New Organs

February 28, 2011

Schoenstein & Co., San Francisco
The Juilliard School,
New York City

I wonder what a conservatory percussion major would think of working exclusively on a practice pad without experiencing the myriad tonal and dynamic effects that fine technique can extract from a snare drum? Except for organ and conducting majors, everyone else has the advantage of practicing on the kind of instrument they will be using as professionals. When Paul Jacobs and I planned the organ for Juilliard’s newest studio, our first objective was to give students the experience of playing regularly on a full-scale instrument with capabilities representative of organs they are likely to encounter after graduation. In most music schools, such opportunities are restricted to those rare times when the concert hall is not booked by other departments. The new main studio in the recently renovated Juilliard building is 35 feet by 15 feet by 20 feet high, providing a pleasing resonance. The room is used exclusively for organ department teaching and practice. Here are the four requirements that guided the organ’s design:
1. A vehicle for learning many skills—not only solo repertoire. Professor Jacobs’ objective is to offer intensive training in all of the skills required for any career an organist may pursue. (The Juilliard faculty includes David Enlow for church music and accompanying and David Crean for literature.) The instrument is conceived as a large organ in miniature. It has three independent manual divisions, two of them under expression, and a pedal filled with borrowed stops from each division so that independence can be achieved simply by dedicating a particular stop to the pedal and not using it on a manual.
2. Tonal variety to encourage creative registration. Despite its size, the organ contains representatives of every major tonal category. There is a Diapason chorus on the Great, complemented by echo Diapason (Salicional) tone on the Choir, and a tapered Principal (Gemshorn) over a foundation of flute and string in the Swell. There is a stopped flute in the Great, a very small-scale and colorful chimneyed flute in the Choir, and an open flute in the Swell. True string tone is usually missing from practice instruments, but is included here, with a celeste, in the Swell. There is a color reed (Clarinet) in the Choir and a chorus reed (Flügel Horn) in the Swell, extended to 16′ pitch. E. M. Skinner thought that this stop, a very small-scale capped trumpet, was the most versatile reed for a small organ, and he was right.
3. A full complement of modern playing aids to master console management. The console has all of the controls and accessories found on a large three-manual instrument. Two of these are of special value in teaching and practice—the record/playback feature and 258 combination memory levels, which provide adequate channels for all the department students.
4. Pleasing tone. I can’t imagine anything less conducive to productive practice than harsh tone. Our goal was for each stop and the full ensemble to be interesting and pleasant over long periods of arduous and repetitive practice. We wanted students to have sonic encouragement while bringing a passage to technical perfection. Having the organ reflect your hard work with unyielding and shrill tone is not the best way to reward effort.
The instrument is also used to introduce students to some concepts of organ construction. It does not have the normal façade. Instead, the Great division and the two expression boxes are visible behind a decorative quarter-sawn white oak and wrought iron open-work partition much like a traditional choir screen. The console also is made of oak with Karelian birch and Honduran mahogany. The woodwork was awarded first place in a 2009 wood industry design contest. A windchest and wind regulator have glass observation ports so action operation can be viewed. All components of the organ are easily visible and labeled.
The organ was completed along with the renovation of the building in August 2009. As it joins Juilliard’s distinguished recital hall organs by Holtkamp and Kuhn and practice organs by Flentrop and Noack, we hope this teaching studio organ will be a source of inspiration to generations of talented young artists who wish to perfect the art of musicianly organ playing.
Jack M. Bethards
Schoenstein & Co.

Three manuals, 12 voices, 12 ranks
Electric-pneumatic action

GREAT (II – unenclosed)
16′ Bourdon (Pedal)
8′ Open Diapason 61 pipes
8′ Claribel Flute (Swell)
8′ Fernflöte 61 pipes
8′ Salicional (Choir)
4′ Principal 61 pipes
4′ Lieblich Gedeckt (Choir)
2′ Fifteenth 61 pipes
8′ Flügel Horn (Swell)
8′ Clarinet (TC, Choir)
Great Unison Off
Great 4′

SWELL (III – enclosed)
8′ Claribel Flute 61 pipes
8′ Echo Gamba 61 pipes
8′ Vox Celeste (TC) 49 pipes
4′ Gemshorn 61 pipes
16′ Bass Horn 12 pipes
8′ Flügel Horn 61 pipes
Swell 16′
Swell Unison Off
Swell 4′

CHOIR (I – enclosed)
16′ Salicional (TC) †
8′ Lieblich Gedeckt 61 pipes
8′ Salicional 61 pipes
4′ Lieblich Gedeckt 12 pipes
4′ Salicet 12 pipes
22⁄3′ Nazard (from Lieblich Gedeckt)
2′ Fifteenth 12 pipes
8′ Clarinet (TC) 49 pipes
Choir 16′
Choir Unison Off
Choir 4′
†Prepared for later addition of 12 pipes
††Affects Great and Choir stops

16′ Bourdon (ext Lieb Ged) 12 pipes
8′ Salicional (Choir)
8′ Claribel Flute (Swell)
8′ Lieblich Gedeckt (Choir)
4′ Fifteenth (Great Open Diapason)
4′ Claribel Flute (Swell)
16′ Bass Horn (Swell)
8′ Flügel Horn (Swell)
4′ Clarinet (Choir)
Note: Space prepared for later addition of 16′ Salicional Choir borrow.

Gt/Ped 8′, 4′
Sw/Ped 8′, 4′
Ch/Ped 8′, 4′
Sw/Gt 16′, 8′, 4′
Ch/Gt 16′, 8′, 4′
Sw/Ch 16′, 8′, 4′

Solid-state capture combination action with:
256 memory levels and lock
Programmable piston range
10 General pistons
10 General toe studs (duplicate)
5 Great pistons
5 Swell pistons
5 Choir pistons
3 Pedal toe studs
Swell to Great reversible piston
Great to Pedal reversible piston
Great to Pedal reversible toe stud
Swell to Pedal reversible piston
Swell to Pedal reversible toe stud
Full Organ reversible piston
Full Organ reversible toe lever
Record/Playback system
Adjustable bench

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