This project will provide both Eastman and the Rochester community with an organ suitable for the music of J.S. Bach, and help give life to the largest, best preserved late Baroque organ in Northern Europe."
– Hans Davidsson, EROI project director, Eastman professor of organ
Christ Church Organ Construction Photo Gallery.
The distinctive sound traditions of late 18th-century Northern and Central Europe will soon be brought to Rochester in 2008 with the installation of a new organ in Christ Church (Episcopal). The organ was designed according to the specifications of an instrument built by Adam Gottlob Casparini in 1776 for the Church of the Dominicans in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The first stages of construction for the organ began in late March 2007 when the first beams, made from reclaimed timber that will form a new balcony to hold the organ, were lifted into place at the church.
The Craighead-Saunders Organ was built for Christ Church as a research project by a joint venture of American and international organ builders. The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester is the main partner and co-sponsor of the project, which involves collaboration with the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and Göteborg Organ Art Center in Sweden. The organ, which is named after two legendary Eastman organ professors David Craighead and Russell Saunders, was installed in Christ Church with the simultaneous restoration of the original organ in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The original organ, found in the Church of the Dominicans (Holy Ghost Church) in Vilnius, was fortunately well preserved in a region afflicted by years of war and conflict. It is the only remaining example of a large organ created by Adam Gottlob Casparini and considered to be one of the most valuable musical artifacts of its time in Europe today.
The Craighead-Saunders Organ in 2009.
In late January 2008, the painting of the organ case was begun. The photo shows the gray undercoat; the overcoat will be warm white.
Workers begin preparations for building the new balcony at Christ Church, Episcopal—the new home of the 1776 Casparini organ.
The beams that will form the balcony at Christ Church are 19th-century timbers reclaimed from the Watts Cotton Mill in Laurens, North Carolina.
Guests at an opening reception on March 27 included current Eastman organ professor Hans Davidsson (center, yellow tie) and the retired Eastman organ professor who is one of the dedicatees of the new organ, David Craighead (far right, red tie).
(Right) Lifting of the beams and construction of the frame began in late March, 2007. (Left) A shot of the timbers for the balcony after installation, which also shows Christ Church’s beautiful Rose Window.
Casparini Organ in Vilnius; Interior of Christ Church