Professor Owolabi inaugurates Martin Pasi’s organ, Opus 29

Author: SMND

Professor Kola Owolabi performed the inaugural recital on the newest organ built by Martin Pasi, Opus 29 (2 manuals, 28 stops) at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sunday November 12 at 7pm. Pasi is one of a small number of craft organ builders in the United States who are building organs inspired by 17th and 18th century instruments of Northern and Central Germany. However Pasi adds his unique voice, drawing additionally on his Austrian heritage, incorporating influences from Southern Germany, Austria and Italy. Pasi fuses these elements together in a personal way, insisting that these are intended to be modern instruments with echoes from the past. Pasi has maintained a shop in Roy, Washington but is in the process of moving to St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, where he will collaborate with their famous woodworking shop in setting up a new organ-building venture, which will focus on training apprentices as the next generation of craft American organ builders. The instrument built for the seminary in Cincinnati will therefore be the last instrument built under the auspices of Martin Pasi’s original firm.

The project at Saint Mary’s Seminary was in large part a result of the efforts of Dr. Mary Catherine Levri, Director of Music and Assistant Professor of Music & Pastoral Studies. Dr. Levri received her Bachelor of Arts, Master of Sacred Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Notre Dame. She was appointed at the seminary in 2016, before finishing her doctoral degree in 2017. At the seminary, she leads the Latin Schola and the Athenaeum Chorale, in addition to teaching music courses to the seminarians. Craig Cramer, Professor emeritus of organ at Notre Dame served as consultant for the organ project. Dr. Owolabi’s program was designed to show the versatility of Pasi’s instrument, and featured works by J. S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Francisco Correa de Arauxo, Matthias Weckmann, Peter Eben, Jehan Alain and Rachel Laurin. The Latin schola sang several Gregorian chants, in alternatim with two of the organ works.

Dr. Levri comments, "It was an absolute thrill to work with Martin Pasi on the commissioning and installation of this new organ. Martin has given us an incredibly beautiful instrument that is a perfect fit for the space of St. Gregory the Great chapel and supports the daily sung prayer of the seminarians in a remarkable way. Working with Dr. Cramer, Martin Pasi, and Kola Owolabi on this wonderful project was a great honor, and a testimony to the great legacy I have inherited from Sacred Music at Notre Dame."

The concert program can be accessed here
The recording of this performance can be accessed here