2018 BBIOC Venues & Organs
Boston houses the greatest number of significant new and historical organs of any city in America. The competition rounds highlight three diverse organs, all situated within walking distance of one another: the 1971 C.B. Fisk at Old West Church, the 1936 Aeolian-Skinner at the Church of the Advent, and the 2000 Richards, Fowkes & Co. at The First Lutheran Church of Boston, known as “Boston’s Bach organ.” Additional concerts will be held on other significant organs in Boston and one in Worcester.
Old West Church
C.B. Fisk’s opus 55, built in 1971 for Old West Church, is a modest three-manual mechanical-action instrument that is capable of playing a wide range of repertoire. The tonal design exhibits a French classic influence—there are three tierce ranks spread across the manual divisions. For decades, this instrument served as the chief recital organ for the New England Conservatory of Music and is among the most beloved of Charles Fisk's organs.
The Church of the Advent
Built in 1936, Aeolian-Skinner’s opus 940 was immaculately voiced by G. Donald Harrison himself, and it became the prototype for the American Classic organ. Though alterations were made in 1964 to bring the specification more in line with the Orgelbewegung, the organ escaped the unfortunate fate of so many of its time and has been carefully restored by Nelson Barden. It remains one of the most outstanding and significant examples of American organ building.
First Lutheran Church
Richards, Fowkes & Co. opus 10 was built in 2000 and completed in 2010. An all-mechanical-action instrument, it has since gained a reputation as one of the finest Baroque organs in New England and is known as “Boston’s Bach Organ.” Its colorful, vocal quality, its unequal temperament, and its specification, inspired by the work of Schnitger, allow for an authentic rendering of the music of the North German tradition.
King’s Chapel has been served by such significant composers as William Billings, William Selby, Virgil Thomson, and Daniel Pinkham. Its 1964 C.B. Fisk organ is the first three-manual mechanical action organ built by an American firm in the twentieth century. The organ’s unusual disposition and colorful voicing bear the unmistakable stamp of Charles Fisk and is uniquely suited for the performance of American organ music.
Harvard Memorial Church
Once home to C.B. Fisk’s brilliant op. 46, Harvard Memorial Church in 2012 commissioned a new organ by Fisk to grace the gallery and purchased a 1929 E.M. Skinner organ to serve in the “chancel” space of Appleton Chapel. Between these two organs a wide range of the literature can be rendered appropriately.
Trinity Church in the City of Boston
One of the most significant architectural gems in America, Trinity Church in the City of Boston boasts two large organs playable from a single console: a 1924 E.M. Skinner in the gallery and a 1961 Aeolian-Skinner in the chancel. With these organs as a cornerstone, Trinity Church operates an all-encompassing music program and hosts one of the most successful weekly organ recital series in the nation.
St. Joseph Chapel, College of the Holy Cross
In 1985, Holy Cross College commissioned a mechanical-action organ from Taylor and Boody. The 52-foot-high façade houses over 70 ranks of pipes spread over four manuals and meticulously crafted in the tradition of 16th- and 17th-century instruments from the Netherlands and north Germany.