Founded in 1960, Copeman Hart enjoys an international reputation for producing not only the most pipelike sounds but the most comfortable, authentic consoles.
Our approach to organ building, and sales ethics, has always been more akin to that of the traditional organ builder than to agents or retailers. All organs are individually designed and custom-built to traditional pipe organ standards, using many pipe organ components. Consoles are built to match the type and colour of timber in the client's building, and are superior to many pipe organ consoles.
Our long association with, and research into, digital systems, coupled with our use of the most advanced hardware, means that the software and data that we have developed from within our own resources gives results which are superior to cheaper instruments.
The philosophy of the company has always been to make the best imitation of the pipe organ. Whilst acknowledging the superiority of a good pipe organ, it is a sad fact that some churches just cannot afford the many tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds sometimes necessary to install or restore a good pipe organ. There is, therefore, an established need for electronic organs at which organists feel at home, and which make convincing pipelike sounds.
Managing Director, Dr Keith Harrington joined Makin Organs in May 2004, bringing with him many years' experience in the chemical software industry in a wide range of roles encompassing Sales, Marketing, Business Administration and Customer Support. Keith fell in love with the organ at a young age and started his organ study with Reg Holmes at Norbury St Thomas, Hazel Grove where he was in the choir. For fifteen years he was organist and choirmaster of St Matthew’s Parish Church, Edgeley and classes himself as an average parish organist. After seeing and playing so many organs in America whilst on business, he joined the AGO. In his spare time Keith is involved heavily in the local community and is on the Governing body of two local schools, teaches Business Studies classes and thoroughly enjoys making high quality traditional wooden furniture in his own workshop. Following its acquisition by Makin Organs in 2011, Keith became MD of Copeman Hart.
Copeman Hart & Company Limited was founded by Ernest Hart in 1960, and became a limited company in 1961. Ernest’s background was, in his late schooling and university, principally music, with a large amount of physics. He had studied maths, physics and music to “S” level at school, and read music at Cambridge, where he considers himself very fortunate to have spent three years, at Queen’s College.
Ernest left Cambridge after his three year education there, and immediately moved to London, where – with no money to speak of – he started the company. He kept a steady income to pay the rent and eat by playing organ at such venues as the Mayfair Hotel bar, in the West End of London. In those days the organs were “analogue” instruments, using many thousands of inductors and transistors, and obtained an early reputation as being the best of the electronic organs, with some very large commissions, such as the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham etc. After being a consultant to Bradford University while they were developing a new “real-time” digital system, Ernest saw that this was the future for electronic organs, and when a friend he had met during his Bradford consultancy years started a company with a licence to make the hardware for this type of instrument, Copeman Hart went digital. Again, they became very quickly known as the best of the digital organs, and, during these decades, he was employing an ever-increasing number of staff, all of whom today are regarded as very good at their jobs – woodworking, electronics, business administration - and they all presented a superb image of the company to those who met them.
Ernest formally retired from the company as Tonal Director in May 2013.
Copeman Hart's Tonal Director Professor Ian Tracey has a life-long association with Liverpool Cathedral and its music. Together with his two illustrious predecessors, Henry Goss-Custard and Noel Rawsthorne, he continues the tradition of an almost Apostolic Succession. He initially studied organ with Lewis Rust and then with Noel Rawsthorne. Studies at Trinity College, London, culminated in Fellowship, after which scholarship grants enabled him to study with Andre Isoir and Jean Langlais in Paris.
When Ian was appointed Organist of Liverpool Cathedral in 1980, he was the youngest cathedral organist in Britain. After 27 years of service, the Cathedral's Dean & Chapter created the post of 'Organist Titulaire', which allows him freedom to devote more time to playing, lecturing, recording and writing.
Ian's other posts include: Organist to the City of Liverpool; Organist at St George's Hall; Chorus Master to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society; Guest Director of Music for the BBC's Daily Service; Professor, Fellow, and Organist at Liverpool John Moores University; past President of the Incorporated Association of Organists of Great Britain.
Corbie Harrington joined Makin Organs as Financial Controller in January 2005. She brought with her considerable IT experience from a number of roles with small companies and notable bookkeeping skills with charitable organisations. Corbie was a church treasurer for a number of years and well understands the financial challenges that face PCCs and the like. She has a musical background in terms of solo instruments and was a contralto in choir of St Matthew’s Church, Edgeley. Following the acquisition by Makin Organs, she became financial controller of Copeman Hart.
John Coleman joined Copeman Hart in March 2007 as an Electronic Production Engineer/Organ Builder and spent much time in the workshop building new instruments. In addition to his production responsibilities, John now spends a great deal of time travelling servicing organs and installing new instruments and short-term hires. John brought with him many years of experience in the computer and electronics industries in many customer facing roles including technical support, service management and sales.
Production manager at Copeman Hart Steve Bell joined the company in 1991 as an apprentice organ builder whilst studying a two year course in electronics. Since then he has worked as an electronics technician and a field engineer. Steve has also had internal training in woodwork to enable him to build and polish consoles. Steve is widely travelled and has visited Nigeria, Malta, Norway, Ireland, Jersey and Guernsey on business for site surveys, installations and hires. He has found the job most rewarding. Astronomy is a major hobby.