The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 7284

Builder Identification

Boston, Massachusetts, late 1940s; St.-Hyacinthe, Québec, 1958-71; Erie, Pennsylvania, 1970s.

Additional Notes

  • Note from the Organ Database Builders editor Stephen Hall, June 16, 2017. —

    Lawrence Phelps was born May 10, 1923 in Somerville, Massachusettes. He married organist Gillian Weir in August of 1972. He died February 22, 1999, in Boston Massachusetts. Phelps studied conducting and performance at the New England Conservatory of Music, and engineering at Northeastern University.

    Phelps served an apprenticeship with Aeolian-Skinner in Boston, where he trained as a voicer and tonal finisher; he worked briefly with the Holtkamp Organ Company, Cleaveland Ohio; before returning to Boston to design the Aeolian-Skinner organ for the extension of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and to supervise its installation in 1951. He was appointed consultant by Casvant Frères Limitée, and became Casavant's Artistic Director and eventually its President 1958-1972. After leaving Casavant, he established his own company, Lawrence Phelps & Associates, in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1973. The firm was housed in the factory which had belonged to the Tellers Organ Co., and several former Tellers' staff members stayed on with the new firm.

    Phelps experimented electronic sound production; he was with Allen Organ Company as Director of the Custom Organ department. He moved back to Boston to supervise refurbishment of the organ in the extension of The Mother Church, Christ Scientist.

    He wrote extensively, and lectured on various topics related to his vision of musically excellent instruments. He was awarded an Honorary D. Litt. by Colorado State University in 1993. His archives is held at CSU, Fort Collins, Colorado.

    Source: Obituary at Lawrence Phelps and Associates

  • Bibliography:
    Tidwell, Burton. Lawrence Phelps, Organbuilder (OHS, 2015)

     

  • / / / / Archived Notes: Obsolete / / / /

    The following notes are from previous versions of this entry; they have been superseded by the note above, which contains new information or corrects errors or inaccuracies.

    Note from the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders, by David H. Fox (Richmond, Va., Organ Historical Society, 1991). Edited for the revised OHS Online Database website, 2017. —

    With Aeolian-Skinner late 1940s, Casavant 1958-1971. Owned his own firm, 1970s.

    Sources:

    • Orpha Ochse, The History of the Organ in the United States (Bloomington, In.: Indiana University Press, 1975), 407.
    •  

Database Entries

There are no entries in the database that describe organs by Lawrence Irving Phelps.


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