UNC Pembroke’s new organ made its debut October 25 in a concert in Moore Hall Auditorium by renowned organist Carlo Curley.
Curley, a recording artist who plays great organs around the world, gave the new Allen Quantum Organ a thorough 90-minute workout that included organ standards like Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in A Minor” and more modern pieces like “An American Surprise,” arranged by the artist.
Organist Carlo Curley with new UNCP organ
Curley played the new organ twice at UNCP to audiences of approximately 300. He gave the organ high marks.
“I love playing a new organ,” he told the audience in the evening concert. “I believe it is now dutifully and duly inaugurated, and I have not violated its warranty.
“This is a terrific organ, and you are very lucky to have it,” he continued. “I hope it brings in thousands of organ students in the future.”
The organ and a Steinway piano were purchased through a state grant of nearly $124,000, said Dr. Janita Byars, chair of UNCP’s Music Department.
“It sounded wonderful,” Dr. Byars said. “This is truly a state of the art instrument.”
The stage was expanded to make way for the new digital organ and speakers installed around the auditorium. “We upgraded ourselves in the process,” Dr. Byars said.
A traditional pipe organ was out of the question for so small an auditorium, but that has advantages, as Curley noted during his concert conversation.
“This room is not best suited for a large cathedral organ,” Curley said. “The Allen Company does a lot of research for bringing acoustics to the room. It’s like bringing a 15th or 16th century building to Pembroke.”
Dr. Byars agreed that the Allen Quantum Organ was a nice fit for UNCP’s Moore Hall Auditorium.
“The ambience of the room is critical, and this organ is eminently flexible,” she said.
The University will reap great value from the organ, Dr. Byars said.
“It will serve music majors and non-majors alike, and it will accompany and enhance the performance of our many choral ensembles,” she said. “The organ could be moved to the Givens Performing Arts Center at some future date, and its sound system may be upgraded for other uses.”
The Allen Quantum Organ has 80 stops and 320 “voices” in four tonal voicings, American Classic, French Romantic, Neo-Baroque and English Cathedral. It utilizes 1,220 watts on 12 channels of sound.