MANUEL J. ROSALES is President and Tonal Director of Rosales Pipe Organ Services, Inc., a builder of new instruments, restoration experts and a tuning and service co-operative. A native of New York City, his family moved to Los Angeles in 1952. On his 14th birthday Manuel's father took him to see Walt Disney’s movie Fantasia during which he became enthralled with the music of J. S. Bach. An opportunity for summer work with his church's organ tuner led to his realization that pipe organ building was going to be his life's work. An apprenticeship and association with the Schlicker Organ Company from 1968 until 1978 presented many opportunities to practice the craft at a very high level. Collaborations with Charles Fisk and his company further expanded his professional horizons. Rosales Organ Builder’s instruments, new, rebuilt and expanded, are found in several Southern California churches as well as in Arizona, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, Oregon, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
In 1990 Rosales was selected to work with architect Frank O. Gehry for the design of a pipe organ during the planning stages of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The instrument’s unique appearance resulted from two years work of testing and rejecting over 40 design models. For the construction of the organ Rosales invited German colleague firm Glatter-Götz Orgelbau while Rosales continued to be design consultant, tonal designer, voicer and tonal finisher of the completed instrument whose preview debut occurred at the 1994 American Guild of Organists National Convention. His firm continues as Curators of the Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ.