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History

ridderkerkFrom early childhood Van den Heuvel felt a special affinity with symphonic organ music. At the age of sixteen he went to work for Flentrop in Zaandam in the Netherlands. He persisted in his championship of the romantic organ in the face of Flentrop's neo-baroque ideals and finally in 1967 he registered himself as an independant organ builder. At that time he was twenty which made hime the youngest organ builder in the Netherlands.
In that same year, Jan constructed his first organ (one manual and pedal, 10 stops) which recieved immediate admiration for its melodious voicing and solid mechanical construction. The actual construction activities took place in part of his fathers workshop as painter. As a result of the numerous positive reactions, Jan was commissioned to build a new three manual organ of 32 stops for the Singelkerk at Ridderkerk. This was a fantastic opportunity for the young organbuilder, as he was not only responsible for the design and construction of the instrument, but he also made the richly profiled organcase and woodcarvings.

strijenThe contract for this organ necessitated the expansion of the workshop, thus a spacious new building (designed by Jan himself) was erected adjacent to the old workshop. The delivery of the Singelkerk organ occurred in 1972 and was an unqualified success, attracting thousands of people and generating a revenue of written praise. This was proceeded by a multitude of orders for construction of new and restoration of older organs.
In 1975, an organ with 33 stops was delivered to the St. Lambertus church in Strijen - the first of three organs built on behalf of this parish. The same year marked the joining of the 17 year old Peter A. van den Heuvel to the company. Peter received his training from his brother Jan and a year later he built his first organ. Again it was necessary to expand the workshops.

acc smallIn addition to the organ building principles derived from the traditions as practiced in the Netherlands, both Jan and Peter were for a number of years interested in nineteenth century Frensh organbuilding. Their contact with French organists as Michelle Leclerc and Daniel Roth spurred them on futher studies on the Cavaillé-Coll organs. This led to numerous visits to France, not only to study and evaluate the larger and famous representatives of Cavaille-Coll's oeuvre (like St. Sulpice, Notre-Dame and Sacré-Coeur in Paris), but also included many of his smaller instruments.
Meticulous measurements were made which was followed by a study of tonal design and construction in the workshops in Dordrecht. The findings were intended for purpose of inspiration - and not imitation - as means of orientation in order to create their own type of organs, completely inspired by the symphonic organ.

A particularly significant commission was to construct the organ for the Nieuwe Kerk in Katwijk aan Zee. Many ideas developed over the years would find their way into this instrument. In 1993, Daniel Roth opened the series of presentation concerts marking the initiation of this huge four manual instrument. The audiences as well as the artists were very welcoming of this magnificent organ and this resulted again in many contracts.
katwijk speeltafelAs a result of a European competition the Van den Heuvel's were in invit, in 1985, to provide a new prestigious five manual organ for the St. Eustache, Paris, which became the largest of France. The reputation of the Van den Heuvel company was now established worldwide.
After the sensational organ of St. Eustache, Van den Heuvel built in the past years other important instruments in Geneva, London, New York, Munich and in Stockholm.