Biography

Gabriel Kney

Born in Germany, Gabriel Kney apprenticed with Master Organ Builder Paul Sattel in Speyer-on-the-Rhine from 1945 to 1951. Along with building new instruments the firm was engaged in the restoration of historic organs, both Romantic and Classic, in southern Germany.  Gabriel’s special field of interest was in researching pipe scaling and voicing techniques used to create the sounds of organs of the 18th and 19th centuries.  During his apprenticeship and as part of his training as organ builder he studied organ and church music at the Institute for Church Music in Speyer.

Gabriel immigrated to Canada in 1951 taking on a position as tonal director for a Canadian organ firm. In 1955 he founded his own company “Gabriel Kney Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd”. The intention was to revitalize the building of mechanical-action pipe organs based on historic tonal concepts and construction techniques.

In his book, The Tracker Organ Revival in America (1978), Uwe Pape wrote:  “Gabriel Kney was the first organ builder who built mechanical organs in the course of the tracker organ revival in Canada. His first organ was built in 1955.”

From 1955 to 2006, Gabriel with his highly skilled and dedicated staff built 129 organs throughout North America and Canada. Examples of his work, instruments both large and small, are shown in the “Gallery” on this site.

Now semi-retired, Gabriel Kney is concentrating on building small quality instruments for residences, chapels, and teaching facilities.  He is active as an independent consultant and artistic advisor for new instruments, and is frequently consulted regarding church acoustics. He has been assisting organist at his parish church and has written Gebrauchsmusik, a collection of short hymn-tune preludes for the organ published by Emalyn Press.

CDs of his organs are:

  • Christ Church, London, Canada, George Black, organist. Music by Buxtehude, J.S. Bach, Sweelinck, Mendelssohn
  • St. Stephens Lutheran Church, Hickory, North Carolina, Robert Adrian Smith, organist.
    Clavierübung III, by J.S. Bach
  • St. Thomas University, St. Paul, Minnesota, Michael Murray, organist.
    “The Young Bach"

For more more information about these CDs click here.

For recordings made on the Gabriel Kney organ at the University of Saint Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota, go to: pipedreams.publicradio.org/gallery/us_midwest/minnesota/saint-paul_st-thomas_kney.shtml