Division of Organ and Church Music

European Organ
Study Tour VI

KU European Organ Study Tour VI:
The South of France May 20 - June 2 , 2014

Click for more details.

The Stained Glass Windows

Peter Thompson

Stained Glass, Bales Recital Hall

We decided early in the planning of the recital hall that stained glass would be included if at all possible. However, it was not until after the architect's drawings were complete and the window openings established that it was suggested that I might work on a design for the glass. I found the prospect both exciting and intimidating. Because the construction drawings had to be prepared, structural window frames had be located prior to any extensive designing of the glass. Initially a source of frustration, this essentially backward process resulted in the specific design solution and defined the character of the work.

Establishing the location of the frames was a simple problem of proportional relationship, and early possibilities included some rather whimsical experiments with the Fibonacci Series and the Golden Section. When I shared these early ideas with Jim Higdon, he produced several publications detailing the use of the Golden Section in music composition, most notably by Bartok. This was the connection that I had been missing, and the Gold Section became the genesis of both the specific linear structure and the rhythmic character of the design.

The Artist

Peter Thompson holds a B.F.A. degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and the M.F.A. from Yale University. He is currently professor of art at the University of Kansas. Formerly he has served as dean and associate dean of the School of Fine Arts and chair of the Department of Painting and Sculpture.

Thompson has exhibited art works at the Spencer Museum of Art, the Art and Design Gallery, the SUA Gallery, the Chancellor's Residence, and the Spooner Museum at the University of Kansas. His work has also appeared at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American Art, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in New York, Southwest Missouri State University, the Hays Art Center Gallery, the American Institute of Architects in Kansas City, the Art Studio Gallery in Hunstville, Texas, and the Public Library and Jewish Community Center in Kansas City.

Among the many administrative and service activities which Thompson has pursued throughout his career are the following chair of the Lied Center Planning Committee, member of the Hall Center Executive Committee, the Advisory Council for the Kansas Cultural Trust, the Capitol Dome Sculpture Advisory Committee, the Committee on Art in Public Places, and the Lawrence Arts Center Expansion Committee.

Recently, Thompson served as the chair of the Bales Recital Hall Planning Committee. He designed the stained glass windows for the hall and the case carvings which appear on the organ.