J.H. & C.S. Odell, Pipe Organ Builders

More than 150 years building distinctive and refined instruments for worship

Brothers John Henry and Caleb Sherwood Odell founded the organ building firm of J.H. & C.S. Odell on the bustling corner of West 42nd Street and 9th Avenue in New York City in 1859. Odell was immediately successful and built more than 500 pipe organs at that location before relocating to Westchester, New York in the 1930s.   Odell remained active in the Greater New York Metropolitan area well into the 1970s, but after the death of the principal of the firm, William H. Odell in 1979, decided to dissolve the firm after completing obligations to then-current clients.

In the pursuit of a long sought vision, the Odell company was re-established by Caleb Sherwood Odell's  great-great grandson Edward Odell, in 1999 -- this after garnering more than twenty years of organ building experience -- both on his own and with other well-established national firms. With more than three decades of full-time work in the trade, Edward is now a respected and credentialed professional as a Colleague member of the American Institute of Organbuilders.  The new Odell firm has been active in a modern shop in central Connecticut for more than 15 years.

Since re-establishing the firm, Odell has successfully built many exciting new pipe organs, executed meticulous historic restorations and performed vastly complicated repair projects. With our team of carefully recruited artisans, Odell performs all its own millwork, joinery, fabrication, voicing and finishing. Further, unlike many firms today, Odell casts its own pipe metal and makes its own organ pipes.

Timelessness, musicality and an unflinching commitment to quality are our foremost concerns as pipe organ builders. We possess a profound dedication to our work;  clients quickly learn  that when they partner with Odell, they work directly with people who -- given the opportunity  --  will design and construct their instrument from raw materials with passion and exactitude. Our ever-present goal is to develop nuanced solutions and create pipe organs that will serve their congregations with reliability and grace for generations to come.

Bradley Gawthrop has been involved in pipe organs and worship music from childhood. The son of noted composer Daniel E. Gawthrop, Bradley visited his first organ shop (Möller) at the age of eleven and recognized immediately that the craft represented the best possible overlap of his diverse obsessions in engineering, history, electronics, tools, and music.

Despite this early realization, Gawthrop intentionally pursued an eclectic professional life in areas as diverse as printing, graphics design, process management and software development with an eye towards developing as diverse a collection of skills as possible before settling down into his true vocation in organ building.

Once engaged full-time in the trade, Gawthrop again resisted specialization and set out to explore each area of the craft including organ construction, console construction and renovation, electrical specialities, service, and historic restoration before his typographic expertise drew him to developing speciality skills in engraving. Eventually Gawthrop would find himself running the engraving department of one of America's most respected console builders. 

Having put in his Journeyman's years, Gawthrop went independent in 2009, forming Gawthrop Organworks. The firm's speciality was ostensibly historic restoration, but in addition to that it turned out a wide variety of other work, from rebuilds and renovations to the firm's Opus 1, a three manual 32 rank organ in an American Symphonic style, constructed almost entirely in Gawthrop's rural country workshop. In this period Gawthrop also designed and produced a new cutting edge solid state control system, 128-Stage electric expression shade motors, and the Valve and Chamber unit wind chest design utilized in the firm's new construction. 

In the course of collegial rubbernecking, Gawthrop discovered that Odell was pursuing many of the same obsessions as a firm which appeared on his own list. Collaboration on engraving soon spread into case design, and by the time it spread into tonal architecture and construction methodology it became clear that collaborating merely as correspondents was the waste of a good thing.

In 2015 Gawthrop Organworks merged with J.H. & C.S. Odell to become Odell Organs, and Gawthrop and Odell became creative partners. 

Outside of work, Gawthrop lives with his wife Amy (who he believes is significantly out of his league) surrounded by books, hand tools, and many cats, who are utterly unmoved by his technical and dialectical efforts but respond favorably to table scraps and scratches around the ears.