Current Trustees of the IBO

Andrew Scott (Chair)

Having learnt to play the Hammond organ at an early age, it wasn’t until I became a chorister that my interest in the pipe organ began to develop, but it was whilst still at school I decided a career in organ building was what I wanted to pursue. In 1994 I was apprenticed to Harrison & Harrison, where, very early in my apprenticeship I showed a keen interest in tuning and voicing and made a natural move into the voicing room.
 
In 2000, at the age of 22, I succeeded David Chapman as London Tuner. Alongside my tuning responsibilities I maintained an active role in voicing, and in 2012 succeeded Peter Hopps as Head Voicer. I subsequently passed the reigns of the tuning round to Jake Holmes in 2016 to focus my time solely on voicing.
 
I have been an organ builder with H&H for just over a quarter of a century, and was appointed as a director in 2016. In the wider organ building world, for the past four years I have been a board member of the ISO, where I am the only board member who isn’t the owner or Managing Director of a firm.
 
I am passionate about bringing new and young people into organ building and regularly give presentations and talks, maintaining a faint hope that my enthusiasm may ignite a spark in some future budding organ builders. This aspect is something our trade needs to foster and the IBO can play its part in this. Outside of organ building I am involved in church music and currently hold the posts of Director of Music at St Michael and All Angels, Croydon, and Director of the chamber choir, Amici Coro, both of which I have held for the past ten years.
 

Stephen Alliss

My first experience in the trade came whilst I was still at school; one of the music masters was a part time organ builder and I worked with him on Saturdays and during the school holidays. I caught the bug and realised that this was what I wanted to be doing full time. A reed knife was put in my hand as a result of my questioning the accuracy of some tuning work and I never looked back. After years of working as a subcontract tuner on instruments of all types and sizes an advert for a tuning position at H&H caught my attention and I was fortunate to offered employment as the Lake District and Scotland tuner. Eighteen months later I took over the Midlands area which included ten cathedrals as well as Kings College Cambridge.
 
I was made Head Tuner in September 2019. This makes me the first point of contact for queries from my colleagues on other rounds as well as ensuring a fair division of labour between us all. After 40 years in the trade I feel that it is time for me to share my experience and gathered knowledge with the next generation of organ builders so that they can have the same job satisfaction that I have been fortunate to enjoy.

Stephen Bayley

I joined F H Browne and Sons in 1994 as an apprentice and worked on many restorations. To further my career and to have the opportunity to build new mechanical action instruments, in 1999 I joined Mander Organs. Here I worked on many exciting new projects for clients in America and Japan and was also heavily involved with the restoration on the organ at the Royal Albert Hall.
 
I returned to F H Browne and Sons in 2009 as Director and in 2013 I became owner/Managing Director. We have since built new mechanical action organs and gained accreditation in all categories in the IBO register. We have rebuilt many large organs including Battersea Arts Centre, St Nicholas Chiswick and St James’ Sussex Gardens.
 
We built a new organ building workshop in 2019 in my home village of West Stourmouth, (just outside Canterbury where my family have lived for over 6 generations) and have invested in the future of our company and that of British organ building.
Now as Managing Director of Mander Organ Builders, I am committed to insuring the longevity of both companies and to preserving the philosophy and reputation of excellence that we have inherited. I have taken on 3 new apprentices in the past 12 months and I would like to devote my time on the board pursuing the apprenticeship scheme and I’m confident we can finally get this off the ground.

Andrew Caskie

Andrew Caskie is managing director of Nicholson & Co. Ltd, a 180-years-young organ building firm of 22 staff based in Malvern, Worcestershire. I joined the firm in April 2016 as assistant to Andrew Moyes, and succeeded him in March 2018. 
I studied mechanical engineering at university, and am a chartered engineer. Before a career change to organ building, I enjoyed 15 years working mainly in private sector consultancy – apart from four years as a civil servant – on the procurement and management of major construction projects such as schools, hospitals, motorways, and latterly the £2.1bn Queensferry Crossing. I also acted as lenders’ technical adviser to banks, advising on the performance of contractors and project risks.
I have been an organist since the age of 14, my teachers including the late David Sanger, and have held a number of church positions. These including running the music at a church in the centre of Edinburgh for over 12 years, during which time I developed a strong interest in how organs worked, and eventually ran the Scottish equivalent of the diocesan organ advisory system. I’m now part of the choir and team of organists at Great Malvern Priory, and am occasionally persuaded to inflict recitals. It has been a privilege to have served as president of both the Edinburgh and Worcestershire organists’ associations.
I hope that this varied experience can offer some assistance to colleagues in the IBO. We face many challenges – some in tension – to preserve and strengthen our traditional craft skills; to be enlightened modern employers that are attractive places to work, known for investment in their staff; to be effective in robust project procurement procedures; and to make our work safer year-on-year.
The health of any firm depends on the health of our industry. British organ building is already an exemplar in showing that competitors are still colleagues, but there is much that can be done to enhance the way we work together to improve standards and encourage one another, and these are the areas I would hope to assist in if appointed.
 

