The key moments
Ernest Muhleisen (1897-1981) founded his workshop in 1941. He was born in Echterdingen, Germany, where he completed his apprenticeship with Weigle. He studied the organs of Silbermann and Cavaillé-Coll with the Strasbourg organ builder Roethinger, alongside G. Schwenkedel. He voiced the organs of the cathedrals of Amiens, Laon and Strasbourg.
In 1948, Ernest Muhleisen’s son-in-law Georges E. Walther joined him, who had previously been joined by his brother-in-law Alfred Kern, in 1942. Many Silbermann organs were restored by this collaboration until 1955, e. g. Marmoutier (F).
In the 1960s the workshop developed significantly under the direction of Georges E. Walther. Influenced by his work in the RIEGER GLATTER GOETZ works, he designed and built many mechanical organs of contemporary design.
From 1970, André Schaererer, who trained in Gonzalez and Beckerath workshops, steered the style of the Muhleisen workshops in the direction the French tradition, in cooperation with Georges F. Walther. The 26-year-old Georges Walther succeeded his father in 1980, after his training Marcussen workshops.
After 1978 André Schaerer and G. Walther pursue together an esthetic and a manufacture personal in the conception of resonance married with the traditional French cabinetry. This evolution took place with the participation and cooperation of the entire Muhleisen team.
With André Schaerer, Jean-Christophe Debely since 1988, and Philippe Zussy since 2009, the Muhleisen voicing took a recognized place in a concept of organs attached to the french and alsacian tradition.
By winning the regional and departmental Grand Prix des Métiers d’Art in Strasbourg in April 1992, the Muhleisen workshop was encouraged to continue to cultivate the values of contemporary organ building, as they had done before:
- Respect for tradition
- Cultivation of respectful interaction between the team members
- Opportunities for each employee to express their creative abilities.
12 members of the Muhleisen team were awarded the title of “some of the best craftsmen in France” during the XXI competition for the achievement of the organ in Bad-Gandersheim. Following more than 19,000 hours of work and inspection of the instrument by a jury of organ builders, they received their medals during celebrations in Paris, at the Sorbonne and in the Elysée Palace.
In 2008, Patrick Armand, who had worked with us since 1984, first as an organ builder and then as a draughtsman and designer, took over the management of the workshop in a spirit of continuity and continuing enrichment of the Muhleisen style.
The workshop is now located at ESCHAU, 3 rue de l’industrie, next to the French national school for organbuilders’ apprentices.
The history of the Muhleisen organ manufacture
For more than 30 years, we have been casting metal to thickness, scraping it by hand, building solid wood mechanics, windchests and cases and mastering the contributions of modern technologies to the service of the organ. Working for France, Germany, Switzerland, Russia and Japan, the team was awarded the title of “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France en équipe” in 2000 for the construction of the organ of BAD GANDERSHEIM (D).
The Muhleisen style
Each instrument is designed and built as a team with high standards and attention to detail. The special empathy of the team is expressed in the context of traditional French organ building and local Alsatian culture, all of which are combined in a homogeneous and unique project. Team spirit means dealing with all details in detail and in a consistent way. Based on a project developed with the client, the members of the team invest their skills and creativity to achieve the quality of detail that characterizes a work of art.
The Manufacture d’Orgues MUHLEISEN, distinguished by the “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” label, is today a team of about fifteen qualified and experienced team members.
For more than 30 years, they have been casting metal to thickness, planing and scraping it by hand, building solid wood mechanics, windchests and cases and mastering the contributions of modern technologies to the greater good of the organ. Working in France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, the team was awarded the title of “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France en équipe” in 2000 for the construction of an organ of BAD GANDERSHEIM (D).
Manufacture d’orgues MUHLEISEN
G. WALTHER & associés,
Meilleurs ouvriers de France en équipe