The University of Dubuque to Dedicate Pipe Organ with a Special Performance by the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony and World-Renowned Guest Organist Alan Morrison

Apr 14, 2021 | University Relations staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The University of Dubuque will dedicate its new custom-crafted pipe organ in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center on Saturday, May 15, 2021, with a special performance by the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony and world-renowned organist Alan Morrison.

A beautiful instrument with 3,000-plus pipes, the John and Alice Butler Pipe Organ will expand students’ musical horizons and enhance campus events for generations to come. It was gifted by UD Trustee John Butler (DHL’17) and his spouse, Alice (DHL’17)

The John and Alice Butler Pipe Organ Dedication featuring the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15, 2021. The in-person performance will be by invitation only to adhere to campus COVID-19 protocols. A free livestream will be available at:

Conducted by Columbus Symphony Music Director Rossen Milanov, the performance’s repertoire will include music from Léon Boëllmann, Edward Elgar, Alexandre Guilmant, Camille Saint-Saëns, and William Grant Still.

A special dedication ceremony honoring John and Alice Butler will be held before the performance at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15, 2021, via livestream at and

“We are excited to celebrate the dedication of the John and Alice Butler Pipe Organ with the Columbus Symphony and organist Alan Morrison. The performance will not only bring joy to our lives at a time when joy is needed, but it will do so in a very special way to honor all that John and Alice have done and continue to do in support of the University’s Mission,” said University of Dubuque President Jeffrey F. Bullock. “We are fortunate to have an organ program and a gifted organist, and grateful to John and Alice Butler for their investment in the University and its students.”

About the Columbus Symphony

Heritage Center is excited to welcome the Columbus Symphony back for its third performance on the UD campus. The symphony performed at the grand opening of Heritage Center in 2013 and with Chris Botti  in 2017.

“The Columbus Symphony is thrilled to return to the University of Dubuque to help dedicate the John and Alice Butler Pipe Organ at a special Heritage Center concert event,” said Columbus Symphony Executive Director Denise Rehg. “This exquisite instrument is sure to be a point of pride for generations to come and a lasting legacy for the University. It’s an honor and privilege to be a part of its official debut.”

Founded in 1951, the Columbus Symphony is the longest-running professional symphony in central Ohio. Through an array of innovative artistic, educational, and community outreach programming, the symphony is able to reach an expanding, more diverse audience each year. This year, the Columbus Symphony will share classical music with more than 175,000 people in central Ohio through concerts, radio broadcasts, and special programming.

The Columbus Symphony’s diverse range of education and community outreach programs include Young People’s Concerts in the Ohio Theatre, six youth orchestras, free in-school concerts for Columbus elementary schools, and the new Columbus Symphony Cares initiative, an innovative approach to community service through partnerships with non-profit service organizations and public school districts.

About Columbus Symphony Music Director Rossen Milanov

Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Rossen Milanov is currently the music director of Columbus Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and Princeton Symphony Orchestra. He is also the newly appointed chief conductor of the Slovenian RTV Orchestra in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Milanov has established himself as a conductor with considerable national and international presence. He recently completed a seven-year tenure as music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Spain. Milanov has collaborated with entities including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra de la Suisse Romand, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and orchestras in Toronto, Mexico, Sao Paolo, and New Zealand. He also has appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, the Civic Orchestra in Chicago, Malaysian and Hong Kong philharmonics, and many more.

Milanov has collaborated with some of the world’s preeminent artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Christian Tetzlaff, and André Watts. During his 11-year tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Milanov conducted more than 200 performances. He completed a 15-year tenure as music director of Symphony in C in New Jersey in 2015 and a 17-year tenure with the New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2013. Milanov’s passion for new music has resulted in numerous world premieres of works by composers such as Derek Bermel, Mason Bates, Caroline Shaw, Phillip Glass, Richard Danielpour, Nicolas Maw, and Gabriel Prokofiev, among others.

Milanov was recipient of an Arts Prize by The Columbus Foundation. Under his leadership, the Columbus Symphony has expanded its reach by connecting original programing with community-wide initiatives such as focusing on women composers, nature conservancy, presenting original festivals, and supporting and commissioning new music.

About Guest Organist Alan Morrison

Alan Morrison is recognized as one of America’s premier organists and maintains a versatile career as performer, teacher, recording artist, adjudicator, and collaborative pianist. His appearances in the most prestigious organ venues throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, and South America attest to his achievements and the respect he has earned as a performer through thoughtful programming and artistic integrity.

Morrison is a regular performer in Verizon Hall (Kimmel Center) where he has appeared in solo, chamber music, and concerto performances. He also collaborates regularly with The Orlando Chamber Soloists. In May 2003, he was selected to appear along with Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma for the Fred Rogers Memorial Service which was telecast live from Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall. A champion of living American composers, Morrison has premiered important new works by William Bolcom, Dan Locklair, David Conte, Eric Sessler, Mary Beth Bennett, and many others, and has recorded 12 critically acclaimed CDs for Gothic, ACA, Halyx, and DTR.

Morrison is head of the organ departments at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he holds the Haas Charitable Trust Chair in Organ Studies. He also holds the McGehee Family Organist in Residence position at Spivey Hall in Morrow, Georgia, and is college organist at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

A graduate of Curtis and Juilliard, Morrison received degrees in both organ and collaborative piano studying with John Weaver, Vladimir Sokoloff, and Susan Starr.

About the John and Alice Butler Pipe Organ

The John and Alice Butler Pipe Organ was designed for teaching, solo recitals, and performances with other musical ensembles. It will not only be utilized as a practice and recital instrument, but it will also accompany campus events including worship, convocations, baccalaureate, choir performances, and Christmas at Heritage Center.

Dobson Pipe Organ Builders of Lake City, Iowa, built and installed the organ. It is the 97th new organ built by the firm. The John and Alice Butler Pipe Organ is also Dobson’s 20th organ in the state of Iowa and the largest pipe organ built by the firm in Iowa.

Weighing 21 tons, the John and Alice Butler Pipe Organ has 3,033 pipes ranging from 32 feet in length to half the size of a pencil. The majority of pipes are installed behind the façade on the left side of Butler Hall, with the largest pedal pipes placed in the hall’s acoustically coupled attic and to the right side of the stage. Though not visible, these bass pipes will be heard with clarity everywhere thanks to an acoustical design by Threshold Acoustics of Chicago.

The visible pipes are not just for show – they are functional. These speaking pipes are made of an alloy of 85 percent tin with the remainder being lead and some trace elements like copper and antimony to harden the metal. The remaining 3,000-some pipes are made of similar tin-lead alloys or wood.

Two blowers totaling 10 horsepower supply the organ with the pressurized air or wind needed to play the pipes. These blowers are placed in the basement for sound isolation, and the wind is carried to the organ through large insulated ducts.

The console is located below the visible pipes. It has three keyboards, or manuals, played by the hands and one keyboard, or pedalboard, played by the feet. These four keyboards control four major groups of pipes, also known as divisions. A specially engineered system of mechanical linkages called the action connects the keys to the valves under the pipes, giving the organist intimate control over how they play.

Because of their great size or remote location, some pipes are played using a special electrical control system designed to operate simultaneously with the mechanical action.