Daniel Bittner

Daniel completed his secondary schooling at MAS in 2004. He now lives in Melbourne and is the managing director of ‘Australian Pipe Organs’, a company building, restoring, and maintaining organs across Australia. We contacted Daniel earlier this the year after discovering a working model of organ pipes (above) he made in Year 12.

CYS: So how did a music student at MAS in SA become the Managing Director of APO in Melbourne?

Daniel: At school I was checking the internet for opportunities and saw a vacancy for an apprenticeship at APO. It was great mix of my love of music and organs from Church, combined with a chance to upskill and build on my interest of building and woodwork from growing up on a farm.
CYS: You’ve worked at APO for nearly 20 years. What are some of the highlights of your time there?

  • The friendships. Working with the same people for that time builds strong relationships!
  • Being able to work on some of the biggest musical instruments in Australia with histories going back hundreds of years.
  • Working with some of Australia’s best musicians for orchestral concerts.
  • Recently building the new organ at Trinity College in Melbourne. It was one of the largest organs built in Australia since the 1960s!

CYS: What personal attributes do you think have contributed towards your success?

Daniel: Working at the Maitland Bakery taught me that if you don’t work hard – things don’t happen. My parents taught me strong work ethics on the farm. Family values and my faith has helped me focus on the greater good. It brings joy to contribute to Churches to support music at Church.

CYS: What challenges have you faced in your profession?

Daniel: Organs are complex musical instrument. They’re made with many different materials so I’ve gained experience and expertise in not only woodwork and carpentry but also in casting metal for the pipes, working with leather for the bellows and doing wiring and soldering. Voicing and tonal finishing in particular has taken a long time to perfect. Sometimes I was working in excess of 70 hours a week to master the trade and get jobs done on time to fulfil contracts and meet not only client but also my own expectations. It certainly takes dedication, time, learning from mistakes and personal growth!

CYS: What advice would you like to give that younger you back at school?

Daniel: When opportunities come along, jump at them. I would tell myself to just do it!

CYS: Finally, what career advice would you give to other young people with unique hobbies or interests?

Daniel: Find the right people to teach and train you, be prepared to work hard and make sure you have an effective support network.
There are a lot of opportunities in trade. Find a good teacher and learn as much as you can and don’t be afraid to leave school to follow your dreams.

CYS: Congratulations on your success and thank you for making the time to chat with us.


Australian Pipe Organs