Karl Wilhelm

Karl Wilhelm. Organ manufacturer, b Lichtental, Rumania, 5 Jul 1936, naturalized Canadian 1966. He was of German ancestry and learned his trade in Germany with the firm of Laukhuff and in Switzerland with Metzler.

Wilhelm, Karl

Karl Wilhelm. Organ manufacturer, b Lichtental, Rumania, 5 Jul 1936, naturalized Canadian 1966. He was of German ancestry and learned his trade in Germany with the firm of Laukhuff and in Switzerland with Metzler. In 1960 he moved to Canada to initiate the production of mechanical-action instruments at Casavant Frères. There he collaborated in the construction of many organs which since have become widely known. In 1966 in Quebec, he went into business for himself, first in St-Hyacinthe and then at Mont-St-Hilaire. In 1990 Wilhelm was working on his 124th instrument. His organs are found not only in 7 Canadian provinces, but also in 24 US states. Sought after as much for his small instruments, regal or positive, as for his large-scale organs with several manuals, Wilhem has remained faithful to the principles of the 17th and 18th centuries: Werkprinzip, tracker action, suspended action, flexible wind pressure. The sound quality of his instruments, whether of German type (St Matthias, Montreal), French (St Andrew's, Toronto) or a hybrid (Ascension Church, Knoxville, Tenn), are characterized by the richness of the ensembles and the purity of the individual stops, giving to the instrument a strongly marked personality. Wilhelm also restored the old Warren and Sons organ in Deschambault, Que.


Further Reading

  • Bulletin des Amis de l'orgue de Québec, 5, Jan 1969; 8, Nov 1969; 13, Feb 1971; 23, Jan 1974

    Bouchard, Antoine. 'Dix ans d'orgue au Québec,' VM, 17, Sep 1970

    - 'Évolution de la facture d'orgue au Canada entre 1960 et 1975,' Organ Yearbook, vol 9, 1978

    Smith, David. 'St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Toronto, Ontario,' American Organist, vol 20, Nov 1986

    Clark, Steven. 'Church of the Ascension, Knoxville, Tennessee, ibid, vol 22, Aug 1988