Dominic Gwynn obituary


My husband, Dominic Gwynn, who has died aged 70, was an organ-builder whose sensible abilities and pioneering analysis mixed to make a huge effect on organ-building in Britain.

The agency he based in 1980 with Martin Goetze carried out about 130 initiatives, one-third of them new organs based mostly on historic fashions, and the remaining restorations of devices starting from clockwork barrel organs to massive three-manual organs.

These included the restored devices at St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, St James’s, Bermondsey, and St Botolph’s, Aldgate, in London, and of Thaxted parish church in Essex. These and the various different historic devices they labored on have offered musicians with distinctive entry to conventional British organ music.

All through his profession Dominic engaged with fellow builders and with many musicians and musicologists. He mentored apprentices and shared his immense data with generosity, contributing in some ways to the work and improvement of the Institute of British Organ Constructing and the British Institute of Organ Research.

The venture of which Dominic was maybe most proud was the reconstruction of three Tudor organs. The one proof for these had been authentic Sixteenth-century soundboards present in Suffolk and it took his analysis to allow the creation of those devices and to supply a sound not heard for a whole lot of years. From the totally different sized holes within the soundboards, he may calculate the dimensions and size of the unique lacking pipes (and due to this fact the vary and scaling); with tons extra analysis in France and Spain, he may then reconstruct the pipes, the bellows and the motion. Dominic has been described as an acoustic archaeologist.

He was born in London, to Lies (nee Molenaar) and Ken Gwynn, a photographer. Dominic grew up in Ealing and attended Christ’s Hospital faculty, in Horsham, West Sussex, earlier than going to St John’s School, Oxford, to review fashionable historical past. It was there, within the St John’s chapel choir, that he and I met, and singing remained a giant a part of our lives after we married in 1976.

In school Dominic had been on an “organ crawl” within the Netherlands organised by Nick Plumley, considered one of his lecturers, and began to nourish the concept of turning into an organ-builder to convey the sound of classical organs again to the UK, the place it had been misplaced in favour of the larger sound of Victorian organs. After Oxford he was apprenticed to Hendrik ten Bruggencate in Northampton, earlier than establishing Goetze and Gwynn within the city. We lived there for 5 years till he arrange within the Harley workshops at Welbeck, close to Worksop, in Nottinghamshire.

In March, already severely in poor health with most cancers, Dominic was proud to be awarded the Medal of the Royal School of Organists “in recognition of his distinguished achievement in organ-building and scholarship, and for his work on organ heritage within the UK” and to obtain it at a ceremony at Southwark Cathedral.

He’s survived by me, our daughters Pip and Lucy, grandchildren Daisy, Joe and Elizabeth and his sister, Kathryn.


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