How the Pieces Came Together

Around the same time in 2001 that Annette Richards, university organist, began thinking about a baroque organ for Cornell, the Goteborg Organ Art Center (GOArt) at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, celebrated the first results of their recently-founded organ research workshop with the completion of a large 17th-century north German-style organ. “We began to hatch a plan for a big collaborative research project that would result in a great musical instrument for Cornell,” says Richards.

Munetaka Yokota, researcher and organ designer and builder at GOArt, provided artistic direction and oversaw the project, an interdisciplinary and international effort that eventually encompassed scholars, physical scientists, musicians, craftsmen and visual artists from Sweden, Japan, The Netherlands, Germany, the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, and volunteers and professionals from the local community. Ithaca-based master woodworkers Christopher Lowe and Peter De Boer built the organ case entirely by hand, and the Canandaigua-based organ-building firm Parsons Pipe Organ Builders built the wind system and the key and stop action using authentic 18th-century techniques taught them by Yokota.