News

Organ Dance

Guest Hans Davidsson (Eastman School of Music) will present “Organic Dance,” celebrating the four seasons, with performances by professional dancers Gabriel and Jonathan Davidsson.

Cornell’s Baroque Organ Featured on ‘Pipedreams’

If you missed last March’s festival to inaugurate Cornell’s new baroque organ in Anabel Taylor Hall, you have another chance to hear some of the fabulous performances, on the radio. American Public Media’s program “Pipedreams” is featuring Cornell’s baroque organ on this coming Sunday’s “Old Is New” program. Featured organists include Harald Vogel, Jacques van … Continue reading “Cornell’s Baroque Organ Featured on ‘Pipedreams’”

Measuring the Organ, Part II: The Good, the Bad, and the Fingerprinted

Traditionally, organs have only been documented through mechanical measurements such as size and overall wind pressure. But this static data can’t communicate the dynamic behavior of the wind system and how an organ actually sounds. So Carl Johan Bergsten, a research engineer with the Gothenburg Organ Art Center (GOArt) at the University of Göteborg, Sweden, … Continue reading “Measuring the Organ, Part II: The Good, the Bad, and the Fingerprinted”

Measuring the Organ, Part I: Nervous Breathing and Sensitive Pipes

Carl Johan Bergsten, a research engineer with the Gothenburg Organ Art Center (GOArt) at the University of Göteborg, Sweden, spent the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday studying the wind system and acoustics of Cornell’s baroque organ. The measurements are part of a larger GOArt study exploring the interactions between bellows, wind chest, and pedals to determine an … Continue reading “Measuring the Organ, Part I: Nervous Breathing and Sensitive Pipes”

The True Value of Noise

Throughout history, organ builders have striven for a steadier sound and to silence the noise of the key action. Modern organs have achieved this goal to a fault, according to designer Munetaka Yokota. “Modern organs are easy to play and consistent,” he says. “No matter what you do it sounds good. But they’re missing the … Continue reading “The True Value of Noise”

Jean Ferrard: “Teachers and Pupils of the North German Baroque, from Sweelinck to Bach”

Belgian organist Jean Ferrard visited Cornell University last March as one of the featured soloists for Keyboard Culture in Eighteenth-Century Berlin, the conference and festival inaugurating the new baroque organ in Anabel Taylor Chapel. He will return to Ithaca to perform a solo organ recital on Tuesday, November 8, at 8:00 PM. Ferrard’s program features … Continue reading “Jean Ferrard: “Teachers and Pupils of the North German Baroque, from Sweelinck to Bach””

Old Sounds and New Impressions

8:00 pm: Acting University Organist Randall Harlow will perform old sounds and new impressions; an innovative, thought provoking program featuring contemporary organ works by Berio, Ligeti, and Cage on on Cornell’s new baroque organ in Anabel Taylor Chapel.

Cornell’s Fall 2011 Organ Recital Series Spotlights Baroque Organ

The Cornell Baroque Organ will be featured in six concerts this Fall, with performances by guest artists from around the U.S., Germany and Belgium, in addition to Cornell’s Acting University Organist Randall Harlow. Highlights include a program of North German Baroque repertoire from Sweelinck to Bach by renowned international organist and scholar Jean Ferrard and … Continue reading “Cornell’s Fall 2011 Organ Recital Series Spotlights Baroque Organ”

Giving to the Organ Project

Cornell’s baroque pipe organ is a masterpiece of successful research and craftsmanship, but despite its stunning beauty the project is not quite complete. Some components that remain unfinished include: Sculptures – All the great baroque organs had figural sculptures on them. Todd McGrain, an artist and professor here at Cornell, has already imagined some beautiful … Continue reading “Giving to the Organ Project”

Midday Music for Organ: Guest Gerald Wolfe

Guest organist Gerald Wolfe performs a Midday Music concert in Anabel Taylor Chapel on Wednesday, April 6, at 12:30 PM. The concert features music of Buxtehude, Böhm, and Bach performed on the new baroque organ.

Organ Conference & Festival Showcases Music of Berlin, Research and a Rich Sound

The sounds of 18th-century Berlin came alive during the inaugural conference and concert festival celebrating Cornell’s new $2 million baroque organ, March 8-13. The handcrafted organ in Anabel Taylor Chapel re-creates the tonal design of an instrument built by Arp Schnitger in 1706 at the Charlottenburg palace chapel in Berlin – “one of the high … Continue reading “Organ Conference & Festival Showcases Music of Berlin, Research and a Rich Sound”

Inaugural Conference Opens With Words of Welcome

Leslie Adelson, director of Cornell’s Institute for German Cultural Studies, offered words of welcome at the beginning of “Keyboard Culture in 18th-Century Berlin and the German Sense of History,” a conference and concert festival held March 10-13 to inaugurate Cornell’s new baroque organ. This organ, said Adelson, is “both an extraordinary instrument for musical performance … Continue reading “Inaugural Conference Opens With Words of Welcome”

Baroque Organ Enters 21st Century With Electronic Music

Award-winning electronic music composer Kevin Ernste, professor of music and director of the Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center, will open the organ dedication’s keynote concert on Saturday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. with a special inaugural composition. “It’s an exciting opportunity to showcase the organ as a vehicle for new music,” says Annette Richards, professor of … Continue reading “Baroque Organ Enters 21st Century With Electronic Music”

Video: Organ as Cultural Mission

Peter Lepage, Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University, discusses the cultural significance of the new baroque organ in Cornell’s Anabel Taylor Chapel.

