about the iohio
stopl3 festivals
stopl2 conservation
stopl5 publications
stopl6 recordings



The book is for sale at:

 Amate Books, M. Alcala 307

Carteles Editores, Colón 605

  Proveedora Escolar,

  Independencia 1001




One of Oaxaca’s lesser-known cultural treasures is its extraordinary collection of baroque pipe organs. Seventy-two organs built between 1686 and 1891 remain today as evidence of a glorious musical past when Oaxaca was the third most important center of music in New Spain, after Mexico City and Puebla. The Oaxacan organs preserve elements of Iberian baroque organ design at the same time that they developed idiosyncratic features (click to read more). Beginning in the 1990s, a growing awareness and appreciation of these marvelous instruments has led to conservation and restoration projects, as well as increasing use of the organs in masses and church celebrations, concerts, and festivals throughout the state.

Although many hundreds of organs have existed in Oaxaca since 1544 (the earliest archival reference to an organ), over the course of time most of them have been lost due to normal deterioration, natural disasters, neglect, and/or willful destruction. Ten organs have been restored, reconstructed, or repaired and are now playable, while the remaining sixty-two instruments exist in varying states of conservation. Some are represented only by an empty exterior case or some interior parts, while others are completely intact and may be restored someday.

But despite their condition, the relatively small sample of seventy-two organs is enough to reveal a fascinating panorama of construction techniques and musical characteristics spanning over two hundred years. Furthermore, it is almost certain that there are still more organs in Oaxacan villages waiting to be discovered, and it is urgent to register them before they disappear.




Founded in 2000 with the support of the Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation, el Instituto de Órganos Históricos de Oaxaca or Institute of Oaxacan Historic Organs (IOHIO, pronounced YOYO) strives to raise awareness about the organs by means of the following activities:

  • Assure that the restored instruments are played and maintained and that the unrestored instruments are protected, conserved, and documented
  • Offer musical and technical training at the local level.
  • Promote the organs through concerts, festivals, publications, conferences and recordings 
  • Increase knowledge about the organs through archive and community research



The IOHIO is committed to protect, conserve, document, and promote the historic pipe organs in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico; to raise consciousness about their importance as part of the national and international cultural heritage; and to reintegrate the restored instruments into the present-day life of their communities.




We believe that the historic pipe organs merit respect and support. These multifaceted instruments still delight us with their rich sound, their elegant appearance, and their fine mechanism. In addition, they represent a link to the history of their communities and remind us of the commitment of the ancestors of present-day Oaxacans who financed their construction.



stopr7 history
stopr1 featured organs
stopr2 organ list
stopr3 organ map
stopr5 how organs work
stopr6 glossary

iohio about the iohio donations restoration