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Jan van Covelens (d 1532), who was based in Amsterdam, built, enlarged and repaired organs, creating a new organ type that served as the model for the Northern Netherlands throughout the 16th century and exercised influence in the Southern Netherlands and France. Van Covelens taught Hendrik Niehoff from Brabant, and probably also Claes Willemszoon and the Utrecht organ maker Cornelis Gerritszoon. Niehoff and his assistants built two organs in the Oude Kerk in 1539–45; the larger, later used by Sweelinck, was very modern in its day.

In the 17th and 18th centuries expensive organs were made in a number of churches by first-class builders: Jacobus Galtuszoon van Hagerbeer, Roelof Barentszoon, Johannes Duy(t)schot, Cornelis van Hoornbeeck, Christian Müller and Johannes Stephanus Strumphler. Amsterdam was also an important centre of house organs in the 18th century. In the 17th century, carillons were made by the brothers François and Pieter Hemony. The making of woodwind instruments flourished from about ...


Leonard Burkat

revised by Pamela Fox

Before American independence almost all musical instruments used in Boston had been imported from England and later from the Continent; but by the mid-19th century Boston was exporting instruments to Europe and South America. Collections are owned by the Boston Public Library, the Boston SO, Boston University, Harvard University, the Museum of Fine Arts and the New England Conservatory.

The first organ in New England, probably the second in the Colonies, was installed in the home of Thomas Brattle by 1711, and the first locally built organ was left unfinished by Edward Bromfield. A contemporary report of the period 1810–15 said that only six Boston churches then had organs. Among early organ builders were William Goodrich, the firms of Hayts, Babcock & Appleton and Hook & Hastings, and John Rowe. In 1854 a successful organ business was begun by Henry L. Mason and Emmons Hamlin, with financial backing from Lowell Mason and Oliver Ditson. Its products became well known in Europe, and its profits helped to finance the manufacture of the fine Mason & Hamlin pianos, begun in ...