept of being able to play either or both instruments from either location and, perhaps, coordinate organ-piano duets in real-time fashion, despite the distance separation.
“Absolutely no visible wires and no clutter were two primary aesthetic considerations in the layout of the 500 sq. ft. conservatory’s overall design,” Schultz said. “Sheet music is scanned and displayed on the Samsung Series 8000 60” 3D-HD SmartTV digital music rack that also doubles as the media center’s movie screen and Internet-based distance learning presentation screen.” (A manual or toe piston can be set up to turn pages, if necessary). All wiring is concealed behind easy-access false panels in the console and in special PVC channels mounted within the crown and baseboard moldings surrounding the studio. Wiring then runs to components housed in a 70” tall A/V component rack located directly behind the organ wall in the walk-in kitchen that also includes such creature comforts as a microwave and beverage cooler. The movable rack is on wheels and holds all the system’s receivers, amplifiers, mixers, routers, MIDI peripherals, HD digital cable-TV service, a second computer for music storage and display, BluRay player, and even VHS! Separate electrical circuitry was installed to each component to minimize complications that could result from the power demands on the studio’s power grid.
The studio also includes a 100 sq. ft. administrative space in a loft office/film-video perch complete with its own networked custom computer station and an additional 32” HDTV video display. The studio contains complete blackout window treatments and is capable of seating eight in fully-reclining, electric powered, home theater-style lounges, or can accommodate an audience of 30, if concert chairs are used.