Hyperorgan

Randall Harlow, visiting lecturer, will present Hyperorgan, featuring new innovative works by Cornell and Eastman composers, including works for organ with live electronics and other instruments. The concert will begin in Sage Chapel, then move to Anabel Taylor Chapel at intermission.

Conference: Keyboard Culture in 18th-Century Berlin and the German Sense of History

The March 10-13 celebration of Cornell’s new baroque pipe organ includes an academic conference, entitled “Keyboard Culture in 18th-Century Berlin and the German Sense of History.” The conference will explore music and culture in 18th-century Berlin, as well as the background and history associated with the Arp Schnitger organ on which Cornell’s new instrument is … Continue reading “Conference: Keyboard Culture in 18th-Century Berlin and the German Sense of History”

A Corrosive Enemy

Historic and modern organs share a common enemy: corrosion. In a surprise turnaround, scientists have discovered that the primary source of pipe corrosion is not industrial pollution, as was long thought, but the organs themselves. Or more precisely, the acid contained in organ wood. As Catherine Oertel, assistant professor of chemistry at Oberlin College, explains, … Continue reading “A Corrosive Enemy”

March 10-13: Organ Inauguration and Dedication Concert Festival and Conference

From March 10 – 13, Cornell University will celebrate its new baroque pipe organ with a series of concerts and lectures that explore music and culture in 18th-century Berlin, as well as the background and history associated with the Arp Schnitger organ on which Cornell’s new instrument is modeled. The concert festival and conference is … Continue reading “March 10-13: Organ Inauguration and Dedication Concert Festival and Conference”

Concert Schedule Announced

The schedule of concerts for the March Concert Festival and Conference to inaugurate Cornell’s new baroque organ has just been released! The keynote concert will feature Harald Vogel, professor of organ at the University of the Arts Bremen and founder of the North German Organ Academy, performing music by Sweelinck, Buxtehude, Bruhns, and the Bachs … Continue reading “Concert Schedule Announced”

An Old Model for a New Organ

Building Cornell’s baroque organ has been a huge international project, made possible by email, scanners, cell phones and fax machines. Yet at the same time the project has followed a 17th-century organizational style. Organ building in Germany originated in the guild system, according to Anette Schwartz, chair of German Studies. Master builders such as Arp … Continue reading “An Old Model for a New Organ”

A Different Way of Listening

Until the middle of the eighteenth century, many organs were designed with the console and organist hidden away. “One of the reasons for the very elaborate beauty of many organ cases is that what the listener is looking at is not the performer but the case,” explains Annette Richards, professor of music and university organist. … Continue reading “A Different Way of Listening”

A Research Experiment that Worked

“Cornell is known not to be afraid to engage in research experiments,” says Anette Schwartz, chair of German Studies, “and this organ is a great success. This experiment has worked.” “It was initiated by our wonderful organist Annette Richards,” adds Schwartz. “But it’s not just Annette Richards alone, it’s the university that supports these international … Continue reading “A Research Experiment that Worked”

The Charlottenburg Organ Reborn

Part 2 of University Organist David Yearsley’s profile of Munetaka Yokota and the Cornell organ. The shining apogee of technological advance in the pre-industrial world, the organ, was more often likened to the human form than to a “Wondrous Machine,” as it is styled in Henry Purcell’s Ode for St. Cecila’s Day. In such anthropomorphized … Continue reading “The Charlottenburg Organ Reborn”

New Video Gives Unique Look at Organ Project

A new video produced by the College of Arts and Sciences and Cornell’s Video Production Group gives a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the organ project, from conception to completion.

Focus on Volunteers

“I’m a pipe organ nut,” says Maureen Chapman, a semi-retired technician in Cornell’s Food Science Lab. Working on the organ has fulfilled a lifelong dream. “My experience has been nothing short of fantastic,” she said. Chapman helped paint the sizing on the pipe hooks and “beards,” metal protrusions around some of the pipe mouths. She … Continue reading “Focus on Volunteers”

Organ Festival and Conference All-Bach Concert

8:30 p.m. Jacques van Oortmerssen, professor of organ at the Amsterdam Conservatory, performs an all-J. S. Bach program at Anabel Taylor Chapel. All festival events are free and open to the public, but concerts require tickets. Please call the music department (607-255-4097) to reserve.