Information About the Organ

John Brombaugh and his Associates from Eugene, Oregon began construction in January 1985 and finished May 1986. Tonal finishing was completed April 1987before the organ's dedication April 1987.

Brombaugh Organ


Histroy of the Iowa State Organs and Harpsichords can be viewd here.


Reminiscent of the organs made by the most important North German
organ builder of  the Baroque era, Arp Schnitger (1648-1719)


34 stops; 50 ranks; 2,326 pipes


  • Main case: Appalachian white oak (fumed with ammonia, then oiled)
  • Lower Case and Keydesk: Ebony, beech, zebra-wood, maple, Brazilian rosewood
  • Manuals: Naturals are Sitka spruce with cow shin bone coverings; sharps are of ebony
  • Pipeshades & Brustwerk Doors: make use of American walnut carved to resemble shafts of wheat, painted and gilded with 23 karat gold leaf
  • Slider wind chests: white oak, western red cedar and sugar pine
  • Wood pipes: white oak, Alaskan yellow cedar and alder
  • Metal pipes: hammered sheets of tin/lead alloy; the majority of pipes are 98%lead to produce a vocal quality; a few sets use 86% tin to give a silvery quality; another group uses 23% tin.


Unequal developed by the organ builder 

Wind Supply

Wind pressure of 73 mm (2 7/8") is supplied by a blower and wedge bellows located in the basement.

Keyboard  Compasses

  • Manuals: C-g''', 56 notes
  • Pedals: C-f, 30 notes

Key & Stop Action Mechanical Organs at Iowa State University Listed by Builder

  • John Brombaugh, 34 stops, 1987 
  • Lynn Dobson, 15 stops, 1982 
  • Lynn Dobson, 3 stops, 1980 
  • Helmut Wolff, 7 stops, 1975

Degree Options in Organ Study 

  • Bachelor of Music
    • Performance
    • Education
    • Composition
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music
  • Minor in Music
  • Audition Information:
    • Application Deadline: Rolling Admisisons
    • Repertoire: Bach works, Romantic works, and 20th and/or 21st Century works.
    • Piano Audition: N/A
    • Additional Skill Demonstration: SATB hymn sight-reading
    • Additional materals required at auition: Musical experiences with keyboard instruments, other instruments, and/or singing (as a soloist or in a ensemble).

Please contact Dr. Miriam Zach with any organ related questions at

Recordings with the Brombaugh Organ are available by contacting the Iowa State University Music Office 149, telephone (515) 294-3831.

Recitals of guest artists, faculty, and students are held throughout the year. The annual Organists of Iowa series is supported by the Sukup family of Sheffield, Iowa.

Brombaugh Organ, op. 29 layout

Dr. Miriam Zach, Ph.D., Charles and Mary Sukup Endowed Artist in Organ and
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music

Miriam Zach with Brombaugh Organ
Dr. Miriam Zach, Ph.D. ( is musicologist, organist, harpsichordist, pianist, author, and professor. She is honored to be the inaugural Charles and Mary Sukup Endowed Artist in Organ in the Department of Music and Theatre teaching organ, harpsichord, music history, and interdisciplinary honors courses at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa (USA). After completing degrees from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (USA) and the University of Chicago (USA) she lived in Europe for five years studying organ with Jobst Hermann Koch in Lemgo (Germany) and in Paris (France), and teaching music at the Universität Bielefeld (Germany) and in Rome (Italy). Currently she is serving as Dean of the Central Iowa American Guild of Organists, Director of Music/Organist at
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Founding Director of 25 annual international festivals of women composers (, enjoys teaching, researching, and playing Baroque chamber music as a member of the Alachua Consort. From 1996-2016 at the University of Florida she taught interdisciplinary Honors Music and Health, undergraduate and graduate Music History, organ, and harpsichord, and was Professor of the Year 2000-01. Her many publications include the book For the Birds: Women Composers Music History Speller (2006, 2015), co-edited book Resonance: Essays on the Intersection of Music and Architecture (2007), and CD Hidden Treasures: 300 Years of Organ Music by Women Composers (1998) recorded with the Mander organ in Princeton University Chapel. She can be heard on Pipedreams National Public Radio (2007, 2010, 2013, 2020), and the Organ Historical Society “Kaleidoscope of Colors”: A Festival of Pipes (August 2021) recorded with the Brombaugh organ at Iowa State University.



If you would like to support organ activities at Iowa State University, please contact the ISU Foundation at or at 2505 University Blvd., Ames, IA 50011 and designate your gift for the Organ Performance Fund (1913122) Your generosity and support is greatly appreciated.



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Organ Informational Video