The ISM celebrated the completion of the new Pasi organ with a reception and demonstration on May 1.
The Yale Institute of Sacred Music is proud to announce the installation of a new pipe organ by Pasi Organ Builders of Roy, WA. Their Op. 20 now resides in the 25-seat organ studio at the ISM, and will be used for teaching and practice by Yale organ faculty and students. This new instrument will provide the versatility that students need to play a wide array of literature, and it will provide schedule relief for the excessively busy spaces on the central Yale campus, where the performing organs live.
The plan for this organ dates back to the 1990's when the new spaces for the Institute were being designed at the front of Sterling Divinity Quadrangle. ISM alums of the period will recall the Moeller organ that lived in the stairwell-converted-to-organ-studio in the old ISM building. That instrument was sold to a small church in Connecticut when the Institute moved, while for the new space a purpose-built instrument reflecting current building trends was envisioned. For a number of reasons, the project was delayed for several years, and during that time Lloyde and William Ortel, loyal Yale alumni and music-lovers (Lloyde Ortel had been an organ student at Yale), graciously donated the Flentrop house-organ from their home Sturbridge, MA. The Ortel Organ lived happily in the ISM Organ Studio until this summer: it has now been moved to a practice room in Woolsey Hall where it can be used by graduate and undergraduate music students alike.
Meanwhile, Professors Murray and Jean considered a number of builders to undertake the new project, and in 2009 recommended Pasi Organ Builders for the job.
Martin Pasi's work represents some of the finest organ building of its kind in the world today: beautiful though simple materials are crafted carefully into instruments that are pleasing both visually and aurally. Pasi hails from the Lake Constance region of Austria, where he apprenticed with the Rieger Organ Company. He came to the States in 1981, and after working with several North American builders, set up his own shop in the northwest, where he is now building his 22nd organ. His instruments are characterized by their exquisite craftsmanship, careful and sweet voicing, and superb mechanical action. The organ now being installed is six stops larger than the Flentrop, accounting for the increased height of the organ and allowing for more versatility of musical styles. The room itself has undergone modest acoustical improvements.
The ISM is deeply grateful to Margot Fassler, director of the institute from 1994-2004, who procured approval and funding for this project. This splendid new organ will serve Yale students for many decades to come.