A landmark organ was installed in the Cathedral in 2003 by Pasi Organ builders of Roy, Washington. At the time of its installation, it was one of only four "dual-temperament" organs in the world. he concept developed out of conversations between organ builder Martin Pasi and music director Kevin Vogt.
The organ is comprised of fifty-five stops over three manuals and pedal, twenty-nine of which are playable in two temperaments or tuning systems: 1/4-comma meantone and a new well-tempered tuning devised for this instrument by organ builder Kristian Wegscheider of Dresden, Germany. The Saint Cecilia organ is essentially two organs sharing a third of their pipes, and is unique in this respect. The abundance of extra pipes allows the circulating temperament to accommodate much of the Romantic and modern repertories, while retaining enough key color to bring baroque music alive and to lock into tune the mixtures and reeds in the best keys.
The million-dollar, five-year project included a month of study in Germany of innovative contemporary and historic instruments, and 35,000 hours of labor. With pipes made of lead and poplar, the freestanding case is of white oak and incorporates pillars, arches and ornaments from the original 1918 organ facade designed by Cathedral architect Kimball. The large, resonant nave of the Cathedral brings the organ into its full glory. It literally sings with seven seconds reverberation when empty and four seconds when full. The creation of a hospitable acoustic for the organ was guided by acoustician Robert Mahoney of Boulder, Colorado.
~The Beauty of Thy House, 2005
We remember the installation of the Pasi Organ
On a wintry February morning a large semi pulled up in front of the Cathedral. Anxiously awaiting its arrival stood Schola Cantorum director, Kevin Vogt and a small army of students and volunteers, all recruited to unload the various parts of the new Cathedral organ. Two years in the making by renowned builder, Martin Pasi, the pieces ranged in size from that of a pencil to a pipe 32 feet in length. Placed carefully over the pews and stacked in the Nash chapel, the components would be assembled over the next several months. Tuning and voicing followed. The instrument was dedicated in the fall of that year with great acclaim. Visitors from around the world continue to come to Omaha to experience this amazing work of art dedicated to the glory of God, the honor of Saint Cecilia, and the sanctification of humanity.
~Built as Living Stones, 2007