site navigation

Independent Presbyterian Church
Birmingham, Alabama
Op. 90, 2012

“I just played a Bach recital on your new instrument in Birmingham, Alabama, and I was thrilled about your artistic overall accomplishment in that particular situation.

“The organ is simply magnificent for so much literature, and even my JSB love was ‘transmitted’ to the audience. It has an overall even Tutti, a warm sound, not too much for the room, just ‘right’!

“Of course, my personal ideal situation is mechanical action and a straight pedalboard. But it was a lot of fun to interpret JSB on your amazing artistry in organ building.

“Thank you so very much for this landmark organ to set further standards for the future in U.S. organ building.”

Wolfgang Rübsam


“I want to let you know how very much I enjoyed playing the wonderful instrument at Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. My recital in the 2013 November series was last Sunday, Nov. 3. Fortunately I arrived there early enough to have many hours of practice for a program of French romantic music along with one German composition, the Karg-Elert Fugue, Kanzone und Epilog. This work adds violin, played beautifully by Daniel Szasz, and fine women’s voices of the IPC choir at the close of the composition. Many people from the audience spoke to me afterward about how much they enjoyed this work, not having heard it before.

“How wonderful to have so many choices of colors, quantity of foundation stops and reeds. All of this is made especially effective by the shutters of the enclosed divisions which really close down the sound. It was possible to have such even gradations of sound which greatly enhanced the musical result.

“Congratulations on building an instrument equally valuable for accompanying, service playing and recital repertoire! What a wonderful gift to music!”

Wilma Jensen

Highland Park United Methodist Church
Dallas, Texas
Op. 87, 2009

“I know I’ve said this before, but it can't be said often enough. Thanks for giving us such an incredible instrument to bolster our spirits, enliven our worship, and fill our sanctuary with beauty.

—John Randolph Brown,
Architect, Member of HPUMC Chancel Choir

Saint David’s Church
Wayne, Pennsylvania
Op. 84, 2007

“I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say that I had the opportunity to play your instrument at St. David’s last week and loved it. I accompanied the world premiere of an hour-long cantata for choir and organ by Curt Cacioppo. The instrument provided an endless palette of tonal possibilities and was one of the real stars of the show. The combination of the instrument and the room is a dream. I couldn’t get over how warm and beautiful the organ is.

—Scott Dettra,
Organist and Associate Director of Music,
Washington National Cathedral

The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Verizon Hall
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Op. 76, 2006

“The new Dobson finds its place in the now-long arc of American concert hall organs installed in the last two decades. Up to mezzo forte, it is easily the best and most colourful of this new breed. It meshes with the band with greater refinement and interest than either Dallas or Los Angeles, partly for having, finally, the real range of piano and mezzo voices to do so, but also because the material is treated with uncompromising grace…At Verizon the tone is developed in a way that makes sense in the context of an orchestra hall, not hanging on to any idealism from the Renaissance or Baroque, but establishing the Romantic and Modern as viable ground for elegant sound.”

“…the organ is nothing short of an outstanding achievement, and one audiences seem to love.”

—Jonathan Ambrosino,
Choir & Organ, January/February 2007


Just a quick note to say how much everyone, including myself, enjoyed playing at Verizon Hall this past Saturday for the special organ event. Quite a few people played who had no familiarity with that instrument, and as Caroline Robinson and I were the “tour guides” throughout the day of practice sessions, we had a good view of their reactions. To a person, everyone took to the instrument easily, and got some amazing sounds given the variety of selections and performers. The instrument’s tonal flexibility made everyone’s job so much easier. The 4' flute on the solo remains my favorite stop!

Once again, thanks for providing Philadelphia with an outstanding instrument that I consider myself so privileged to play. Also, I want to say that I recently had the opportunity to play the organ at St. David’s. What a gem that is!! We need more organs like that in Philly area churches. There’s not a stop on that organ that isn’t exactly what it should be, and the ensemble is amazing. It sounds like an organ twice its size.

Rudy Lucente
Dean, Philadelphia Chapter AGO,
Assistant, the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Los Angeles, California
Op. 75, 2003

“But the most impressive instrument at the [2004 AGO] convention was the new Dobson at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, as expertly played by Martin Jean. … [It] makes a thrilling sound in an awe-inspiring space that would seem impossible to fill acoustically.”

The American Organist
September 2004


“We worked with Lynn as well as many other members of his firm and had nothing but success in our collaboration. The craftsmanship evident in the construction of the organ is of the very highest quality and the sound of the organ is one of the most beautiful features of the Cathedral. I have only the highest praise for their effort and ability and am grateful for their participation in a project as important to me as was the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.”

