"The greatest organs ever made are still being designed - and they're not pipe organs." - David Ogletree
David Ogletree & Douglas Marshall at the
Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL
Marshall & Ogletree, LLC was founded in 2002 by two concert organists. Our company, based in the Boston, MA area, has been honored to receive commissions to build high-profile instruments for some of the most discerning clients in the world, customers who were in a position to choose any organ they wanted - and they chose Marshall & Ogletree.
Douglas Marshall and David Ogletree have been friends for 37 years and business partners for 27 years. They grew up 15 years apart in the same home town of Westwood, MA. Marshall, the son of a Boston Symphony violinist, was a prodigy boy soprano, pianist
and organist. During high school, he began a 9 year period of study with the famed organ virtuoso Virgil Fox, leading to his taking First Prize in the National AGO Playing Competition in 1972; Ogletree, the son of an MIT engineer, began music studies on the organ at age 12. He received full-paid scholarships to both the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (BMus '85) and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (Graduate Diploma '87), where he studied with acclaimed organist John Weaver. Both men actively concertize in New England and the Northeast region of the United States.
Marshall and Ogletree share a lifelong fascination with computer technology and high-fidelity audio (Marshall more from the recording side, Ogletree more from the playback side). They met by chance in a hi-fi store in 1982, and have joined forces ever since. They spent their early business careers together in the production digital organ business, which led them first to frustration and ultimately to innovation. They became convinced that, without limitations of cost or space, a digital organ could be constructed which could exceed the musical qualities of the greatest pipe organs in the world. This bold concept has been at the core of the company’s mission from the beginning.
Each Marshall & Ogletree organ is uniquely imagined, designed and crafted to fulfill the wishes and requirements of its commissioning patron. Our consoles are built using the finest hardwoods and components which can be specified, regardless of cost or the time required to obtain them. Hand-carved wood panels, long-shank English keyboards with thick-cut ivory and African ebony coverings, solid mahogany console wood interiors filled and finished in our distinctive ‘French Polish’ – just a few of the luxury-quality features which separate Marshall & Ogletree consoles from those of even exquisite pipe organ manufacturers, let alone every digital organ manufacturer. People have told us that merely sitting at a Marshall & Ogletree console can be, in and of itself, a gratifying experience.
Yet, the primary basis for any acclaim we might enjoy is the sound and musical response of the M&O organ. Through careful (perhaps even obsessive) processes developed and fervently guarded by the company’s principals, the sound of each Marshall & Ogletree Opus Organ takes shape gradually - built up stop-by-stop, chorus by chorus, division by division. This painstaking process often takes weeks to complete, and is only undertaken after the instrument is installed in its final location. With regard to musical response, we've combined our two lifetimes of high level playing experience with complex behavioral computer modeling to make the M&O organ feel "unsettlingly real" to play. In the words of organ virtuoso Cameron Carpenter, "It feels like you wish most pipe organs could feel." In the end, the system we've developed allows us to make reliably excellent artistic installations, making a Marshall & Ogletree organ about the safest investment one can make in a bespoke organ for a concert hall, church or residence.
One of the great joys of our work is having the opportunity to collaborate in a true spirit of partnership with each of our clients. We regularly create brand-new operational or musical features, include sound samples obtained from an owner's cherished previous instrument, implement visual designs which pay homage to the architecture of the owner's space, and specially craft stops named to commemorate an important person or event. In fact, every Marshall & Ogletree Opus Organ has attributes, characteristics and sounds which make it unique in all the world, including among our other works.
If you’re considering commissioning a new organ and your musical aspirations and expectations are high, please do be in touch! We would be honored to build something extraordinary, something enduring, and something inspirational, just for you.