Since its inception in 2006 under the direction of Dr. John Schwandt, the number of students studying the pipe organ at the University of Oklahoma has grown from one to more than 20. A comprehensive and varied curriculum has been established, including degree emphases in church music and organ technology. A further emphasis encompassing theatrical organ and silent film accompaniment is being designed.
An integral part of the Institute is the fully equipped and staffed pipe organ workshop on campus. “The Shop” is home to the restoration of the Möller Opus 5819, acquired in 2006 by the University for the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall at the School of Music. This project, as well as numerous smaller and varied projects, provide students the opportunity for hands-on experience in organ building and pipe organ maintenance. As the only university in the nation with a working pipe organ shop devoted to teaching, those wishing to learn the technical side of pipe organ construction, maintenance and repair will discover that the AOI facilities are equivalent to the best pipe organ shops in North America.
“Among the most forward-thinking and progressive aspects of the AOI is the expansion of the organ curriculum to include all aspects of the very rich history of the American Organ. Unlike so many organ departments that narrowly focus only on a specific style of organ building and playing, the AOI’s enormous potential lies in its embrace of many different traditions and styles.”
- R. Jelani Eddington, RJE Productions
“The key acquisition of the Möller opus 5819, added to the existing Fisk organ and the expected updates in the physical facility, will allow for a first-class academic and performance setting arguably unequaled by any other institution in the United States.”
- Professor Larry Smith, Chair, Organ Department, Indiana University