Hill Auditorium History and Information

Screen grab of search terms arriving at the blog for the last year

A screen grab of some top search terms for the past year.

I was surprised to find while looking over my blog stats this afternoon to find that, of search phrases that bring visitors to the blog, “hill auditorium” was the second highest. This is not to say that it brought a lot of visitors — only 7 — which makes me think that people are interested in performances more than musical instrument studies. (Duh?!) Nonetheless, Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium seems to bring a lot of traffic here. This is likely due to my May post on the pipe organ in Hill Auditorium, “The 1895 Columbian Organ,” which was really just a positive reaction to James Tobin’s article about the instrument in Michigan Today.

If you end up here with an interest in Hill or in the pipe organ, you probably want to know more than I wrote in that post. I’d recommend first, if you’re interested in the building’s history, to read Tobin’s article. Next, you might want to visit some of these links:

Hill Auditorium Stage; photo by Paul Jaronski, UM Photo Services

Other ideas? Add links in the comments, please!

The 1895 Columbian Organ

Hill Auditorium Stage; photo by Paul Jaronski, UM Photo Services

In a feature article in the online edition of Michigan Today, James Tobin contributed an article titled “The Great Pipe Organ.” Tobin chronicles the history of the organ in the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium. In his observations about the importance of such large instruments in 19th-century American communities, Tobin notes the culturally organological viewpoint. Summarizing the importance of the organ to a community, he writes:

Americans of the late 19th and early 20th centuries listened to great pipe organs with a mixture of technological awe, local pride, and aesthetic rapture. Cities competed to buy the biggest and best.

Read more, and see the illustrations, at http://michigantoday.umich.edu/2010/05/story.php?id=7735

See also James Kibbie’s site with specs of the Hill organ.

Reimagining the Accordion

Digital accordion virtuoso Cory Pesaturo was interviewed this afternoon by Robin Young on Here and Now. (To listen, click here.) It’s a wonderful interview that will change the way you listen to accordion. (Not just polka anymore…) All performers of lesser-known instruments might sympathize. Here’s a few youtube clips that show just a bit of variety, starting with Pesaturo.

The boy accordion virtuoso (featured on boingboing) playing Bach’s Passacaglia in C Minor.

And an interview, with sound samples, of South American Chango Spasiuk.

And thanks to Brian, for the Renegade accordion! in NYC:

New York on the Clock: Nathan Stodola, Renegade Accordion from Thirteen.org.

A classic, of course, would be Pauline Oliveros.

Pyrophones, eh?

I was at a musical instrument conference last weekend, and for the first time I heard the classification “pyrophone.” That is, instruments that create sounds from heat and/or fire. I suppose that I’m not much of an organologist if I haven’t heard about this, but at least I’ve got things to learn, eh?! Sorry to split hairs, but unless I grossly misunderstand this, which is entirely possible, isn’t the example below really an aerophone? Feel free to correct me. In any case, beautiful sounds and a fascinating instrument in development.