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Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Linda Cajigas
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Friday, April 20, 2012

Jacobs School of Music acquires significant pipe organ for Alumni Hall

April 20, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Just two years following the installation of a major pipe organ in Auer Hall on Indiana University's Bloomington campus, the Jacobs School of Music has announced the acquisition of a second major instrument built by C.B. Fisk, America's leading organ builder.

The three-manual, 45-stop, 2,838-pipe instrument, known to Fisk as Opus 91, will provide a unique addition to the refurbished Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union and is planned to be installed during the spring of 2013.

The French Baroque-inspired instrument, built in 1987, was previously installed in a specially constructed concert hall at a private residence owned by the late Jacques M. Littlefield in Portola Valley, Calif. The organ's acquisition and migration to Bloomington were made possible through a gift arrangement with Sandy Montenegro Littlefield and her children, Jacques Christian Littlefield and Jeannik Sandy Nicole Littlefield.

"With the help of many at the university, the IU Foundation, the Fisk Company, long-standing friends of IU and the Littlefields, this very special instrument will find a new home in Bloomington, and we could not be more thrilled," Jacobs School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards said. "Opus 91 is the perfect complement to Alumni Hall and an inspirational addition to the instruments of our Organ Department."

"The presence of this landmark instrument in a space that sits at the very crossroads of our campus and community will allow the Jacobs School's organ department to develop unique and innovative musical experiences that appeal to the widest possible range of listeners," said Janette Fishell, chair of the Jacobs School of Music Organ Department.

In addition to its use for recitals, the organ will be a pedagogical resource for what has become the nation's largest organ department and will provide students and faculty with an instrument with an 18th- to early-19th-century "accent," something that has long been missing from the department's instrument collection.

The instrument will also provide a new set of possibilities for the use of the hall.

"Fans of the instrument will be treated to spectacular performances of traditional repertoire, with an emphasis on the Baroque and early Romantic," Fishell said. "And those who have never heard a pipe organ before will get a taste for it in lunchtime or coffee break concerts. Halloween at the Union can now include sinister organ music -- how fun will that be?"

"The presence of Opus 91 will add a special grandeur to the room," said Bruce Jacobs, director of the Indiana Memorial Union. "All of us at the IMU are thrilled to be working with the Jacobs School faculty, staff and students to bring this wonderful instrument to IU, and we look forward to hearing it played during student practice, recitals and perhaps at a party or wedding."

"This remarkable organ is largely unknown to the wider world because of its former status as a private residence instrument," said David Kazimir, curator of organs and carillons at the Jacobs School of Music. "Those organists and organ builders who have seen Opus 91 over the years have come to regard it as the most visually beautiful instrument built by the Fisk firm. The intricate curved panels, immense turned tower moldings, and the matchless walnut carvings of American sculptor Morgan Faulds Pike make it the most challenging woodworking ever accomplished by the builder."

The acquisition will soon make the Jacobs School of Music home to three Fisk organs, the largest number of instruments by the builder in any one location in the world. The third, known as Opus 142, is a three-manual, six-stop, practice organ that will be installed in May in the Music Addition practice facilities.