Gabriel Kney

Gabriel Kney. Pipe organ builder, b Speyer, Germany, 21 Nov 1929. He started his apprenticeship in his hometown with Paul Sattel, then spent four years as assistant to Franz Nagel while studying church music at the Bischöfl Institute.

Kney, Gabriel

Gabriel Kney. Pipe organ builder, b Speyer, Germany, 21 Nov 1929. He started his apprenticeship in his hometown with Paul Sattel, then spent four years as assistant to Franz Nagel while studying church music at the Bischöfl Institute. Kney moved to London, Ont, in 1951, to work as a builder and voicer for the Keates-Geissler Organ Co. In 1955, still in London, he co-founded the Kney and Bright Organ Co, with John Bright, to build tracker-action instruments. Their 'Opus 1,' a five-stop positive organ, spearhead of the tracker revival in Canada, was reviewed favourably in J.E. Blanton's The Organ in Church Design (Albany, Texas 1967) but found no purchaser. Opus 2 to Opus 31 were built with electro-pneumatic action, but Opus 32 and subsequent instruments had tracker actions. The company installed organs in Toronto and Brantford churches and, in the early 1960s, rebuilt those in London's Aeolian Halland Toronto's St Michael's Cathedral. Kney founded Gabriel Kney and Co in 1967 in London, Ont. Orders began flowing in, mainly from the Great Lakes region, and by 1990 Kney had built, with his seven employees, over 110 organs, the best examples of which can be found in Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, and St Thomas College in St Paul, Minn.


Further Reading

  • Bouchard, Antoine. 'Evolution of organ building in Canada, between 1960 and 1975,' Organ Yearbook, vol 9, 1978

    Harris, John. 'Two masters of a flourishing art,' Music, vol 7, Sep-Oct 1984