José Rafael Moneo
Architect of the Cathedral


“Let me address you all by saying that the pleasure of performing in Los Angeles recently on your organ at the Cathedral was all mine. What you have achieved there, in that space, is in my opinion a modern masterpiece, and should you ever feel it appropriate to quote me on that, by all means you may do so. I rarely find newly-built organs that are so engaging in the most synthesized and harmonious way, and almost never in the United States can we see an example of not only an exceptionally fine modern organ, but a new one that must overcome the difficulties of a spacious acoustic — something that Americans all but never face in newer buildings these days. Few organ builders I’ve found could have handled that marriage of space and sound so well as to have an organ that more than fills a room that large and angular, even at the most subtle levels, but always in balance as a musical instrument, first and foremost, uncompromisingly artistic and at no point overdone. Your LA Cathedral organ met what I have hoped to find and surpassed all expectations over the five glorious days during which I was so fortunate to as to make music there in preparation for my concert. This is a monumental accomplishment by any measurement – my words are practically inadequate, ultimately.”

Stephen Tharp

St. Paul's Church, Rock Creek Parish
Washington, D.C.
Op. 80, 2004

“This smallish gem of an instrument is huge from a musical standpoint. Graham Elliott’s demonstration consisted of a brilliant improvisation that began pianissimo and gradually built up to full organ, complete with toccata-like figurations, and then back down to a whisper. It was a seamless progression — no one thing stood out. Even mixtures and reeds elegantly entered the build-up. And yet, the individual stops are filled with character and color. For anyone who has not yet seen and heard this marvel — you owe it to yourself to do so at the first possible opportunity.”

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Op. 70, 1998

“This organ brims with inspiration. Visually, the creative adaptation of the traditional French choir organ creates a comely solution for this setting; the turned tower posts are especially well-crafted and thought out. The specification is refreshingly gimmick-free: stops say what they are, are found in traditional places and accomplish expected roles. The bold ensemble overcomes the rotten acoustics, not with brutality but through elegant force. Perhaps it is better to say that its grandeur is a still more remarkable attribute.

“If one had to dwell on areas of excellence, I would choose the strings and the reeds. The strings not only have a crisp and salacious effect, but are nicely balanced Great to Swell, as well as adding a lovely but not overdone edge to the fonds d’orgue. The reeds are superb, and however hackneyed the sentiment, it's enchanting to come across a new Full Swell that isn’t merely effective but genuinely stirring.”

Jonathan Ambrosino
Boston, Massachusetts

First United Methodist Church
Mesa, Arizona

Op. 60, 1993

“I enjoyed the instrument very much. The Harmonic Flute 8' is a fabulous sound—I don’t know that I could imagine the Vierne Arabesque sounding any nicer than it did.”

Prof. David P. Dahl
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, Washington

Presbyterian Homes
Evanston, Illinois
Op. 64, 1994

“The chapel renovation and the organ have turned out beyond all expectations! I am absolutely thrilled with the instrument. It feels very much at home in the room and everyone I have talked with has nothing but compliments for it. Presbyterian Homes is indeed fortunate to be the beneficiary of your expertise and artistry. You and your staff have been wonderful to work with during this whole project and I thank you VERY much!!”

“The instrument in Elliott Chapel at Presbyterian Homes is an absolute gem, a mechanical action instrument of great artistic integrity and versatility.

“To date, there have been over 100 recitals performed by international and national artists. The instrument has been highly lauded and acclaimed by everyone who has had the privilege to play it.

“Dobson Pipe Organ Builders has the enviable reputation of being at the very top of the list of organ building firms, both in America and abroad.”

Margaret McElwain Kemper
Director of Music and Organist, Presbyterian Homes
Organist, Kenilworth Union Church
Associate Professor, Northwestern University
Past National President, American Guild of Organists

The University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina

Op. 65, 1995

“From each individual pipe to the winding to the key action and stunning case, the instrument is a major artistic accomplishment.”

Dr. William H. Bates
Professor of Organ and
Director of Graduate Studies
University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina

Calvin College
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Op. 44, 1989

“An entire year has gone by since you installed the organ in the chapel, and it has been a very pleasant one for me. I enjoy each practice session. As Joan Lippincott said to me when she was here, ‘This organ likes to play everything, doesn’t it?’ … I’m playing a lot of late Romantic music currently—the organ is marvelous for this music. And when the sounds are so beautiful and satisfying, I never find myself wishing for this or that sound to be available on the organ, even though the organ is not large.”

