Opus 126 represents the work of a non-profit foundation that united three groups, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, East Carolina University, and the Greenville, North Carolina, philanthropic community. Together they funded an organ that is the cornerstone of a common mission: educating future organists and church musicians, and inspiring congregants and audiences for generations to come.
In consultation with Janette Fishell, who was Director of Music at St. Paul’s and Professor of Organ at ECU at the time, the organ’s tonal design is strongly influenced by the French Romantic School. Pipe design and materials, as well as voicing techniques, follow closely in the tradition of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll’s late work. The stop list is the result of careful research and thoughtful discussion of the musical requirements of the Episcopal liturgy, including both leadership and accompaniment. The splendid acoustics of St. Paul’s, designed by Dana Kirkegaard of Kirkegaard Acoustics, Inc., gave us the aural environment in which to create an organ with the breadth and flexibility needed to serve as a university teaching organ and recital instrument.
During the summer of 2015, in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the instrument, an 8' Voix Humaine was added to the Récit division commissioned by the East Carolina Musical Arts Education Foundation.
The organ is the centerpiece of the recently established Fisk Academy for new and emerging organists. The Academy also provides teaching and performance residencies for world-class organists and pedagogues, and sponsors a Pre-College Organ Competition open to students throughout the southeastern United States.