- Steve Panizza
- 2010 E. Hennepin Box 61 Minneapolis, MN 55413
When I began college, I had a choice between music or engineering majors. I went on to complete a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. As the once robust manufacturing sector of industrial Wisconsin collapsed, the degree lost traction and is unfortunately no longer offered.
Engineering Technology is much like a traditional degree in Mechanical Engineering. The Parkside approach to engineering was innovative though, and allowed me the opportunity to develop my imagination and creative side in an undergraduate focused program.
I could also spend time at nearby Carthage College in their prestigious organ program. Their program with its four-manual baroque inspired mechanical action pipe organ would provide opportunities and connections that would nurture and influence my later development as a pipe organ builder.
Principles of history are very much a part of my pipe organ design process. Along with fine craftsmanship, their application to each new instrument helps to achieve an enduring result. Mechanical key and stop action, natural voicing, and a free-standing solid hardwood case are part of that tradition. Examples I study include noteworthy European baroque instruments and the work of early American builders like David Tannenberg and Thomas Appleton whose work I value for its softer voicing technique and use of wood pipes.
The following three stories narrate my journey as an organ builder and studio woodworker.