Joseph C. Casavant Sr. View Extant Instruments View Instruments


Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada, 1840-1866.
Classification: Builder

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June 25, 2016:

From OHS Database Builders editor, Stephen Hall, June 25, 2016. -

Joseph Casavant (born January 23, 1807, died March 9, 1874), was the first prominent Canadian-born organ builder. Casavant was a blacksmith who decided to study Latin at Father Charles-Joseph Ducharme's college in Ste-Thérèse-de-Blainville. While there, he was intrigued by an unfinished organ imported from France. Abandoning his original course of study, he focused on completing the organ, which he managed to do by using L'Art du facteur d'orgues (Paris 1766-78), the classic treatise by Dom François Bédos de Celles.

Word of his accomplishment spread, and the authorities at Saint-Martin-de-Laval ordered an organ from him. At this point, Casavant dedicated himself to his new trade, continuing to build organs until he retired in 1866, having completed 17 new organs. He turned the shop over to his former apprentice, Eusèbe Brodeur. It was Brodeur who would give initial instruction in organ building to the Joseph Casavant's two sons before they embarked on their long study of continental organs in Europe. The two brothers would establish the firm that still bears their name.


  • Antoine Bouchard, "Casavant Frères" in The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada, article published January 17, 2007, last edited March 4, 2015,

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on February 11, 2019.

October 30, 2004:

From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders, by David H. Fox (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1991, rev. ed., 1997, with added source). -

Father of Joseph-Claver Jr. and Samuel-Marie Casavant; organbuilder in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada, 1840-1866; succeeded by Eusèbe Brodeur.


  • Jeanne D-Aigle, L'histoire de Casavant Frères, 1880-1980 (Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada: Les Editions D-Aigle, 1988), 17.
  • Kallmann et al., "Joseph C. Casavant Sr." Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981), 711.
  • Twenty-Seventh Annual National Convention of the Organ Historical Society, Inc.: Pacific Northwest, 21-25 June 1982: Headquarters at Seattle Pacific University (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1982) 14.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on February 11, 2019.

Database Specs:

  • 2 Organs
  • 0 Divisions
  • 0 Consoles

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