The Eastman School of Music and the Organ department will hold their third annual Eastman-Rochester Organ Initiative Festival from Oct. 21 through the 24th. During the festival, an international contingent of organ builders, scholars and researchers. The weekend-long festival will include concerts, lectures and other recreational activities.The most anticipated events of the weekend center around EROI’s presentation of its latest project. In collaboration with the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, the Gteborg Organ Art Center in Sweden and the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, Eastman will present its latest organ project to the public.This project is the building of a reproduction of a historic 1776 Lithuanian organ by Adam Gttlob Casprini. This organ will be installed in Rochester’s Christ Church (Episcopal) in 2008. The project also consists of the simultaneous restoration of the original instrument in Vilnius. The new organ will be named the Craighead-Saunders Organ in honor of David Craighead and the late Russell Saunders, both distinguished organ professors at Eastman.The EROI chose to renovate and replicate the Casprini organ for very specific reasons. “We were looking for an instrument that would play the organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach and his circle very well, yet be versatile and suitable for many other kinds of music,” Eastman organ professor David Higgs said. “Our aim is to create a global organ facility – a collection of new and historic organs of high quality.” The Casprini organ has a rich history. Today, it is considered to be one of the most valuable music artifacts of its time. Housed at the Church of the Dominicans – The Holy-Ghost Church – in Vilinus, Lithuania, the well-preserved organ has survived both World Wars. In 1944, during World War II, all the city and court organs of Knigsberg were destroyed, but the Caspirini managed to survive.The opening ceremonies for the festival will take place on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church. “Three countries, represented by their Ambassadors and the universities represented at the conference … will participate in the opening ceremony.”In recognition of the cultural exchange between Vilnius and Rochester, the festival’s opening event welcomes local dignitaries and guests including Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States, Vygaudus Usakas, Deputy Mayor of Vilnius, Professor Kestutis Masiulis, Lithuanian Honorary Consul of upstate N.Y., Rimas Chesonis, and members of the Lithuanian-American Association. Throughout the weekend, demonstrations of Lithuanian cultural activities will take place. A highlight of the festival will be the performance by Lithuanian choirs from the United States and Canada.The EROI festival also consists of concerts by Eastman organ faculty, students and guests. These concerts include the American premiere of Hans-Ola Ericson’s Organ Mass for Organ and tape.In addition to concerts, there will be lectures and professional workshops. There will be an event honoring the late Dirk A. Felntrop, one of the most influential organ builders in North America. For those who are interested in the pedal clavichord, there will be a symposium on the instrument. The pedal clavichord has been fully integrated into the organ curriculum. This is the first program in organ education to integrate the pedal clavichord into its curriculum. Joel Speerstra from the Gteborg Organ Art Center in will present his research on this topic. This is the third EROI festival. Every year, more people come to participate. This year there are 90 participants. “We want to create a dynamic meeting for musicians, scholars and builders where – in accordance to the antique philosophy of the Universitas concept – the function, development and art of the organ music and instrument building can be shared and discussed,” Higgs said. For more information concerning the above events or any of the festival’s other events, please visit can be reached

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