OHS Meets EROI in Rochester

By Laube, Nathan | The Tracker, January 2018 | Go to article overview

OHS Meets EROI in Rochester


Laube, Nathan, The Tracker


There are some matches made in heaven-meaningful relationships, cuisine and libation, performers and organs-all of which we hope to bring together at the 2018 Convention of the Organ Historical Society in Rochester this summer. But another comes to mind: the Organ Historical Society and the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI) by virtue of a shared vision for the preservation, advocacy, and study of the organ and its history. Collaboration between the OHS and EROI is not unprecedented: the OHS co-sponsored the 2008 EROI Festival to celebrate the inauguration of the installation of the Craighead-Saunders organ at Christ Church Episcopal in Rochester. A decade later, and now with several new instruments that have subsequently enriched both organ study at the Eastman School of Music and the Rochester cultural landscape at large, we look forward to sharing these riches-including many new discoveries also for us-with you this summer and at our EROI Festival in October 2018.

THE EASTMAN ROCHESTER ORGAN INITIATIVE

When the Eastman School of Music opened its doors in 1921, it housed the largest and most lavish organ collection in the nation, befitting the interests of its founder, George Eastman. Eastman provided the school with opulent facilities and stellar faculty, creating an expansive vision for organ art and education in the 20th century. In keeping with this tradition, the Eastman School of Music embarked on a long-range plan, the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI), which is extending George Eastman's vision into the 21st century.

With the aim of making Rochester a global center for organ performance, research, building, and preservation, the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative is assembling a collection of new and historic organs unparalleled in North America. An incomparable teaching resource, this collection offers talented young musicians from around the world access to organs of diverse styles and traditions. Tourists, scholars, and music lovers are drawn to Rochester to experience the sounds of these extraordinary instruments.

Since 2001, EROI has completed an initial phase that has included the placement of four magnificent instruments in downtown Rochester. A historic Italian Baroque organ was installed in the University of Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery in 2005. The Craighead-Saunders organ, closely modeled after a Lithuanian organ built by Adam Gottlob Casparini in 1776, was installed in Christ Church in 2008, in cooperation with the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester. Eastman also owns two vintage 19th-century American instruments, an 1896 Hook & Hastings housed in Saint Mary's Catholic Church, and an 1893 Hook & Hastings restored and installed in the chancel organ chamber of Christ Church in the summer of 2012. The EROI Project continues to work towards expanding the collection of high-quality organs in the Rochester area. The next phase of the project includes the renovation of the historic four-manual 1921 Skinner Organ Company, Op. 325 housed in the Eastman School's Kilbourn Hall, and the restoration or replacement of the 14 practice organs, all located in the main building at 26 Gibbs Street. EROI extends beyond instruments owned by the Eastman School: strong collaboration between Eastman and several churches in Rochester has allowed significant, regular weekly student access to many of the organs featured during this convention, namely Third Presbyterian Church, Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Downtown United Presbyterian Church, Asbury United Methodist Church, First Universalist Church, and the Wurlitzer organ at the Auditorium Theatre. The EROI committee has also been involved in the design of two new organs in the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford (2008 Taylor & Boody, Op. 57) and at Sacred Heart Cathedral (2008 Paul Fritts & Company, Op. 26).

A central component of the EROI Project is outreach and education. In the autumn of even-numbered years, EROI presents the EROI Festival, an international academic conference that features the collection of instruments in Rochester. …

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