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Christopher Brodersen

(b Bethlehem, PA, 1947). American oboist and maker of early oboes and bassoons, based in Germany. After initial studies at the Oberlin Conservatory, he enrolled at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, studying Baroque oboe under Michel Piguet (1932–2004). Hailperin graduated from the Schola Cantorum in 1970, with the first diploma in Baroque oboe performance from that institution. In 1971 he joined the Vienna Concentus Musicus under Harnoncourt. Hailperin participated in numerous recordings and tours with the Concentus Musicus during the period 1971–9. During this time he began building instruments, following short internships with recorder makers Bob Marvin and Friedrich von Huene. With the encouragement of Jürg Schäftlein, Hailperin made copies of the Paulhahn oboe in the Harnoncourt collection; these copies were soon in demand by leading players. Hailperin’s reconstructions of the Eichentopf oboe da caccia, based on two originals in Scandinavian museums, were the first modern copies to use a brass bell....

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Christopher Brodersen

Lee

(b Montreal, Quebec, 9 Feb 1952). American oboist and maker of early oboes, based in Eugene, Oregon. She studied modern oboe with Alan Vogel at the California Institute of the Arts (1970–75) and privately with Marc Lifschey (1971–3). Her Baroque oboe teachers included Ku Ebbinge and Stephen Hammer. She served as an adjunct instructor of Baroque oboe at the University of Southern California School of Music. Taylor began making Baroque oboes in 1985, after receiving initial guidance from the flute maker Rod Cameron and coaching in wood turning from a furniture maker. Otherwise, she is self-taught in her craft. She offers Baroque oboes after Schlegel and J. Denner, an oboe d’amore after Poerschmann, and a Classical oboe after Delusse. By 2012 Taylor had completed about 30 instruments and was the only maker in the USA to offer an oboe d’amore based on Poerschmann’s original (at ...

Article

Hugh Davies

(b Milan, Italy, July 31, 1941; d 2002). Italian composer, pianist, photographer, and designer of instruments. He studied piano and composition at the Milan Conservatory and photography at the London College of Printing before moving in 1963 to New York, where he assisted Richard Avedon. He returned to Milan in 1967 and the following year opened a commercial photography studio, while also pursuing music and video art. In 1972–3 he was a member of NADMA (the Natural Arkestra de Maya Alta), which mixed Asian-inspired sounds with jazz and other Western genres. From the mid-1970s he composed theatrical concert works in which traditional instruments and their performance techniques are reassessed, and devised several large-scale sound environments. In Quartet (c1975) a harpist with harp is encased in a one-piece fitted, knitted, costume-like covering, a performer on free-reed instruments (mouth organ, accordion, and foot-operated table bandoneon) is gradually incapacitated by being mummified in sticky tape, and a violinist and pianist have their fields of operation restricted by specially constructed containers for parts of their instruments. In another work a harp is played with metal mesh gloves to which about 50 nails are attached. Mosconi’s sound environments include ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

(b Vienna, Austria, 1370; d Nuremberg, Germany, 1401). Viennese physician, medical astrologer, organist, and presumed harpsichord maker. The earliest dated reference to what might be a harpsichord is in a letter from Padua of 1397 that names Hermann Poll as its inventor. Poll earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Vienna between 1388 and 1395. In 1397 Poll went to the University of Pavia to study medicine (MD, 1398), and en route met the Paduan jurist Giovanni Lodovico Lambertacci, who asked Poll to deliver a cup to his son-in-law in Pavia. In the letter, Lambertacci wrote to his son-in-law describing Poll as ‘a very ingenious young man and inventor of an instrument called the clavicembalum.’ At the age of 31, Poll was discovered in a plot to poison the Elector Palatine of the Rhine, and died on the wheel.

R. Strohm: ‘Die private Kunst und das öffentliche Schicksal von Hermann Poll, dem Erfinder des Cembalos’, ...

Article

Daniele Buccio

(b 1948, Hardwick, MA). American composer, guitarist, and instrument designer. Smith began piano lessons at the age of eight before deciding to take up the electric guitar in his teens. He later performed with several local rock bands. He enrolled at Berklee College of Music to study jazz but dropped out before completing his first year. A few months later he moved to California to attend CalArts (BFA 1975; MFA 1977), where he worked with morton Subotnick . He also studied privately with mel Powell , james Tenney , earle Brown , and harold Budd . Working as a professional welder and machinist in the 1970s, he began his first serious experimentations with instrument design. A large chime made of aluminum tubes set to 45 tones to the octave was used on his first full-length release, Nakadai (1987). The first of his elaborate structures, the Bass Tweed (1993), was assembled from junk metal. Smith has focused much of his activity around his sound sculptures, which are featured on the albums ...

