Caruth Auditorium Fisk Organ, Opus 101

September 1993 marked the culmination of a nine-year process of planning, construction, installation and voicing of a new tracker organ in Caruth Auditorium. Built by C.B. Fisk, Inc., of Gloucester, Massachusetts, their Opus 101 is a three-manual 51-stop, 3,681-pipe instrument comprising tonal design elements from German and French Baroque, French Romantic and more modern inspirations.

Replacing the free-standing Aeolian-Skinner organ previously located in Caruth, the Fisk organ combines eclectic tonal design with a stunning mahogany case. The visual design was developed by Charles L. Nazarian, design consultant, with members of the Fisk shop. The case is highlighted by hammered spotted metal façade pipes, gold leaf, deep teal panels and black detailing.

C.B. Fisk is noted for the creation of many outstanding instruments including installations at Harvard; Wellesley; Stanford; North Carolina School of the Arts; the University of Michigan; Mt. Holyoke College; House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, Minnesota; the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. Some of these instruments are historical reconstructions of specific European models, such as the 17th century meantone instrument at Wellesley College. Other organs combine stops from various national styles to make the eclectic instruments which have become Fisk’s hallmark.

Historic principles of construction and attention to the full body or organ repertory inform and inspire the building and voicing of their instruments. With a commitment to craftsmanship and design, Fisk combines talents from a myriad of disciplines to give each organ its unique character. C.B. Fisk represents the highest quality of contemporary pipe organ development.

The organ in Caruth has a fully mechanical action. A servopneumatic lever is available to assist the key action when the Great is coupled to other divisions and allows the player to retain control of the articulation of the pipes. An electrical stop action augments the mechanical stop action for an almost infinite number of preset registrations. The specification is based upon the German principal, flute and reed choruses familiar to Bach and Buxtehude and appropriate reed and flute voices for the 18th and 19th century French music. These features, along with a variable wind system, enable the organ to play four centuries of organ music with authority.

Commentary from Experts

The Opus 101 debuted was dedicated on September 19, 1993 at a joint dedication recital held by the late Robert Anderson and Larry Palmer, organ professors at Meadows. They had this to say on the occasion:

"It has long been our desire at SMU to have a magnificent mechanical action organ of eclectic design. We chose Fisk because of their obvious commitment to quality workmanship and their fresh approach, spearheaded by the philosophy of the late Charles Fisk and realized in his design for the Meyerson organ, Op. 100. We quickly realized that this way the way to go—from concept to fruition minor design features have changed; the result far surpasses my expectations. The action is excellent; the organ is comfortable to play. The individual voices have a distinct character which places them in a league with the best instruments of any period. The character of the sound adapts itself with ease to an 18th century Plenum or Plein-jeu as well as to the symphonic needs of 19th and 20th century repertoire. The Pedal organ has a stunning gravity. The Full Swell is versatile and gripping because of the Mixture and the 16’ Bourdon; the enclosure is tight. The Crescendo Pedal shows the smooth build-up of the ensemble. The reed colors are rich and varied. The organ has a full complement of playing aids making complex registrations or use of the instrument by many students, faculty or guest artists possible without encumbrance."
– Robert Anderson, late professor of organ at SMU Meadows, discusses the organ in-depth

"It is with great pleasure that we celebrate the completion of Fisk Opus 101 by welcoming back to SMU as organ recitalists a number of our distinguished former students. Joining this stellar roster of players are international stars Olivier Latry from the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris; ever-welcome guest Marie-Clarie Alain, who holds an honorary doctorate from SMU; and Guy Bovet, who, as a Meadows Visiting Professor of organ, added his advocacy to Robert Anderson’s and mine to move this organ project forward from wish to reality. Our deepest gratitude is due the supportive Dean, Eugene Bonelli, who found funding for the organ; to The Meadows Foundation, for its ongoing support which allows this School of the Arts to move upward to new levels of excellence; and to the dedicated artists of the Fisk Organ Company, sensitive craftspeople who construct, with utmost integrity, instruments of such superb musical character, creations beautiful both to eye and ear.
–Larry Palmer, professor of organ at SMU Meadows, comments on the program and the organ


Great, 61 Notes, Manual I
Prestant 16’ 61 pipes metal, open, en façade
Octave 8’ 61 pipes metal, open
Spillpfeife 8’ 61 pipes metal, tapered
Flûte harmonique 8’* 45 pipes metal, open & harmonic
Violoncelle 8’ 61 pipes metal, open
Octave 4’ 61 pipes metal, open
Open Flute 4’ 61 pipes metal, open
Twelfth 2 2/3’ 61 pipes metal, open
Fifteenth 2’ 61 pipes metal, open
Seventeenth 1 3/5’ (CC- f3) 54 pipes metal, open
Progressive Mixture**   draws part of No. 12
Full Mixture V-VII (2’) 348 pipes metal, open
Grand Cornet V (c1-d3) 135 pipes metal, chimneys & open
Trommeten 16’ 61 pipes< wood & metal, reed
Trommeten 8’ 61 pipes metal, reed
Trompette 8’ 61 pipes metal, reed
Clairon 4’ 61 pipes metal, reed

*CC – D#0 from No. 31
** Great Progressive Mixture draws the lower pitches of the Full Mixture. The Full Mixture is a traditional 18th century German chorus mixture. The Progressive Mixture does not break back but adds lower pitches in the treble. This makes an appropriate effect for 19th century music.

