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The Longwood Organ

Composed of 10,010 pipes divided into 146 ranks, the Longwood Organ is the largest Aeolian organ ever constructed in a residential setting. Pierre S. du Pont was an organ aficionado who, in 1930, replaced the original organ with a much larger, custom-designed Aeolian model that remains in Longwood’s Conservatory to this day.

With the goal of returning The Longwood Organ to its 1930 splendor, a team of experts began a seven-year restoration process in 2004. They completely rewired, repainted, re-leathered and refurbished virtually every element of The Longwood Organ. Read our blog post about what it takes to keep the organ in peak tune and mechanical condition at all times.

In May 2012, American Public Media broadcast an episode of Pipedreams titled "Longwood Revisited" which highlighted the history and restoration of The Longwood Organ. Listen to the program here.

Our International Organ Competition in 2013 was also broadcasted on Pipedreams' "Longwood Laureates".  Listen to that program here. For a digital copy available for purchase, click here.

For the second time, our International Organ Competition took place in the summer of 2016. The CD of finalists is available online or in our GardenShop. For a digital copy available for purchase, click here.

Our third International Organ Competition was held in June 2019. To watch the recording, click here.

For a digital copy of Peter Richard Conte's Organ CD, click here.

To Longwood Gardens by Samuel Barber

In 1925 at just 15 years of age, famed American composer Samuel Barber composed his first piece for organ. He dedicated it to Longwood founder Pierre S. du Pont and described it as a “melody of peace” intended to express one’s emotions while exploring Longwood. In this bonus clip to the full-length documentary Samuel Barber: Absolute Beauty and directed by H. Paul Moon, P.S du Pont Fellow Colvin Randall reads excerpts from Barber’s letter to du Pont and Peter Richard Conte performs the piece on The Longwood Organ.

Upcoming Longwood Organ Concerts

F. Anthony Thurman

Delivering elegant and passionate performances, Thurman is an organ soloist and music director at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, PA.

Sebastian Heindl

The winner of the 2019 Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition makes his Longwood solo performance debut.

Steven Patchel

An accomplished organist and recitalist, Steven Patchel currently serves as music director at Immanuel Episcopal Church, Highlands in Wilmington, DE.

Michael Smith

Minister of Music at St. Thomas’ Church, Whitemarsh, Michael Smith has performed recitals and accompanied choirs around the world.

Andrew Senn

Known for his colorful programming and playing, Andrew Senn is director of music and organist at The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.

Chris Gage

Praised for his convincing interpretations of North German baroque music, Chris Gage is director of music at Overbrook Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.

Thomas Heywood

Called the “Ironman der Orgel” for his performances on pipe organs around the globe, Heywood performs his own transcription of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.