CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Delores Bruch will play a concert on the 19th-century organ at St.
Mary's Oct. 25
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Organist Delores Bruch from the University of Iowa
School of Music will play a solo recital at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25 on the
historic 19th-century organ at St. Mary's Church, 220 E. Jefferson St.
in Iowa City.
The organ was completed for St. Mary's in 1883 by the Moline Organ Company
of Moline, Ill. Related through its early employees to the important English
organ-building firm of Henry Willis, what came to be known as the Moline
Company existed under several names from 1865 into the early years of the
20th century. The St. Mary's instrument is especially important as the
only extant three-manual organ built by the Moline Company.
It is also important historically because the organ has survived in
virtually its original form, with its original tracker action -- that is,
a mechanical connection between the keyboard and the organ pipes. Many
of the older instruments were converted to electric action in the 20th
century. The tracker action is considered superior because of its simplicity
and because it gives the performer a more direct connection with the instrument.
The organ was restored to its original condition by Michael Quimby of
Warrensburg, Mo. over the past 18 years. Surprisingly, this was the first
serious overhaul the organ had ever received. Before the restoration was
completed, it was featured at the 1986 national convention of the Organ
Historical Society, which was held in eastern Iowa.
"The Moline company made fine instruments," Bruch explained.
"They insisted on the finest quality throughout the organ, which makes
their instruments especially good. They designed each instrument as an
individual, with its own characteristics and tailored to the specific church
where it was installed, something not always true of organ builders."
"I believe the organ at St. Mary's is particularly suited to the
French repertoire," she added. "Some other Moline instruments
seem to me to work better with German or English hymns and literature.
But I'll play works from all three countries on my program in order for
the audience to hear the variety of possibilities in this large instrument."
Bruch's program will feature works, principally from the 19th century,
by composers who were associated with outstanding organs and churches during
their careers. They will be: English composer Herbert Howells; German composers
Ernst Friedrich Eduard Richter, Johann Christian Heinrich Rinck and Max
Reger; and French composers Felix-Alexandre Guilmant, Olivier Messiaen
and Cesar Franck.
Bruch has been a member of the UI faculty since 1979, teaching courses
in organ literature, church music and related topics. She has also served
as associate dean for the UI College of Liberal Arts. Her concert activities
take her to many parts of the United States, Canada, Europe and Mexico,
and she is an active member of the American Guild of Organists, Organ Historical
Society and the Hymn Society of America. She is currently contributing
editor of the journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.
She often performs on historic organs and for many years was senior organist
at Zion Lutheran Church in Iowa City, home of the distinguished Stevens/Moore
organ from 1853/1976.
Bruch has performed in Riverside Church in New York City; the Nidaros
Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway; the Church of Magdalen in Tlatelulco and
other locations in Mexico; and at professional conferences of the American
Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society and other professional
Bruch's long-standing interest in historic organs led to UI fellowships
in 1980 and 1982 for study in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, and in
1983 she received a grant from the International Research and Exchanges
Board to study in the German Democratic Republic. Her work with historic
Mexican organs was supported in 1997 by a UI International Travel Grant.
Since then she has returned to Mexico to teach workshops and a course for
the UI on "Historic Organs in Mexican Colonial Culture," and
she continues her study of historic organs in the life and liturgy of village
churches and cathedrals during Spain's rule of present-day Mexico and the