Midnight Halloween Organ Recital

Sunday, October 31, 2021


Office of the Chaplains/Department of Music/Brown Arts Institute

Sayles Hall

Mark Steinbach, Brown University Organist and Senior Lecturer in Music, will perform the annual Midnight Halloween Organ recital, October 31 at 11:59 pm Sayles Hall on the 1903 Hutchings-Votey pipe organ. Doors will open at 11:30 pm. In lieu of traditional seating, please bring pillows/blankets and come in costume! Note that seating space in the auditorium is limited, so please arrive on time to the event to ensure seating.

No backpacks, food, or drink will be allowed inside. Admission is free and the event is handicapped accessible. Sponsored by Office of Chaplains and Religious Life, the Department of Music, and the Brown Arts Institute 

About Mark Steinbach

MARK STEINBACH is University Organist, Curator of Instruments, and Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Music at Brown University, where he teaches applied organ and seminars on topics such as historic performance practices and Olivier Messiaen. Dr. Steinbach concertizes and teaches frequently throughout the United States and Europe. A passionate advocate of both historic and new music, he premiered compositions of Brown University composers Eric Nathan and Wang Lu at Notre-Dame de Paris and Berlin’s Nikolai-kirche in summer 2016. He was in residence at Xi’an Conservatory of Music in Xi’an China in 2018 to teach and perform a solo recital in the new concert hall. His newest album “Glass and Bach in Dresden,” recorded on Gottfried Silbermann’s magnum opus of 1755 in Dresden, Germany was released in January 2021 on Philip Glass’ label, Orange Mountain Music, available as a CD and on streaming services including Spotify, Apple and Amazon Music and iTunes.

Mr. Steinbach has performed for the National Conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, international organ festivals in Berlin, Halle, Dresden, Freiberg Cathedral, Rötha, Görlitz, Weimar and Lüneburg, Germany, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the International Organ Festival at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, the Aosta, Courmayeur, Bolzano, Storici Organi della Valsesia, and Picena international organ festivals in Italy, and the Audite Organum festival in Prague. He performed the world premiere of Daniel Pinkham’s “Odes” at the American Guild of Organists Regional Convention and the U.S. premiere of Nico Muhly’s “O Antiphon Preludes” at Brown University. Mr. Steinbach has been featured on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” performing on the 1640’s English cabinet organ in Wickford, Rhode Island, the oldest church organ in use in the United States. Mr. Steinbach served as Organist and Choirmaster of historic St. Paul’s Church in Wickford, Rhode Island for 23 years, building a substantial multi-generational music program.

Mr. Steinbach earned the bachelor of music degree from the University of Kansas where he studied organ with Jim Higdon. As a Fulbright scholar he studied in Vienna, Austria with Peter Planyavsky. He earned the master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees from The Eastman School of Music where he studied organ with David Craighead and harpsichord with Arthur Haas.

Mr. Steinbach’s critically acclaimed CD Organ Works of Anton Heiller (Loft) has been featured on America Public Media’s Pipedreams and The Organ Loft. Mr. Steinbach has served as adjudicater for organ competitions, including the American Guild of Organists National Young Artists Competition. He has presented a lecture/demonstration on “Healthy Practice Techniques” for the American Guild of Organists National Convention.

About the Sayles Hall Organ

The Sayles Hall Organ was a gift in 1903 of Lucian Sharpe (class of 1893) in memory of his parents. The Latin inscription on the organ’s oak case reads,“Parentibus et Academiae Pignus Pietatis” or “to (my) parents and the academy, a token of devotion.” For many years, the student body had been extremely vocal about wanting a pipe organ. In his annual report of 1902, President Faunce referred to a new organ for Sayles Hall as “one of our greatest small needs.” Following the lead of Symphony Hall in Boston, Vassar and Yale, the University contracted with the Hutchings-Votey Company of Boston. To receive the organ, which weighed about 25 tons, the old gallery in Sayles Hall was replaced by a new one with a projecting center, under the direction of architects Stone, Carpenter, and Willson. The Hutchings-Votey Organhas three manuals, with fifty-one speaking stops, more than three thousand pipes, wind reservoirs,and over on hundred miles of wiring. The swell and choir organs are enclosed in separate swell boxes.

At Commencement in June 1903, the opening recital was performed by eminent Belgian organist Chevalier Auguste Wiengand, who was then the Sydney Town Hall Organist. In 1924, Mrs. Lownes endowed an annual organ recital known as “Edgar J. Lownes Memory Day,” a memorial to her late husband. In 1949, the organ received its first complete renovation,which involved the installation of a new console designed by the Schantz Organ Company. The organ fell into a state of disrepair in the 1980’s after hurricane water damage. The latest renovation of the instrument was undertaken in 1990 by the Potter-Rathburn Organ Company of Cranston, RI. By the 1950’s, the trend of much of the organ world was the replace, rather than restore or repair, and many fine instruments were lost. Fortunately the Brown organ is still sounding forth and is now the largest remaining Hutchings-Votey organ.

Adapted from Encyclopaedia Brunonia, Martha Mitchell, and the Brown Alumni Monthly, May 1903