The Organs of St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Patrick has two organs. The Gallery Organ is located in the Choir Gallery below the Rose Window over the Fifth Avenue entrance and in the Triforium, near the South Transept. The Chancel Organ is located in the North Ambulatory next to the Chapel of Saint Joseph.
The first organ in the Cathedral had 4 manuals and 56 ranks and was built by George Jardine and Sons, one of New York's most distinguished organ builders, in 1879. In 1880, a 23-Rank, 2-manual organ was installed in the chancel by J.H. & C.S. Odell, then also from New York City.
With the addition to the music staff of Pietro Yon in 1927, plans were initiated to replace the organs. The firm of George Kilgen & Son of St. Louis, Missouri was engaged to build two new instruments according to designs which were heavily influenced by the Cathedral's world renowned organist.
During the building period it was determined that the Gallery would need to be extended to accommodate the new Gallery Organ. In the late 1920s, a concrete reinforced extension to the original Gallery was constructed.
The Chancel Organ was dedicated on January 30, 1928. It is encased in a carved oak screen ornamented with Gothic elements of design and symbolism. It had 1,480 pipes; located on the opposite side of the Ambulatory, diagonally across from the console.
The Gallery Organ, dedicated on February 11, 1930, required three years to build at a cost of $250,000. It has one of the nation's most glorious wood facades. It was designed by Robert J. Reiley, consulting architect of the Cathedral, and is adorned with angels and Latin inscriptions. It contained 7,855 pipes ranging in length from thirty-two feet to one-half inch. The longest pipes run horizontally across the North and South Triforia.
In the 1940s and 1950s tonal changes were made. In the 1970s and 1980s additional renovations were made by Jack Steinkampf of Yonkers, New York, particularly in the revoicing of flutes and reeds, and the addition of the Trumpette en Chamade.
1993. The first and most essential part of the restoration project was to acquire new consoles for both the Gallery and Chancel Organs to replace the original ones which had deteriorated beyond repair. Twin five-manual consoles were constructed by Robert Turner of Hacienda Heights, California. Solid State Logic, Ltd. of England designed and engineered the combination action. The use of fiber-optic wiring enables both consoles to control the Gallery, Chancel and Nave Organs at the same time. Installation of the Gallery console was finished in time for Christmas Midnight Mass in 1993. The Chancel console was installed in early 1994.
For six weeks in January and February 1994, scaffolding filled the Gallery to provide access for wood craftsmen to begin the arduous process of cleaning, repairing, and oiling the hand-carved organ facade. Meanwhile the Peragallo Pipe Organ Company of Paterson, New Jersey had been awarded the contract to clean and restore all of the pipework as well as the chests and wind systems. Their first task was to remove all the facade pipes for cleaning and refinishing. It was decided to return the pipework to its original zinc finish, only adding a protective coating to avoid oxidation in the future. After completing work on the facade, Peragallo moved to the interior of the instrument for the purpose of restoring the Great, Choir, Swell, Solo, String and Pedal divisions. The entire Chancel Organ was restored in 1995. Finally, the Echo Organ, situated in the triforium near the center crossing, underwent tonal modifications, making it more useful as the Nave Organ. The organ work was finished in 1997.
The Organs were blessed on September 15, 2007 celebrating the 10th anniversary of their renovations and inaugurating the Bicentennial Concert Series with a performance by James E. Goettsche, Vatican Organist.
The Organs consist of more than 9,000 pipes, 206 stops, 150 ranks and 10 divisions.
Organists & Music Directors of Saint Patrick's Cathedral
William F. Pecher
Organist (and Director of Music) (1879-1904)
Jacques C. Ungerer
Assistant Organist / Director of Chancel Choir (1893-1904)
Organist (and Director of Music) (1904-1929)
Pietro A. Yon
Assistant Organist (1927-1929)
Director of Music (1929-1943)
First Assistant Organist (1930-1933)
Msgr. Joseph I. Rostagno
Vice-Director of Music (1929-1935)
Assistant Organist (1933-1972)
Dr. Charles M. Courboin
Director of Music (1943-1970)
Director of Music & Organist (1970-1990)
Associate Organist (1970-1990)
Principal Organist (1990-present)
Director of Music (1990-1997)
Associate Organist (1991-1995)
Stephen J. Tharp
Associate Organist (1995-1996)
Stanley H. Cox
Associate Organist (1997-2007)
Director of Music (1999-2001)
Don Stefano Concordia
Director of Music (2001)
Director of Music (2001-2003)
Dr. Jennifer Pascual
Director of Music (2003-present)
Assistant Organist (2006-2007)
Assistant Organist (2007-2008)
Associate Director of Music (2008-present)
Assistant Organist (2008-2011)
Dr. Stephen Rapp
Assistant Organist (2012-present)
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