Census IDPEK1999a
LocationBeijing, Zhongshan Park Concert Hall
BuilderAustin, Op. 2779
ActionAustin patent Universal Air Chest

After a 60-year absence, Austin returned to China with Op. 2779, a 60-stop, three-manual and pedal organ built in 1999 and installed in 2000.

The specs may be found here:

The organ was featured on the cover of the November 2000 issue of the AGO magazine, The American Organist. This was probably the single most effective piece of public relations behind the ‘organ race’ in China today (see FAQs), at least from the vendor’s side. It brought the potential of Mainland China as a market for pipe organs to world-wide attention.

The dedicatory recital was played by Carol Williams in April 2000, featuring works by Widor, J.S. Bach, Clarke, Franck, Sousa, and Joplin.

Because of the hall’s proximity to the National Palace Museum (invariable referred to by foreigners as the ‘Forbidden City’) the hall has acquired the spurious name of the ‘Forbidden City Concert Hall’. It is correctly known as the Zhongshan Park Concert Hall  (中山公園音樂堂). It was constructed in 1942, and between 1997 and 1999 it was gutted and completely reconstructed. The organ installation was part of this renovation of the hall.

PEK1999a, as seen from the floor of the auditorium during a performance.

The magazine cover that launched a multi-million dollar industry: TAO November 2000.