“By the way, the organ still sounds magnificent. I am retired now, but still practice on the instrument regularly. I revel in the wonderful sound in each practice session.

“My respect for your company is higher than ever.”

Dr. Howard Slenk
Professor of Music Emeritus
Calvin College
Grand Rapids, Michigan

First Presbyterian Church
Battle Creek, Michigan

An Instrument Incorporating the Remains of Skinner Op. 720

“I want to convey my enthusiasm and admiration for your instrument at John Ourensma’s church in Battle Creek, which I had the pleasure of playing this past weekend. I had been looking forward to that recital, as I had never had the chance to play one of your instruments. As one who has always had an interest in the tonal/mechanical side of the organ, I greatly admire and appreciate the superb job you have done in what was undoubtedly a rather complex rebuild. You and your voicer have done a fabulous job in scaling and blending pipework of many vintages. The organ is really quite thrilling, and full of beautiful sounds—Gt. Flute Harmonique is one of the best I've ever heard. John also took me next door to see your instrument in the chapel of the Cong. Church next door—another gem.

“At any rate, I'm thrilled to find a builder I can be enthusiastic about, and who is both able and willing to undertake such a variety of projects with such a high degree of success. Congratulations to you and your employees! I hope it won't be so long before I have a chance to play another of your instruments!”

Todd Wilson
The Church of the Covenant
Cleveland, Ohio

Paul Manz
Organist and Composer

“I have long admired your work dating back to the first time I heard and played a Dobson in the studio of St. Olaf College. It was a refreshing joy to hear and play.

“Next came the opportunity to examine and play a Hymn Festival on your Schlicker-Dobson Organ at Valparaiso University. I found your concept of sound forthright, most satisfying and exciting and thus completing the original design of the builder. I honestly believe Herman Schlicker would have been very grateful and proud of your work.”

“I wish you well in your ongoing, creative approach to the building, rebuilding and restoration of pipe organs. Bravo.”

Frederick Swann
Concert Organist

“It is a real pleasure to express to you my genuine enthusiasm for the organs you build.

“As you are aware, I have been presented in recitals on several of your instruments, and I have heard others.

“First and foremost, there is a consistency of beautiful sound in all of your instruments. This should always be the main consideration for anyone purchasing an organ. Too often people get caught up in ‘gadgets’ and lose sight of the fact that such things don’t produce the sound.

“Furthermore, I have always found your workmanship to be superior in every way, from the smallest detail to the largest. You present the highest quality in every area. And your key actions are a joy to play.

“Your organs are truly ‘musical’ instruments, something that I really appreciate as an organist. Your specifications – regardless of the size – are always thought out from a musical standpoint as well as ‘by the book‘, and designed to give the maximum flexibility to the performer and the music.

“The listener benefits from all these things also!

“I play dozens of organs by different builders every year all over the world. Many are very fine, satisfying, and thrilling. But I have yet to play any that would relegate your work to second place.

“A final thing I wish to mention is how each and every organ of yours that I have experienced fits its surroundings so perfectly. This is no easy task for a builder, and one that many do not always achieve. Just another example of your super dedication to detail.

“As you are becoming more and more known and respected as a builder, my only regret is that I am in the process of retiring as a performer and thus won’t have the joy and privilege of playing your instruments in the future.

“I extend my best wishes for your continued success.”

Edward Anders Sövik, FAIA

“I am an architect, recently retired, with nearly five decades of work in church design and buildings for music. I and my firm, Sövik, Mathre Sathrum, Quanbeck, Inc. had something of a reputation. In the course of my years I was associated with eight or ten pipe organ builders, including all those who were regarded as leaders in the field.

“Among the projects were a sequence of four collaborations with Dobson, beginning with a very early project and including the instrument that I hear every Sunday at church. It is no surprise to me that in his maturity the most prestigious and honorable commissions should be attracted to his company.

“If you have any doubts about Mr. Dobson’s personal commitments, his staff, or the musical and technical sensibilities and skill that come as part of his service, forget the doubts. Mr. Dobson will bring integrity, reliability, understanding and imagination.”


From March 1999 until it was overrun by spam in May 2006, our website had a Guestbook. The comments recorded there are now preserved in a .pdf file for your reading pleasure.



Our ShopInstrumentsRecordingsTestimonials
Sound SamplesRecitalsNews ArchiveHome

Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd.
200 North Illinois Street • Post Office Box 25
Lake City, Iowa 51449 USA
+1 712 464 8065

Site conception by metaglyph

All contents ©1999–2016 Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd.