Restoration of the largest instrument - The Cavaillé-Coll organ


Built in 1880, the Cavaillé-Coll organ was played for the last time on Thursday November 28th before restoration.

This unique instrument, created by the most distinguished organ builder of the 19th century, will be disassembled in order to be put back to its original state.

explains Benoît Mernier, organ teacher at the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles. "It was slightly repaired by Charles Mutin after Cavaillé-Collin the 1920's. Then, in the 60's, we tried to modernize it (following the trend of the times) and the organ became electrified".

Koos van de Linde, experienced organ-technician, expert in bulding renaissance organs adds "the mechanics is more reliable and more durable than the actual electric traction. All the problems with this instrument are linked to the electric traction.

The historical building of Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles is also affected by these restoration projects (Conservamus project). The site at 30 Rue de la Régence was built in the Renaissance revival style between 1872 and 1876, and is classified almost in its entirety. The "grande salle" built in the Napoléon III style, thanks to its capacity of 597 places and its exceptional acoustic is considered one of the best auditoria in Brussels.

The organ has been taught at the Conservatoire for over 150 years; organ students here today have access to a range of instruments, ranging from the portable organs in the early music department, to the big Collon organ, also belonging to the school, and housed in one of the beautiful churches of Brussels, which is reserved for teaching purposes.

Photography: ©Beliris I K. Burnay