The pipe organ in St. Mark’s Cathedral is a treat for the ears, and eyes as well. Dedicated in 1965, and built by the Dirk Flentrop Orgelbouw of the Netherlands, it remains a “landmark instrument” for the international music community.
Aside from its sheer size, the organ is notable for its versatility. The organist and concert master who chose the design broke with Anglican tradition, and selected an instrument designed primarily for playing Bach (although it retains the gentle voicing called for by Anglican anthems.) A full complement of reeds and warm foundations make it equally suitable for the Romantic repertoire. The inaugural recital was played by E. Power Biggs.
A renovation in 1992, and repairs following earthquake damage in 1995, provided the opportunity to install three new reeds and a modern keyboard action, and improve the overall stability of the organ.
Today the Flentrop is much in demand in Seattle’s music scene; beyond its duties accompanying the congregation’s worship, it is used for a recital series by guest organists, and has been featured in such notable concerts as the presentation of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in 2008. Its success has influenced organ building throughout the United States.