Rudolf von Beckerath

Rudolf von Beckerath (19 February 1907 – 22 November 1976) was a German master organ builder. He was born in Munich, but grew up in Hamburg, where his family moved the year he was born. He initially pursued an interest in mechanical engineering. After encountering the quality of northern German pipe organs, particularly that of master builder Arp Schnitger, von Beckerath s interest shifted. He trained as a cabinet maker at the art school in Hamburg, while studying the fundamentals of organ building on his own. In the cellar of his parents' home, he built a small house-organ, which was heard in a radio broadcast from the house and in concerts there.

Rudolf von Beckerath
Born(1907-02-19)19 February 1907
Died22 November 1976(1976-11-22) (aged 69)
OccupationMaster organ builder
Notable work
Organs in:

His training continued in France, where he moved on the recommendation of Hans Henny Jahnn. In Châtillon-sous-Bagneux, near Paris, he entered the workshop of Victor Gonzalez. By the 1950s and 1960s, von Beckerath's own firm became one of the leaders of the Organ Reform Movement in North America and Northern Europe.[1]

North American churches with noteworthy Beckerath organs include Trinity Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio; Holy Cross Lutheran Church (Wichita, Kansas);[2] St Michael's Episcopal Church in Manhattan, NYC;[3] Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Quebec;[4] First Congregational Church (Columbus, Ohio),[5] Dwight Chapel, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut;[6] St. Turibius Chapel, Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio;[7] and St. Paul Cathedral, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[8]

In Australia, an organ manufactured by von Beckerath in 1972 replaced a Forster and Andrews pipe organ in The Great Hall of The University of Sydney that was installed between 1881 and 1882.[9]


  1. ^ Phelps, Lawrence I. (Spring 1967). "A Short History of the Organ Revival". Church Music. Concordia. 67 (1). Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  2. ^ "Cleveland Beckerath – Cleveland". Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  3. ^ "St. Michael's Church (Episcopal) – New York City". Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  4. ^ "Organs – Saint-Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal". Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  5. ^ "First Congregational Church, UCC Columbus – The Organs". Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  6. ^ "Welcome – Institute of Sacred Music". Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  7. ^ "Pontifical College Josephinum". Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  8. ^ "Cathedral Organ – Specifications & Past Performers – St. Paul Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA". Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  9. ^ Maidment, John (n.d.). "The organ in Australia". Organs of Australia. Organ Historical Trust of Australia. Retrieved 20 December 2019.

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