A Forest of Pipes


This website is dedicated to the book A FOREST OF PIPES, The Story of the Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ, by Jennifer A. Zobelein. This is the revised 10th anniversary edition (2014). It is printed in a larger format and includes updated information, beautiful color photographs, a clear diagram of the organ divisions and a current stop list.  The book describes the planning, construction, installation and enjoyment of the spectacular pipe organ at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, inaugurated in 2004.  The author interviewed the architects, designers, builders and musicians whose words and insights provide the substance of this book.


About The Book:
This book was written for people who delight in the imaginative, who yearn to understand the creative spirit, who appreciate the craftsmanship that produces a work of art. The story of how a pipe organ is designed and constructed is intriguing to begin with; but, the visual impact of the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ excites the curiosity. Just looking at the towering wooden pipes is enough to make one wonder how it was ever conceived and built.

When I first saw photographs of this unique instrument, many questions came to mind: Who dreamed up this unorthodox design? Does it sound like a traditional pipe organ? How did they create something so complex? How many other pipes are hiding behind the ones in front? Then I heard it! It was magnificent. I had to know more about how this organ came to be. So, as a musician and an author, I pursued the facts – first to satisfy my own curiosity, but then to share it with others.

I wanted to describe this work of art through the eyes of those who created it and used it. So I went to the architect, Frank Gehry; to the tonal designer, Manuel Rosales; to the builder, Glatter-Götz Orgelbau. I talked with associates and assistants, and I probed the minds of artisans and musicians. The thoughts, the words, the insights of all these people provide the substance of this book. It was written to honor their contribution to the world of music.

About The Author:
Jennifer ZobeleinWith a background in writing, teaching and music, Jennifer Zobelein would like to inform people about the magnificence of the Walt Disney Concert Hall pipe organ. With its inauguration in the fall of 2004, it was an opportune time to write a book, describing the design, construction, installation and voicing of this unique instrument, created through the vision and skill of many different people. It is an intriguing story. The first edition of A Forest of Pipes was published in 2006 and the revised edition in 2012.

Born in England, raised in Canada, Jennifer moved to Los Angeles as a high school student. In 1962, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in English, with a minor in Music. After graduation, she worked for a few years as an assistant editor for Western Publishing Company in Beverly Hills and also as a free-lance writer. Over the years, she also wrote advertising copy, political speeches, and newspaper articles. She has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators since 1973.

Jennifer went back to school in 1978 for teaching credentials – Multiple Subjects K-12, and Single Subject English – and taught for fifteen years in elementary and secondary schools. While her own children were in high school, she worked diligently as a band parent, making presentations to the city council and school board in Thousand Oaks which resulted in a grant of $100,000 for new band instruments. Since the early 1900’s, members of the Zobelein family have given their support to classical music in Los Angeles. Jennifer is happy to continue that tradition with this book.

Jennifer enjoys traveling and has been to Africa, Australia, China, Europe and Mexico. She also plays piano and organ. She studied organ in the early 1960’s while at UCLA, playing the Royce Hall 1930 Skinner pipe organ with its 5 manuals and 104 ranks, before it was updated with solid-state equipment in 1982. She was previously a dean of the Ventura County Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and served as board member and president of New West Symphony in Thousand Oaks, California. Now retired, she enjoys her husband, two grown children, and four musical grandchildren.