Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Archive for the ‘Foley-Baker’ Category

The “new” Kotzschmar organ by Foley-Baker

Excerpted from the September 2018 Pro-Motion Music e-newsletter guest Artist Interview with Ray Cornils.

Jeannine: As Municipal Organist you not only played the Kotzschmar Organ, but were instrumental in fundraising and implementing the renovation by Foley-Baker of the organ. What is the organ’s history and its future?

Mr. Cornils: The very hardworking and effective FOKOboard have brought the organ back to full health after the instrument was at the brink of death in the late 1970’s. It has been a decades-long venture. When the board and I were looking at the approaching 100Th anniversary of the organ (in 2012), we held a private symposium (in 2007) which invited several highly-regarded consultants to meet with the board and members of the city to assess the condition of the organ. The auditorium had a couple of revisions and expansions over the past century. In the 1960’s the organ was moved back. During that move, the Austin universal windchest was torqued. Other events over the years made for a situation that the universal windchest was experiencing many wind leaks throughout it. The only way to remedy this situation was to provide a completely new windchest. Since removing the windchests required the removal of the entire instrument, we decided that the best way to proceed as a total renovation of the entire instrument. While this was a $2.5 million project, we believed in the long term, this was the best fiduciary use of our role of caretaker of this great instrument. Due to the strong ties of trust that FOKO and I built with the city over the years, the city council voted unanimously to fund half of the renovation costs through a bond process. I must also mention that the success of capital campaign for this project is due in great part to the extraordinary efforts of the FOKO fundraising committee chaired by Laurence Rubinstein and Peter Plumb.

When, after the wonderful renovation by Foley-Baker, everyone has been blown over by the instrument’s vibrancy and brilliance. Even the most casual listeners in our audience have been amazed at the renewed sounds.

The organ is now ready to serve the next century with renewed vigor. The future is very bright for the instrument, especially under the guidance of James Kennerley, my successor and Portland’s 11th Municipal Organist, who started his work January 1, 2018.

 Jeannine: Thank you, Ray for sharing not only your story, but the fascinating story of the Kotzschmar organ as well.


Dr. Jeannine Jordan, organist and her husband, David Jordan, media artist are the creators and performers of From Sea to Shining Sea, Bach and Sons, and Around the World in 80 Minutes — audience-engaging organ and multimedia concert experiences.

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