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Pipedreams This is your best resource for listening to organ music. Pipedreams is a weekly, 1 1/2 hour long radio show devoted to organ music. The host, Michael Barone, covers a new topic every week. Sometimes a composer is featured. Other programs have included topics such as Theater Organ Music, Organ and Other Instruments, and Christmas Music. He always gives the source of his recording so you can buy it you wish. Produced by Minnesota Public Radio, it airs nationwide on public radio stations that are part of the Public Radio International network. A newsletter listing the pieces for each program is published monthly and lists the source of each recording. You can contact Pipedreams at (612) 338-5000 or visit their site on the internet. Call your local public radio station to find Pipedreams' air time.
Joy of Music For those of you with cable, learn about the organ without leaving your house. Host Diane Bish has a program similar in content to Pipedreams. The topics take you to organs around the world. Non-organists often find it interesting to watch an organist play, especially if the feet are playing a fast passage. The advantages of TV and a zoom lens are used to the organ's advantage in this show. Check your TV guide for the day and time.
Your local college or university If your local school of higher education has an organ professor, you can be sure there are recitals and other events taking place throughout the year. Get in contact with the music office. If they cannot give you enough information, try talking to the professor directly. Although the professor will not have time to send you notice of organ events, he or she can tell you who the PR person is. Put yourself on any organ events mailing lists that exist in your community.
For more information about organ events, see the Organ Societies list below.
Organ societies can give you information about organ literature, building, education, professional concerns, and lists of organ events.
The American Guild of Organists This organization was founded in 1896 as a resource for church musicians and has local chapters all over the United States. These local chapters are the place to find out about local organ events. Many of them meet monthly and publish a monthly newsletter. You need not be an organist to join. Organ lovers and choral directors are also members. The National Headquarters can tell you who to contact to reach your local chapter. Yearly national conventions are held in a different city each time. They now have a website.
The AGO publishes a monthly journal, The American Organist. The articles cover a variety of topics such as organ building, organ education (teaching students and public education) professional concerns, and newly published music. The magazine is included in the membership cost. For more information, contact the AGO directly.
AGO National Headquarters
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1260
New York, NY 10115
Tele: (212) 870-2310
Fax: (212) 870-2163
The Organ Historical Society You don't have to be a member to receive their free catalog of organ recordings, books, and music. The catalog is published once a year and they don't send junk mail so go ahead and ask for it.
Love of the organ is the only requirement for membership and the society's mission is to promote "widespread musical and historical interest in the organ. Members receive a quarterly magazine called The Tracker and an annual Organ Handbook. The society also holds conventions. Dues are just $27 a year, $22 for those over 65.
The Organ Historical Society
Post Office Box 26811
Richmond, Virginia 23261
Tele: (804) 353-9226
Fax: (804) 353-9266
Associated Pipe Organ Builders of AmericaThis is a group of selected organ builders who have to meet strict standards in order to join. They offer free publications about planning and fundraising for a new pipe organ which covers everything from acoustics in the building to the installation. They can be ordered by phone, mail, or internet.
Post Office Box 155
Chicago Ridge, Illinois 60451
The American Organist Subscription to this monthly journal is included in the American Guild of Organists' membership dues. See The AGO under Organ Societies for more information about the society and the journal.
The Diapason This monthly journal is devoted to organs, harpsichords, choral music and carillons. Articles cover a variety of subjects from organ pedagogy to new organ installations. Each issue contains reviews of music for organ and voices, new organ music, and new recordings.
Subscriptions within the US and US possessions are $20 for 1 year, $30 for 2 years, and $40 for 3 years. Foreign subscriptions are $10 to $15 higher than the US prices. To order The Diapason write to:
380 E. Northwest Highway
Des Plaines, IL 60016-2282
The Art of Organ Building by George Ashdown Audsley . New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1965. First published in 1905 by Dodd, Mead, and Company, New York.
This book is detailed which dictates slow, careful reading but there are many interesting facts about the organ that make it worthwhile. Composers may be especially interested in Chapter XIII, "Names and General Particulars of Organ Stops- Ancient and Modern." The stop names are given in several languages and the list is very extensive.
Survey of Organ Literature and Editions by Marilou Kratzenstein. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1980.
This is an excellent survey of organ literature and I recommend it to those who want to read about organ music. The book is organized geographically and chronologically. Kratzenstein writes in a clear style so you won't need a music degree to understand the book.
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