Orchestrion Concert

Event Information

Atlantic Garten [through 7/67]

Proprietor / Lessee:
William [proprietor] Kramer
[proprietor] Hambrecht

Price: $.25; free for children

Event Type:
Chamber (includes Solo)

Performance Forces:

Record Information


Last Updated:
7 June 2016

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

19 Mar 1866, 3:00 PM
20 Mar 1866, 3:00 PM
21 Mar 1866, 3:00 PM
22 Mar 1866, 3:00 PM
23 Mar 1866, 3:00 PM
24 Mar 1866, 3:00 PM

Program Details

The program included about twenty primarily classical pieces.

Kramer, Hambrecht and Co., proprietors

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Tannhauser overture
Composer(s): Wagner
Composer(s): Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha


Review: New-Yorker Musik-Zeitung, 19 March 1866, 146.

Says this is the first concert of the orchestrion at the Atlantic Garten, buta concert also took place yesterday (Sunday) at this venue. The orchestrion had won the first prize in the World Exhibition in London 1862. The prize committee wrote about the instrument: (summary) “The orchestrion belonging to the Grand Duke of Baden was built by Belte von Böhrenbach. The instrument aroused interest because of its richness and purity in pianissimo, noble strength in fortissimo, and excellent outside appearance. It attracted hundreds of thousands of people to come see it.

[The article goes into some detail about how the hydraulic system works, also describing musical ranges of the separate systems.] The orchestrion offers 18 registers with sounds of the trombone, French horn, trumpet, bassoon, oboe, flute, clarinet, piccolo, etc. Also drums, triangles, cymbals and kettle-drums. All together the orchestrion integrates about 978 wood, brass and other metal instruments. It can play about 20 pieces, among them compositions of Beethoven, Weber, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Haydn, Händel, Rossini, Wagner etc.”

At the Atlantic Garten a separate entrance leads the audience directly into the great hall where the orchestrion is located. The significant costs of rental and
transport of the instrument make it necessary to charge an admission fee for the concerts.

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 19 March 1866.

Includes a long discussion of the orchestrion.

Review: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 20 March 1866, 8.

The concert was very well attended.

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 21 March 1866.

Includes a long discussion of the orchestrion.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 23 March 1866.
Advertisement: New-York Daily Tribune, 23 March 1866, 3.
Review: New York Herald, 25 March 1866.

“Although this instrument possesses by no means the immense power and expression claimed for it, not even the caliber of an ordinary church organ, yet it is sufficiently interesting as a curiosity. The general construction is similar to the organ, with cylinders and tangents to supply the place of the manuals. Trumpets, drums and cymbals predominate, however, in many of the pieces. It was exhibited at the great London Exhibition of 1862, and has been till recently the property of the Grand Duke of Baden. It is a most ingenious piece of mechanism, but would be much improved with larger cylinders, whereby something more than the mere skeleton of an overture could be performed on it.”