Karl Nelson Orgelbyggeri AB
Lidköping’s organbuilding tradition began in 1892, when Carl Alfred Härngren founded his business. He had recently left the firm of Salomon Molander in Göteborg and - as did Molander - continued in a rather conservative style of organbuilding, faithfully adhering to mechanical actions and richly voiced romantic dispositions.
In 1912 leadership of the company passed to the partnership of Nordfors, Karlén and C-G Smedman, and the firm assumed the name H Nordfors & Co. The style of the time precipitated a shift to pneumatic actions and a stricter, overtone deficient romantic voicing. Many of these organs are still in use in the smaller churches around Skaraborg.
In 1952 Orvar Smedman – son to C-G Smedman – became the sole owner of the firm, and eventually the company name was changed to Smedmans Orgelbyggeri AB. According to the spirit of the neo-baroque revival, the firm returned to mechanical actions and more classical dispositions.
In 1998 Karl Nelson assumed leadership of the company, which is now known as Karl Nelson Orgelbyggeri AB.

Karl Nelson was born in St. Peter Minnesota (USA), and is educated at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, St. Olaf College in Minnesota and Portland State University in Oregon, having studied Political Science, Russian and Music. During his time in Portland, he helped with the installation of the 55-stop organ at Trinity Episcopal Church, built by Manuel Rosales of Los Angeles. This experience inspired Karl to continue organbuilding, in the traditional role of apprentice for John Brombaugh of Eugene, Oregon. During his time with Brombaugh, he assisted with installations in Greenville, Delaware; Victoria, British Columbia; Tempe, Arizona; Appleton, Wisconsin; and Gothenburg, Sweden.

During the installation of Brombaugh’s Opus 28 in Gothenburg in 1991, Karl met his soon-to-be wife Karin, organist at the Haga Church in Gothenburg. With the exception of one year spent in Eugene, Karl and his family have lived in Sweden since 1992. During this time Karl has had a smaller business dealing with organ maintenance. The most significant work from this time included the installation of a combination system in Bethlehem Church and restoration of the Marcussen organ from 1855 in the Synagogue, both in Gothenburg, and the voicing of the German style reeds in a new organ in Diersbach, Austria.

Although our first organs are strongly associated with the spirit of the baroque, it has not our intention to blindly follow any particular style. We would prefer to avoid all attempts to categorize our work. One can find wonderful examples of organs from many times and traditions. Our ambition with our new instruments is to strive to include those elements common to the finest pipe organs of all periods and styles in a unique musical combination suitable for a particular congregation. But our highest priority is ever that the pipe organ serve as a witness to the timeless message of the church.

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