~ The Artisans ~

A. David Moore established his firm in 1973 after a three year apprenticeship with the distinguished American organ builder, C. B. Fisk. He lives and has his workshop on the large rural Vermont farm where he grew up. Here, with his associates, he designs and builds historically informed mechanical action organs. This unique builder has traveled extensively and studied some of the finest old (and some new) organs of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and England. He has a working knowledge of the treatises of Cliquot and Dom Bédos. Living and working in New England, he has acquired a knowledge, both intimate and scholarly, of the 18th and 19th century New England builders. His association with the likes of John Fesperman, Barbara Owen, Fenner Douglass, John and Mark Brombaugh, Kevin Birch and many organ building firms, has contributed to his understanding of the organ and its music. (Indeed, David himself is a quite respectable organist.)

Tom Bowen began work at the shop in 1988. He worked with Marylou Davis on the wood grained painted case for Old North Church in Boston. He serves as shop foreman and oversees the design and assembly of casework, windchests, wooden pipes and key and stop actions. He does most of the organ design work with CAD computer software. Tom designed the neoprene slider seals that the firm uses on new organs and on restoration work. Reed block molds, to match Hook reed blocks, were recently milled by Tom.

John Atwood, a botanist, worked at the Fisk shop in the 70's where he learned organbuilding. He worked at the Moore shop in the 70's, left for botanical work, and has since returned to work, with David and Tom, building wood pipes, doing restoration work and general organbuilding. John is a church organist, and does organ tuning and voicing at the shop.

~ Our Philosophy ~

Our style of organbuilding incorporates many ideas from early New England organ building practices. These include extensive use of wood pipes, for pedal stops and for 8' and 4' stops in the manuals of an organ. Wood pipes we use often have an "English style" mouth. This means the windway for the pipe is cut into the cap of the pipe and the cap is slightly lower than the block of the pipe. These sets of pipes have a clear bright full sound, use moderate nicking and can have low mouth heights resulting in a quintadena sound or higher mouth heights giving a full bourdon sound.

The metal pipe work we build today is closest to Hook organ pipework from mid 1850's. Hook made fine quality pipework at this time with open windways, toehole regulation and light nicking. The later styles of Hook organ pipework used heavier nicking and often slotted tuning scrolls, giving the pipes a quite different sound from the 1850 pipework.

In order to acheive a full sounding "Diapason" sound, we use pipework of fairly large scales, low mouth heights, wide windways, nicking and regulation at the toehole to deliver varying windpressures to the insides of the pipe feet to facilitate this gentle unforced pipe speech characteristic.

For stoplists of new organs, we choose a carefull balance of 16',8' and 4' stops with just the right selection of "upperwork" such as 2 2/3', 2', 1 3/5' and mixtures. This approach insures that higher pitched stops will not overpower a given acoustical space and will be supported adequately with a full bass sound. Reed stops are based on some german scales, for 16' Possaune in pedal divisions. We do a wood version of a 16' pedal reed that is very successful. Manual reed stops are often based on Hook reeds.

Our key actions use wooden trackers with wood or copper wire ends. This type of action is used by many of the best modern organbuilders today. Wood trackers are traditional for organbuilding but they are also quiet, don't sag for horizontal runs and do not corrode like aluminum trackers do. Keyboards are most often the suspended type, meaning the keys are hinged at the back.

Our windchests are made of wood and use wooden quarter-sawn sliders. We use a neoprene slider seal that takes up very little space and insures the sliders will not leak in wet or dry seasons. These slider seals are also used in the restoration work we do.

Organ cases are made of solid wood, often quarter-sawn. Plywood is rarely used in a Moore organ. Front pipes and all metal pipework is made of an alloy of lead, tin and small amounts of antimony, bismuth and copper. Front pipes for organs, if metal, are usually hammered and have a pewter look to them.

We encourage clients to visit our shop to see these design principles applied in practice.


David Moore, wresting the materials for the Grace Episcopal Church organ from the earth, to transform it to an instrument of the highest order of sophistication. (Shown completed here).
Photo Taken By: Jo Tartt.