Robert Hoppe & Associates have been providing quality workmanship and service to individuals and religious institutions for over two decades. Mr. Hoppe was born in Mankato, Minnesota in 1961, and has been involved with churches, in various capacities, all his life. His interest in church organs was sparked at an early age, and soon thereafter followed instruction in classical organ, and the experience in serving as organist in several churches throughout his high school and college years. During the summer of his junior year in high school, Mr. Hoppe started working for a prolific Minnesota organ builder, and thus began an undying passion for the pipe organ, its music, and the privilege to play a role in its creation.
While pursuing degrees in International Business and German at Mankato State University, he continued training in the organ building art, gaining proficiency in the areas of woodworking, electrical design and wiring, mechanical action, pipe scaling and voicing, and service work. Ultimately, his concentration was on tonal design and voicing, which he continued to pursue with this same Minnesota company.
The so-called Baroque revival in organ building, or Orgelbewegung, had reached its apex in the United States by the late 1970s. At about this same time, Mr. Hoppe, as well as many other organ devotees, were coming to the conclusion that the tonal principles advocated by this movement did not work in most American acoustical environments. To be sure, the Orgelbewegung taught us disciplined organ design: the importance of placement, clarity of speech, upper-work, windchest layout, and architectural casework. Yet, many were dissatisfied with the musical result, particularly the smaller-scaled, sizzling ensembles which were sorely lacking in unison.
Gradually, we started to re-examine the work of 19th and early 20th century American builders such as Hook, Skinner, and Hope-Jones who, previously, had been all but ignored. The result, for us, was a return to a philosophical middle ground: among other things, less insistence on mechanical action, larger pipe scales with moderate nicking, and somewhat higher wind pressures. In some cases, we have even found ourselves re-embracing the same symphonic ideals which we had earlier rejected.
Robert Hoppe became an independent organ builder in 1986. His decision to become an independent builder was born out of the desire to build smaller, more innovative electric-action instruments, custom-designed, with the same artistic attention to detail as one might find in the finest tracker organs. It became clear to him that there was a need for such instruments in an industry that frequently neglected this market segment. Between his first and second organ contracts, Mr. Hoppe had the opportunity to work for a premiere Iowa-based organ builder, which proved to be an invaluable experience, particularly with regard to visual design and architectural casework.
In 1989, Robert Hoppe & Associates’ operations were moved to Algoma, Wisconsin. Our firm has organ installations throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Upper Michigan, and we service numerous instruments in the same region as well. We also have collaborated on other projects as far away as Utah, Texas and the Pacific Northwest.
Robert D. Hoppe & Associates
PO Box 116 Algoma, Wisconsin 54201
United States Of America
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