The Johannes Klais Orgelbau company of Bonn, Germany installed the Sanctuary organ in 1977. It supports, inspires and embellishes the performance of liturgy at Saint Peter’s Church. It also ably serves as a major solo recital instrument, in concert with other instruments or in support of choral ensembles.The tonal principles reflect German traditions, so as to authentically present 17th and 18th century German and related organ literature. The presence of French qualities in the tonal scheme lend support to broader literature as well. Allen Hughes of The New York Times, in praising the tonal excellence of the then newly-installed instrument writes: "New York has acquired a significant new organ."
The instrument’s mechanical action is well-regulated, and for ease of registration, includes a modern stop combination system with multiple memory levels.
The Klais organ at Saint Peter’s Church is the first of this company’s instruments open to the public in the United States.
The challenge of fitting the organ into the Sanctuary was mounted by Joseph Shafer, Klais’ designer. Working with Massimo and Lella Vignelli, the interior designers of Saint Peter’s Church, a square case of red oak houses all 43 ranks of pipes, including the functional pipes of the front façade and function pipes of the back façade viewable from the corner of 54th Street and Lexington Avenue. The case measures 18 feet square by just four feet deep, and is elevated ten feet above the floor.
In 2000, Klais oversaw the restoration and revoicing of the organ, including strengthening the Pedal Principal 16’, installing a 599-level computerized combination action system, and adding a Cymbelstern of eight tuned brass bells. The new Cymbelstern is the gift of Robert H. Busch in memory of his parents, Katherine and Harry.
Electro-mechanical stop action
32 stops, 42 ranks, 2,175 pipes
Great 2 1/3"
Swell 2 1/2"