Gary Cook

I started working with organs in 1994 when at the tender age of 14 I worked with a local organ builder to help clean and install a redundant organ in a local church. From this moment on I was bit by the bug, and contrary to what my parents wanted, I just wanted to work on organs. In 1998 I started a training position with Percy Daniel & Co. It wasn’t long until I was put onto the tuning round, assisting one of the older tuners with both driving and tuning. This soon followed by going onto the bench where I had the opportunity to tackle most areas of organ building. Much of my knowledge has been self-taught, but my time with Daniels was the perfect opportunity to put a lot of theory into practice. I left Daniels and for a period of time I had a few different jobs which included populating printed circuit boards, alarm fitting, kitchen fitting and property maintenance. All of which are useful transferrable skills in organ building. 2010 / 2011 I was given the opportunity to get back into organ building when I worked alongside Stephen Cooke on the organ at Steeple Ashton in Wiltshire. This was the start of Liberty Organs. I have since established a tuning and maintenance customer base, and have also worked on projects from cleanings to restorations and more.  
I also sub-contracted to other organ builders carrying out a variety of tasks from electrical installation through to releathering of bellows and soundboards using materials and skills in a traditional time-honoured fashion. Liberty Organs became Liberty Organs Ltd in 2015 but has generally remained as myself with some assistance on occasion, though ideally the future will hold some more permanent staff.
 

Joost de Boer

I got interested in the organ in 1981 when a redundant 1882 John Nicholson organ was installed in my home town Schagen in the Netherlands. The organist put me in touch with Mrs Neeltje Verloop to learn to play the organ. Her husband Mr Gerard Verloop was then editor and publisher of the Mixtuur, a regularly published magazine about organ building and especially organ history. Gerard was responsible for the saving of numerous historic English organs from being scrapped, by finding them a new home in the Netherlands. My relation with Gerard and Neeltje has been a very important factor in my informative years that helped me, together with the encouragement from my parents, to pursue a career in organ building. I studied four years at the College for Furniture making and Woodworking in Rotterdam to gain the necessary basic skills in woodworking, restoration and draftsmanship. As part of this education I attended three short apprenticeships with amongst others Firma Flentrop and Henk van Eeken. In 1989 I had the fortune to be able to join William Drake Organ builder, after which the real learning process of how to build and restore organs really started. From the start, I have been able to benefit from assisting and witnessing the best flue and reed voicing in action. I was appointed a Director and head-voicer in 2013 during the restoration of the Bridge organ in Christ Church Spitalfields.

Dominic Gwynn

Dominic Gwynn is a director in Martin Goetze and Dominic Gwynn Ltd, organ builders and restorers, a firm of six craftspeople in Welbeck in north Nottinghamshire. This year in April we celebrate 40 years in business, from the time that Martin and I set up a small workshop making small organs for musicians in the Early Music world. Since then the firm has carried out about 135 projects, about one third of them new organs based on historic models including some exact reconstructions, and the rest restorations from clockwork barrel organs to large three manual organs.
 
My main interest is in the revival of the classical British organ. Martin and I have carried out a great deal of archaeological research into historic British organs, some of it available on our website. I have written a number of articles and essays and I hope to present a book on the English organ in early modern society and culture, 1500 to 1770, to publishers this year (about time!). But I am also concerned with parish church music and the organ’s place in it. I am very aware of the fragile supports which help to keep it going, not least the ageing profile of the personnel: singers, organists, tuners, organ builders. I would like to find ways of plugging the gaps, engaging a new generation, encouraging the existing generation and helping to improve its skills, without some of the infrastructure which the industry used to have.
 
I have an idea or two or three…. G&G joined the IBO when it first started in 1996. I was a Board member for four years then. I supported Martin during his period as President, taking a lively if sometimes sceptical interest in some of the programmes for training. This would probably be my last significant contribution to the trade from which I have had such enjoyment and satisfaction. I would hope that I might help to promote one or two of my ideas even if not on the Board, but membership would push me on.

 

Mark Wood

I am a Yorkshire based organ builder. I am the 4th generation organ builder in a long family line spanning some 150 years. I have nearly 50 years of organ building experience. I started out at Wood Wordsworth & Co Ltd., Hanover Avenue, Leeds at the tender age of 14. At that time, I worked during school breaks and learnt to tune and sweep floors. I was trained by the firm’s employees that also included the men from Abbott & Smith who came to work for the company following its incorporation into the company as well as my father and grand-father. Through those years, I gained a vast knowledge of different types of organs that were in our care which has put me in a good position to understand different types of actions
At the age of 18 I went to Northern Ireland for a year’s training with Wells-Kennedy Partnership of Lisburn where I learnt mechanical action design, construction and voicing. On my return, I went back to Wood Wordsworth & Co for a further year until its dissolution. After this time, I worked with my father who set up Peter Wood & son. Following my father’s retirement in 2008 I took over the business where I continued to expand on my father’s success both at home and abroad. I have managed to secure international contracts in Malaysia, Australia, Russia and Japan. 
Over my time I have seen the challenges faced by churches closing and many organs being lost. To this end I am now a keen advocate for the preservation of organs which can be seen through my approach to restoration. I actively encourage my customers to appreciate their instruments that they have and support them on the road to restoration ensuring that they remain involved throughout the process. My experience is vast and broad because of the different environments that I have worked in and the variety of instruments that I have work on both here and abroad. I have experience of the challenges of running a small company yet still producing high quality workmanship. 
 
I am keen to be a member of the board of trustees because I feel that organ building is going to face some challenging times and I feel strongly that we need to support the industry in any way that we can. I am encouraged that the IBO is actively seeking smaller businesses to become involved more as I believe we have a unique experience and have a lot to offer.