Students, faculty, and deans gathered recently with Malcolm Matthews, adjunct artist teacher of organ and harpsichord, to celebrate the installation of Blair’s new practice organ, a 10-rank mechanical instrument built by Austrian builder Gregor Hradetzky. Originally constructed for a home in Arizona, the organ was later used as a liturgical instrument in a church in Portland, Oregon, before finding its way to another home, this time in Tennessee. The instrument now takes residence in the Peter Fyfe Organ Room, located in room 2112 of the Blair building.
During the open house event, Matthews demonstrated the organ’s colorful and rich sounds before opening up the console for attendees to play. Those who tried out the organ reveled in the instrument’s fine touch and enjoyed playing the music of Bach, Mendelssohn, Hindemith, as well as improvising.
“This new practice instrument will more aptly prepare young organists for the instruments they will encounter both as liturgical musicians and as concertizing recitalists,” said Matthews. “Its caliber is rarely matched by practice instruments at music schools of any size. Despite being built in 1971, there’s decades more life and music to be made on it, and I’m excited that it will impact students at Blair for generations to come.”