Plum Street Temple Hosts Unique Concerts

Originally published by The American Israelite in January 2017

Mark your calendars now for events you won’t want to miss: two rare opportunities to experience the splendor of Plum Street Temple and its historical Rockwern organ, as played by two famed organists.

In partnership with the Rockwern Foundation and the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music (CCM), Wise Temple brings two accomplished organists to Plum Street Temple to demonstrate the beauty and power of this rare musical instrument. The event is open to the public, with a reception to follow.

On February 26 at 4 PM, Craig Cramer, professor of organ at Notre Dame University, will play the 19th-century instrument, which was built with Plum Street Temple in 1866. “[Cramer] is a world renowned, well-respected artist,” said Michael Unger, assistant professor of organ and harpsichord at CCM and Plum Street Temple’s organist. “This is a chance to hear a rare combination of a unique performer, with a unique instrument, in a unique space.”

Plum Street Temple’s organ has been well-preserved to maintain its original 19th-century grandeur over the course of its 150-year existence. Most recently, it underwent an extensive renovation in 2005 thanks to the Rockwern Foundation. “This is an organ that was built with the temple,” Unger said. “Its acoustical voice is designed for the space it’s in.”

Unger hosts his own organ concert – again open to the public – at the Temple April 23 at 4 PM. Unger, who has played Plum Street’s organ many times, is a musician of international caliber, having won multiple awards as a soloist and chamber musician in North America, Europe, and Japan.

So just what can attendees expect to hear? For that, stay tuned, but Unger says, “The sound is unlike other organs I’ve played. It’s remarkably sweet; remarkably gentle. It has a very lyrical sound for the space.”

The two concerts are part of Wise Temple’s larger, year-long celebration honoring its 175 years as a congregation and 150 years of Plum Street Temple. To learn more about these two events and other anniversary occasions, visit, and stay tuned for more special reveals on these two exciting musical events from Wise Temple, in partnership with the Rockwern Foundation and CCM.