(b Belfast, Aug 12, 1839; d Manchester, Dec 12, 1911). English clarinettist, brass band conductor and teacher. He was the son of a military bandmaster and had a precocious musical talent; by the age of 11 he was appearing as a piccolo soloist with Louis Jullien’s orchestra. He also appears to have been a talented pianist, but it was as a clarinettist that he made his mark as a player. After touring with a number of theatre bands he became leader of the Harrogate Spa Band, and in 1861 he joined the Hallé Orchestra in which he remained for most of his playing career. In the 1850s he started to conduct brass bands, and he went on to have influential associations with the most successful Victorian bands, particularly the Meltham Mills Band. At the time of his death Gladney was widely referred to as the father of the brass band movement. With two other successful Victorian band conductors, Edwin Swift and Alexander Owen, he shaped the format and idiom of the British brass band. The standard instrumentation comes from their preferred combination of forces (...
Robert E. Eliason
(b Lyme, NH, May 16, 1822; d Boston, Feb 11, 1900). American bandleader, bugle player and brass instrument manufacturer. He was an accomplished keyed bugle player and led several bands, first in Hartford, Connecticut (1844–5), then in New Haven (1845–6). Shortly after he became director and E♭ bugle soloist with the Lowell, Massachusetts, brass band. He was presented with an extremely fine E♭ keyed bugle of solid gold on 15 April 1850 by the members of the Lowell band. In 1856 Hall succeeded Patrick S. Gilmore as leader of the Boston Brass Band, a position he retained for many years.
In 1862, after a year of partnership with J. Lathrop Allen, a leading Boston instrument maker, Hall began his own brass instrument manufactory and importing business. He was joined by Benjamin F. Quinby, and from 1866 to 1875 Hall & Quinby were leading producers and importers of brass instruments in Boston. Their instruments were made in circular and over-shoulder forms as well as in the shapes common today, and they were usually equipped with Allen valves. Although most of Hall & Quinby’s instruments were pitched alternately in E♭ and B♭ like saxhorns, they also made brass instruments pitched a 3rd apart, like those in the ...
Klaus Wolfgang Niemöller
(b Bamberg, Nov 8, 1718; d Karlsruhe, Oct 24, 1809). German composer, conductor and glass harmonica maker. He received his musical education from the organ builder J.P. Seuffert in Würzburg and was a musician at the Rastatt court from about 1745 until its dissolution in 1771. There he was Konzertmeister in 1762 (leading the orchestra from the harpsichord) and Kapellmeister from 1765. In 1772 he became Konzertmeister at the Karlsruhe court, but in 1775 he went to Cologne as Kapellmeister at the cathedral and director of public concerts. Although his stay was brief, he had a lasting influence on Cologne’s musical life through his sacred compositions (in particular his mass for Epiphany, 1776, published in 1781) and through his introduction of modern orchestral methods in the style of Mannheim. In 1777 he accepted an invitation to return to Karlsruhe as Kapellmeister, and was also active there as a teacher and maker of glass harmonicas, whose range he extended from two octaves to four (...
(b Strelna, Russia, 1848; d Tallinn, Estonia, 1925). Russian baron, military officer, musician, and instrument collector. From 1882 he led the St Petersburg court vocal and instrumental ensemble, which used some violins and flutes that had belonged to Alexander I (whose ancestor Peter III had acquired more than 60 valuable instruments). From 1897 Shtakelberg directed the court’s professional orchestra. In 1899 he joined a commission to examine the status of the imperial theatres. With the support of Alexander III, a serious amateur musician, Shtakelberg initiated in 1902 a museum of music that was to have five divisions: a comprehensive collection of instruments of all peoples from antiquity to the present; a centre for instrument design and construction, intended to encourage Russian manufacture; an acoustical laboratory for the exploration and explanation of musical sound; a musicological research library, with a section on the history of music printing; and an archive of music manuscripts, iconography, and memorabilia. The museum was to be complemented with concerts, using instruments from the collection or copies. The project was not completed, but through extensive correspondence and exchanges with other European and American collectors, donations from Russian nobles—the empress Maria Feodorovna herself donated a group of richly decorated Persian instruments—and his own travels, Shtakelberg built an impressive assemblage of historical and exotic instruments that formed the nucleus of the present collection of the St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music....
Wolfgang Maria Hoffmann
(Alcantara) [Josef Anton]
(b Häselgehr, July 18, 1810; d Salzburg, Jan 25, 1882). Austrian composer, music theorist, organist, choirmaster and instrument maker. He was musically mainly self-taught; at the age or 9 he learnt to play the piano and organ, as well as the violin, harp, flute, clarinet and horn. When he was 11 he took lessons in harmony and basso continuo from P. Mauritius Gasteiger in Reutte. He attended the Gymnasium in Hall (1824–30), and took some organ and piano lessons from the organist Ignaz Heinz. He entered the Franciscan monastery of Salzburg in 1830 under the name of Peter von Alcantara, and was ordained in 1834. From 1837 to 1840 he was organist and choirmaster in Bolzano and Innsbruck, and he spent the rest of his life in the Franciscan monastery in Salzburg.
Singer became famous for the building of his ‘Pansymphonikon’ in 1845; this was a keyboard instrument with sets of reeds, two manuals and 42 registers which imitated an entire orchestra. He wrote contemplative works, a treatise on choral singing entitled ...
Robert E. Eliason
(b West Swanzey, NH, Sept 14, 1832; d Brooklyn, NY, Oct 23, 1912). American manufacturer and importer of musical instruments and bandleader . Both John Stratton and George William Stratton, his brother, older by two years, were precocious young musicians. Both boys studied music avidly, George learning the clarinet and violin and John the trombone, E♭ keyed bugle and cornet. For three years beginning in 1839 the boys and their father travelled around New England giving concerts.
John began his career as a bandleader in Worcester, Massachusetts. He then went to Hartford, Connecticut, where he directed the Hartford Cornet Band and opened his first music store. In 1857 or 1858 he moved to New York, where he established a brass instrument factory and led Stratton's Palace Garden Orchestra. His brother ran a music store in Boston. John's business prospered during the Civil War years and as soon as the war was over he began establishing factories in Germany to supply his own New York store and his brother's in Boston. After founding brass instrument factories at Markneukirchen in ...