by Steve Panizza

This is a photo of the interior of the first cabinet organ I built as an independent builder. The instrument combines pipes from an older organ along with new material. The instrument was a successful attempt to interpret the design aspects of a small European country parish organ in a one-manual mechanical action pipe organ with pull-down pedal. A more complete description of the instrument is found here. The church where the instrument is located closed this past summer.  As pipe organs become available due to church closings, they are often understandably repurposed into something new to fit the needs and space of their new owners using core material from the original instrument. This often results in a lower project cost. A new cabinet organ based on this instrument could find its way into another church, especially one with a contemporary music focus, or perhaps a small college recital venue or art gallery. An organ like this does not dominate, but rather contributes where most effective either alone or in combination with other instruments or voices.


Hohlpfeife 8' (old pipes, divided at tonal f)

Viol 8' (old pipes from tonal f)

Flaut 4' (old pipes, open wood)

Octav 2' (new pipes)

Quint 1 1/3' (new pipes)


The organ has a rich history that's produced an enormous evolution of different styles and technologies along the way. Arguments arise among different camps who believe strongly in one type of design interpretation over another. I think the best argument for my work lies here in a description of former work, and in the three short stories linked to below that form a professional autobiography. Descriptions that I hope will help a potential client develop their own ideas, do better research, start some constructive dialog, and make an informed decision relevant to their needs.

 Contact Steve for more information.


An Organ Builder

A Minneapolis Studio Artisan

Collaborative Music Happened


Think a one-manual five stop pipe organ cannot provide tonal variation? Listen to the following seasonally appropriate carols recorded on the organ with registrations listed below. They effectively demonstrate a restrained yet elegant application of period-eclectic tonal design.


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1. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"
      F 4'  +  Q 1 1/3'

2. "Joy to the World"
      H 8'  +  Q 1 1/3'
      H 8'  +  F 4'  +  Q 1 1/3

3. "O Come, All Ye Faithful"
      H 8'  +  O 2'
      H 8'  +  O 2'  +  F 4'  +  Q 1 1/3

4. "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen"
      F 4'
      H 8'
      F 4'

5. "O Little Town of Bethlehem"
      H 8'  + V 8'  +  F 4'

6. "Silent Night"
      V 8'

7. "Angles We Have Heard on High"
      H 8'  +  O 2'
      H 8'  +  O 2'  +  Q 1 1/3'

8. "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
      H 8'  + V 8'  melody played one octave higher

9. "Awake! Awake, and Greet the New Morn"
      F 4'

10. "Hark! The Herald Angles Sing"
      H 8'  +  F 4'  +  O 2'


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