The Dobson Organ

The Dobson Organ

During Hilary Term there is no weekly organ recital. Thursday Organ Recitals resume after Easter, in Trinity Term.

During Michaelmas and Trinity Terms, there is a weekly lunchtime recital on the Dobson Organ at 1.15pm each Thursday. Admission is free, and booking is not required. 

The Dobson Organ in Merton College Chapel is one of the finest mechanical action organs in the UK.

Built by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders of Iowa, USA, and installed in 2013, in readiness for the College’s 750th celebrations in 2014, the organ consists of 44 ranks over three manuals. The specification encourages the performance of a wide repertoire, and the organ sounds equally thrilling in music from the baroque era as it does in the great romantic masterworks.

Lunchtime recitals are held every Thursday during Michaelmas and Trinity terms, and are free to attend.

Many of the world's finest organists have given concerts on the Dobson Organ including John Scott (who opened the instrument), James O'Donnell, Paul Jacobs, Thomas Trotter, Martin Baker, Stephen Farr, Thomas Ospital, Simon Johnson, Olivier Latry, Robert Quinney, Margaret Phillips, Sarah Baldock and Katherine Dienes-Williams. During the academic year 2014/2015, Daniel Hyde played the complete works of JS Bach in a series of 21 recitals.

Many of the most significant works in the organ repertoire have been performed on the Dobson Organ, reflecting the organ’s remarkable versatility:

Composer Work Performer
Bach Complete Organ Works Daniel Hyde
Buxtehude Präludium in G minor Stephen Farr
Buxtehude Te Deum Anna Steppler
De Grigny Complete Organ Works Matthew Martin
Dupré Prelude and Fugue in G minor Olivier Latry
Dupré Variations on a Noel John Scott
Duruflé Prelude, Adagio and Choral Varié ‘Veni Creator' James O'Donnell
Elgar Sonata in G Benjamin Nicholas
Franck Choral No.1 Benjamin Nicholas
Franck Choral No.3 John Scott
Liszt Fantasia and Fugue on ‘Ad nos, ad salutarem undam’ Olivier Latry
Messiaen L’Ascension Alexander Pott
Mozart Fantasia in F minor, K.608 Roy Massey
Nielsen Commotio Robert Quinney
Reger Fantasy on the Choral: Straf’ mich nicht in deinem Zorn Thomas Trotter
Reger Fantasy on the Choral: Wachet Auf! Carleton Etherington
Reubke Sonata on the 94th Psalm Simon Johnson
Vierne Symphonie VI Clive Driskill-Smith
Widor Symphonie V Martin Baker
Widor Symphonie VI Daniel Hyde

Details of Benjamin Nicholas’s recordings on the Delphian label can be found on our Recordings page.

The organ was dedicated by the Bishop of Oxford at Choral Evensong on Sunday 27 April 2014. The Preacher at the service was The Revd Canon Peter Moger (1982), Canon Precentor of York Minster.

  • Great - II
    • 16' Bourdon
    • 8' Open Diapason I
    • 8' Open Diapason II
    • 8' Harmonic Flute
    • 8' Chimney Flute
    • 4' Principal
    • 4' Spire Flute
    • 2-2/3' Nazard
    • 2' Fifteenth
    • 2' Recorder
    • 1-3/5' Tierce
    • IV Mixture
    • 8' Trumpet
    • Tremulant
    • Swell to Great
    • Choir to Great
  • Swell - III (enclosed)
    • 8' Open Diapason
    • 8' Lieblich Gedeckt
    • 8' Salicional
    • 8' Voix Celeste (FF)
    • 4' Principal
    • 4' Nason Flute
    • 2' Fifteenth
    • IV Mixture
    • 16' Double Trumpet
    • 8' Trumpet
    • 8' Hautboy
    • 8' Vox Humana
    • 4' Clarion
    • Tremulant
  • Choir - I (enclosed)
    • 8' Geigen Diapason#
    • 8' Geigen Celeste (FF)
    • 8' Gedeckt
    • 4' Gemshorn
    • 4' Open Flute
    • 2' Doublet
    • II Sesquialtera 12.17
    • III Mixture 26.29.33
    • 8' Corno di Bassetto
    • Tremulant
    • 8' Major Trumpet
    • Swell to Choir
  • Pedal
    • 16' Open Diapason
    • 16' Subbass
    • 16' Bourdon (Great)
    • 8' Principal
    • 8' Bass Flute
    • 4' Fifteenth
    • 16' Trombone
    • 8' Trumpet
    • Great to Pedal
    • Swell to Pedal
    • Choir to Pedal
    • Zimbelstern
    • Great & Pedal Pistons Coupled
    • Generals on Swell Toe Pistons
  • Case of American white oak
  • Attached console with drawknobs in vertical jambs
  • Mechanical key action, electric stop action
  • 256 level combination action
Watch a time-lapse video of the installation