University of Rochester

University Events Explore the Cultural Context of Pipe-organs

September 26, 2007

Through their design, function, and the music they produce, pipe-organs can offer real insights into the cultures that build and restore them. This fall at the University of Rochester, a series of events, "The Organ in Society: Culture and Technology," aims to illustrate the connection between the study of music, historic cultures, and the physics of pipe-organ construction to explore those insights.

The series, co-sponsored by the Department of History and the College Music Department, is based on the activities of the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI). The goal of the initiative is to make Rochester a global center for organ performance, research, building, and preservation.

"The Organ in Society: Culture and Technology" will kick off with a lecture by Hans Davidsson, professor of organ at the Eastman School of Music and project director of the Eastman-Rochester Organ Initiative, and Joel Speerstra, research director at the Goteborg Organ Art Center (GOArt) at Goteberg University in Sweden and research coordinator of the Rochester organ installation, on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 4 p.m. in Lander Auditorium of Hutchison Hall on the University's River Campus.

Three other events will round out the series next month. On Wednesday, Oct. 10, organ experts John Watson of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; George Taylor of Virginia-based organ builders Taylor and Boody; Lawrence Libin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Speerstra will participate in a roundtable discussion titled "Artifacts in the 21st Century: Reviving the Past, Creating the Future." The discussion will take place at 4 p.m. in Hubbell Auditorium of Hutchison Hall on the University's River Campus.

A special EROI symposium and carillon concert will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in Strong Auditorium on the University's River Campus and will include the presentation to the University of Rochester of an historic organ citation from the Organ Historical Society for the organ in Strong Auditorium. Boston-based consultant Jonathan Ambrosino will speak on the Groton School Skinner restoration and the historic status of the 1937 Aeolian-Skinner Opus 953 in Strong. Eastman School of Music student Jonathan Ortloff will build on that presentation with a discussion of preliminary documentation of the opus and a video tour.

Bruce Shull of Taylor and Boody will present "Documenting the 1800 Tannenberg Organ in Winston-Salem," and Scot Huntington of Connecticut-based SL Huntington and Co. will present "OHS Guidelines for Documentation and Conservation."

At noon, following the presentations, the concert will be performed and a tour of River Campus will be offered.

On Monday, Oct. 15, another roundtable discussion, "Environmental Challenges to Cultural Preservation," will take place. Carl-Johan Begsten of GOArt, Annika Niklasson and Matthias Scholtz of Chalmers University of Technology, and Susan Tattershall, an organ restoration expert, are the participants.

The organ series is part of the Humanities Project, an initiative by the University of Rochester emphasizing the influence and contributions of the humanities to academic and civil life.

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