by Daniel Hathaway
In the first three decades of the twentieth century, E.M. Skinner’s instruments were the Cadillacs of organs, establishing themselves in the most prestigious churches and concert halls in the United States. A wave of restoration projects has renewed many of Skinner’s instruments in Northeast Ohio, notably at Severance Hall, Morley Music Hall at Lake Erie College in Painesville and most recently at Stambaugh Auditorium, an impressive, 2,500 seat, Graeco-Roman hall built in 1926 that crowns a hill near Youngstown State University.
Stambaugh has launched an organ series to celebrate the restoration of its distinguished 58-rank organ, which is divided behind the proscenium on both sides of the stage and speaks with a fine presence through grillwork into the hall. Canadian-born organist Ken Cowan, who now teaches at Rice University in Houston, played an eclectic program of Wagner, J.S. Bach, John Ireland, Rachel Laurin, Healey Willan, Saint-Saëns and Sowerby on Sunday afternoon, April 7 which brilliantly showed off the Skinner’s many capabilities. [Read more…]