The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 191

Builder Identification

New York City, New York, 1750s.

Additional Notes

  • From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, 1991). -

    Active in New York City, New York, 1756; maker of organs, furniture, soap, and candles.


    • Orpha Ochse, The History of the Organ in the United States (Bloomington: Indiana University Press 1975) 32.
    • John Ogasapian, Organ Building in New York City 1700-1900 (Braintree, MA: The Organ Literature Foundation 1977) 16.

  • From the OHS PC Database Builders Listing Editor, March 7, 2016 -

    There is little in print to tell us of Mr. Ash and his business, but we have this lengthy quotation from a contemporary news paper:

    "On Thursday the 18th instant, will be open'd at the City Hall in the City of New York, a New Organ, made by Gilfert Ash, where will be performed, a Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Musick. In which, among a variety of other selected pieces, will be introduced a song, in praise of musick, particularly of an organ ; and another favourite song, called 'The Sword that's drawn in Virtue's cause, both compos'd by Mr. Handel. An Organ Concerto, compos'd by Sigr. Giovanni Adolfo Hasse. Tickets at five shilling each, to be had at Mr. Cobham's... and at Mr. Ash's, joining Mr. Willet's in Wallstreet; who continues the business of organ building by whom gentlemen and ladies may be furnished with that noble instrument, in a convenient time after it is bespoke." (New York Mercury Dec. 8 1758, as quoted by Oscar Sonneck1)

    From this we learn: 1) the instrument was portable, most likely a chamber organ, taller than an upright piano, but not as wide; 2) The instruments were intended for use in homes and concert settings, not churches; and 3) Mr. Ash's shop was either on Wallstreet, or just off of it adjoining a well known establishment which was on the street.

    1. O.G. Sonneck, Early Concert-life in America (1731-1800) (Leipzig, Breitkopf & Hartel, 1907) p.162.

Database Entries

There is one entry in the database that describes an organ by Gilbert [Gilfert] Ash.

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