The Eastman School of Music has brought the sounds of the past to Rochester by installing an historic full-size Italian Baroque organ in the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery. The magnificent instrument, originally built around 1770 in the region of central Italy, represents the genesis of Baroque organ music played and taught worldwide. With its well-preserved pipes crafted to render vocal and instrumental sonorities of its time, the organ is a “living recording” of sounds made hundreds of years ago. After being fully restored in Germany, it was installed in the Gallery’s Fountain Court in the fall of 2005, making Rochester the only place in North America to hear authentic performances of 18th-century organ music written for a large Italian instrument. In addition to enhancing organ study at the Eastman School, the organ benefits the singers and instrumentalists who perform with the instrument, visiting scholars, practitioners of organ restoration, and visitors to the Memorial Art Gallery.
Installation of the Italian Baroque Organ at the Memorial Art Gallery, June 2005; feat. David Higgs, organ.
The inauguration of the Italian Baroque Organ took place at the 2005 EROI Festival. For further information on the process of bringing this instrument to Rochester, see the 2005 press release When the Paths of Music, Art, and Science Converge Into Sound.