Cornel Zimmer represents the fourth generation of organbuilding in his family. He began working with his father at an early age helping to tune and service organs on school holidays and summers.
He attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for two years as an Accounting Major before returning to work as a full time organbuilder at the family firm of W. Zimmer & Sons, Inc. in June of 1981.
Cornel was active with the American Institute of Organbuilders throughout his career and attended most annual conventions, workshops, seminars, etc. He has been a member of AIO since 1984.
In 1984, he spent time as an apprentice voicer at Carl Gieseke & Sohn in Gottingen (West) Germany. While in Europe for an extended period of time, Cornel had the opportunity to visit and study historic instruments throughout Germany and Holland. He also visited several organ builders and their factories/shops in Germany, Holland and Belgium.
Upon his return to the states, Cornel spent the majority of his time at W. Zimmer & Sons in the tonal department participating in the shop voicing of pipes as well as on site tonal regulation of new instruements.
Much to his chagrin, Cornel was also charged with maintaining the books and keeping all the accounting records for the firm. In 1987, Cornel was responsible for the research and purchasing of computers for the company. He learned to excel in many programs ranging from word processing, to spreadsheets, accounting and drawing programs.
In 1990 – 1991 Cornel Zimmer served as the Vice President of the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America as the representative for W. Zimmer & Sons, Inc.
Cornel spent many years tuning, servicing and maintaining hundreds of pipe organs of all makes and styles in the American Southeast. This was especially important in his formative years as an organ builder. Not only did he learn many good and interesting ways of building pipe organs, he also suffered with the mistakes of others in tonal layouts, poorly executed mechanical systems, sloppy workmanship and limited access.
In June 1992 he left the family firm of W. Zimmer & Sons, Inc. to pursue his own ideas and philosophy of pipe organ building. With the blessing of his father, Franz J. Zimmer, he started his own company, C.A. Zimmer, Inc. (dba Cornel Zimmer Organbuilders) and began the process of formulating his own ideas of tonality and construction techniques which also included digital technology both in console control as well as tone generation. In 1995, CZOB built their current building and purchased the pipe shop from W. Zimmer & Sons.
Since then, Cornel Zimmer has surrounded himself with the best and brightest talent that the organ industry has to offer. Together, they have built nearly 150 instruments, bringing the highest standards of pipe organ building to the world of digital and combination instruments in addition to their lifetime passion for the pipe organ.