Positive, 61 Notes, Manual II
Prestant 8’ 61 pipes Metal, open, en façade
Gedackt 8’ 61 pipes Metal, stopped
Quintadena 8’ 61 pipes Metal, stopped
Octave 4’ 61 pipes Metal, open
Rohrflöte 4’ 61 pipes Metal, chimneys
Nazard 2 2/3’ 61 pipes Metal, open
Doublet 2’ 61 pipes Metal, open
Quarte de Nazard 2’ 61 pipes Metal, open
Tierce 1 3/5’ (CC – d3) 51 pipes Metal, open
Sharp Iv-VI (1’) 288 pipes Metal, open
Dulcian 16’ 61 pipes Metal, reed
Trechterregal 8’ 61 pipes Metal, reed
Cromorne 8’ 61 pipes Metal, reed
Swell, 61 Notes, Manual III
Bourdon 16’ 61 pipes wood & metal, stopped
Flûte traversière 8’   61 pipes wood & metal, open and harmonic
Viole de gambe 8’ 61 pipes metal, open
Voix céleste 8’  61 pipes Metal, open
Principal 4’  61 pipes metal, open
Flûte octaviante 4’    61 pipes metal, open & harmonic
Octavin 2’   61 pipes metal, open & harmonic
Mixture IV (2’)  244 pipes metal, open
Cornet III (G0-d3) 96 pipes Metal, open
Basson 16’  61 pipes Metal, reed
Trompette 8’   61 pipes Metal, reed
Hautbois 8’     61 pipes Metal, reed
Voix humaine 8’  61 pipes Metal, reed
Clairon 4’   61 pipes Metal, reed
Pedal, 32 Notes
Unterstatz 32’ 12 pipes  extension of No. 31
Contrebasse 16’ 32 pipes wood, open
Prestant 16’  32 notes from No. 1
Bourdon 16’    32 notes from No. 31
Octave 8’      32 pipes  metal, tapered
Spillpfeife 8’    32 notes alternates with No. 3
Violoncelle 8’       32 notes alternates with No. 5
Superoctave 4’   32 pipes metal, open
Mixture IV (2 2/3’)  128 pipes Metal, open
Posaune 32’    12 pipes extension of No. 14
Bombarde 16’  32 pipes Metal, reed
Trommeten 16’   32 notes from No. 14
Trommeten 8’  32 notes  alternates with No. 15
Trompette 8’    32 notes alternates with No. 16
Clarion 4 32 notes alternates with No. 17
Positive to Great   Great to Pedal
Swell to Great  Positive to Pedal
Swell to Positive  Swell to Pedal
  Swell to Pedal 4’

Octaves graves ( Great Sub-octave on)

Great Off (The action to the Great chest is disconnected allowing for the other manual divisions to be played through the Servopneumatic Machine; the Great ay be brought on at a later point. The Servopneumatic Machine is drawn automatically when the Great Off is drawn.)

Stops which alternate between the Great and Pedal may be used in either division separately but not together without the stop being drawn in the Great and engaging the Great to Pedal coupler. Tremulant affecting all manual divisions.

Wind stabilizer engages winkers for performance of 19th & 20th century repertoire.

Balanced Swell Pedal to a swell box with shades on three sides.

Wind Pressures:

  • 3 ¼” for manual divisions
  • 4 ¼” and 5 5/8” for certain bass pipes

Key action: direct mechanical, except for certain bass pipes

Keydesk: Built into the front of the main case, 3 manuals and pedals, manuals 61 keys CC-c4, naturals of bone, sharps of ebony; flat pedalboard 32 keys CC-g1 naturals of maple, sharps of maple with ebony.

Servopneumatic Lever: As an alternative to the mechanical action this assist provides a lighter touch to the Great action and divisions which are coupled to it. The Octaves graves (Great Sub-octave) may be drawn when the machine is on.

Stop action: Direct mechanical with Solenoid motors superimposed over the mechanical system.

Combination action: By Solid State Logic, Ltd., made to actuate the mechanical stop action with the following controls:

  • 64 levels of piston memory with indicator under Swell Keyboard
  • Levels may be changed by “up” and “down” pistons
  • Additional levels on individual and removable CapKards (32 on each)
  • 20 General pistons, duplicated by toe studs
  • 6 Divisional pistons for each manual division
  • 6 Divisional toe studs for the Pedal division
  • 3 Reversible pistons and toe studs for each manual division to Pedal
  • Balanced Crescendo Pedal with 1 Standard and 3 Programmable Crescendo settings. Memory level indicator reverts to Crescendo stage number when pedal is engaged.
  • N.B. Engaging the Crescendo causes the mechanical stop knobs to move.
    • The original setting will be restored as the pedal is closed; or the system will return to a new combination if a piston is engaged during the Crescendo.
    • 1 Reversible toe stud and piston for Crescendo off with indicator light. This allows the
    • Crescendo to be set to a specific stage number and engaged when desired.
  • 1 Reversible toe stud for Posaune 32’
  • 1 Reversible toe stud for Untersatz 32’
  • 3 Reversible pistons for each of the inter-manual couplers
  • 1 Reversible toe stud and piston for Octaves graves
  • 1 Set piston
  • 1 Reversible piston for SFZ I with indicator light
  • 1 Reversible toe stud and piston for SFZ II with indicator light
  • 1 General Cancel piston