Scott Dettra: Solo Organ Recital

Hauptwerk Virtual Pipe Organ at Groton Hill

Sunday, October 15, 2023 at 3:00pm

The Concert Hall at Groton Hill


Played on the Walcker Organ at Martinikerk in Doesburg, Netherlands

Overture from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
transcribed by Edwin Lemare

Played on the Sonnenorgel at St. Peter and Paul in Görlitz, Germany

Passacaglia in C Minor, BWV 582
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)

Fantasia in F Minor, KV 608
W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)


Played on the Cavaillé-Coll at St. Etienne Abbey in Caen, France

Choral No. 3 in A Minor
César Franck (1822-1890)

Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d’Alain, op. 7
Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)

Some Notes on Groton Hill’s Virtual Pipe Organ (by Randy Steere)

Groton Hill Music Center is now home to one of the largest Hauptwerk installations in the world. Built by Meta Organworks of upstate New York, this instrument is not an “electronic” or “digital” organ, but rather a “Virtual Pipe Organ” driven by the Hauptwerk software. Hauptwerk is the German term for the “great,” or primary keyboard of an organ.

While an electronic instrument derives sounds artificially or electronically, a Virtual Pipe Organ allows one to purchase specific instruments or “sample sets.” Each sample set contains thousands of audio samples or .WAV (wave) files, all of which came from that specific instrument. Each of those samples is typically taken in stereo from 3 different locations within the original room housing the organ in order to capture the ambiance and audio characteristics of each sound.

When the organ is played, the software grabs all of the samples for each note being played, processes them and sends them out to the speakers in real time! This “polyphony” can be as many as 5,000 – 6,000 samples at the same time – a truly impressive feat of technology creating the realism of reproducing the actual pipe organ sound.

When an organist goes to play a program, the first decision is which sample set to load. Groton Hill has about 15 different sample sets or organs to choose from, representing the wide range of organ building styles through the years from various geographic areas. 

Specific statistics on Groton Hill’s organ:

  • 32 main speakers
  • 12 additional subwoofers for various deep sounds
  • In total, there are 49,600 watts of speaker power
  • The computer running the organ has:

    128 GB of RAM memory
    4 TB of disk space
    8 processor cores running Windows
    2 touch screen monitors that take on the characteristics of the specific sample that is loaded

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Organist Scott Dettra

Scott Dettra is acclaimed as one of America’s outstanding concert organ virtuosos. Hailed as a “brilliant organist” (Dallas Morning News), and an “outstanding musician” (The Diapason), his playing is known for its clarity, rhythmic intensity, and musical elegance, and has been described by The American Organist as “music making of absolute authority and sophisticated expression.” He serves as Organist of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, teaches on the organ faculty of Southern Methodist University, and is organist for The Crossing, the multi-Grammy-winning professional chamber choir based in Philadelphia.

Throughout 2022, Mr. Dettra undertook a celebrated national tour of the complete organ works of César Franck in commemoration of the composer’s bicentenary. Recent and upcoming performances include appearances in New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Kansas City. Festival appearances include the Lincoln Center Festival, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Arizona Bach Festival, the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. He has been a featured performer at national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Organ Historical Society, and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator for master classes, workshops, and competitions.

Mr. Dettra is featured on many recordings, including The Anglo-American Classic Organ, Majestus, and Tongues of Fire. Additional recordings may be found on the Gothic, Innova, Lyrichord, Pro Organo, and Linn labels. In addition to commercial recordings, his performances have been broadcast numerous times on such radio programs as American Public Media’s Pipedreams and Performance Today, the BBC’s Choral Evensong, and The New York Philharmonic This Week. He holds two degrees from Westminster Choir College, where he was a student of Joan Lippincott, and has studied organ and jazz piano at Manhattan School of Music.

Groton Hill Music Center is a special place – a world-class center designed for music and community. We offer the highest quality music education – with private lessons, classes, ensembles, and supplemental learning programs for all ages and abilities; world-class professional performances of all genres — from jazz, global roots, and folk to classical masterworks and chamber music; and impactful outreach programs that share the transformative power of music throughout the community. Groton Hill was founded in 1985 as a community resource for all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. For 38 years, we’ve been a leader in music education and performance. We’re proud to usher in a new era of artistic diversity in New England and beyond. Learn more at www.grotonhill.org.