Article

Mandy-Suzanne Wong

(b San Rafael, CA, Jan 11, 1955). American sound artist, turntablist, composer, filmmaker, and visual artist. Raised in Switzerland, Marclay studied sculpture at the École Supérieure d’Art Visuel in Geneva and the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Inspired by Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, and the Fluxus movement, the use of found objects became a formative principle of Marclay’s work. He has collaborated with Christian Wolff, Otomo Yoshihide, Sonic Youth, and John Zorn, among others.

In the mid-1970s, Marclay used turntables as improvising musical instruments, apparently inventing Turntablism. Like hip-hop DJs of the same era, though their work proceeded independently, Marclay developed performance techniques such as scratching and mixing. He believes his use of turntables to be similar to Duchamp’s methods: using found objects to create new art, by putting one’s own stamp on the objects and exhibiting them.

Throughout his career, he has embraced the residual noises produced by recording media, especially the hisses and pops of vinyl records. His work emphasizes the fact that when 20th- and 21st-century listeners experience music, oftentimes they are listening not only to the music but to the ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b St Joseph, MO, July 11, 1939; d Petaluma, CA, July 9, 2005). American musician, composer, and experimental instrument maker. He was a jazz pianist in Kansas City before turning in the 1960s to playing keyboard with San Francisco rock groups. Disillusioned by commercial work, he began composing ‘fusion’ music and making instruments (often inspired by non-Western models) with which to play it. He described himself as an itinerant flute-maker and sold his popular bamboo flutes and other creations at Bay Area fairs and concerts. Inventions of his include the Wind Wand (a long dowel with a handle and an adjustable cross-piece intersecting a large rubber band stretched over the ends of the dowel; swung in a circle or back and forth, it produces four pitches); Spirit Catcher (a smaller Wind Wand with two rubber bands, producing eight tones); Butu (a section of bamboo with fingerholes, played by striking the bottom on a hard surface and fingering the holes to change the pitch); Groove Stick (a long bamboo scraper), as well as the Tank, the Circular Violin, and a bamboo xylophone. He shared his music and instruments with public school classes, where he was known as ‘Mr. Sound Magic’. In later years DeVore explored improvisation together with like-minded musicians and experimental instrument makers including Bart Hopkin, Tom Nunn, and Richard Waters. After DeVore’s death many of his instruments were donated to local schools....

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Jirapa, Ghana, June 22, 1958). Ghanaian xylophone maker, player, and teacher. Born into a family of gyilli makers and players in northwest Ghana, Doozie began playing at six years of age. When he was 12 his father taught him to make his first gyilli and he was a practised maker by age 15. After secondary school Doozie moved to Accra to become a xylophonist with the Ghana Dance Ensemble. He was also an instructor at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. Among other appointments, he has performed with the National SO Ghana and has been associated with the Institute of African Studies and the music and performing arts departments of the University of Ghana. In 1990 he established a workshop to produce xylophones; he made the xylophones used in the Broadway production of The Lion King. He has also restored instruments in museum collections. He continues to teach and perform and is managing director of Dagarti Arts and Music in Accra and a member of the Arts Council of Ghana. He is also involved in promoting fair trade practices. Doozie’s xylophone bars—from eight to 18 for each instrument—are made of aged, fire-dried planks of wood from male shea trees. Gourd resonators are affixed under the bars, which are tied to the curved frame. The tips of the wooden beaters are padded with rubber recycled from tyres....

Article

Harry B. Soria

[Apuakehau, Jr., Joseph Kekuku‘upenakana‘iapuniokamehameha ]

(b La‘ie, Oahu, Hawaii, 1874; d Dover, NJ, Jan 016, 1932). American steel guitarist, teacher, and inventor. The Hawaiian steel guitar’s invention is largely credited to Joseph Kekuku. Joseph and his cousin, Samuel Kalanahelu Nainoa (1877–1950) were raised in the rural village of La‘ie, Oahu. By the age of 11, the close companions had become skilled musicians under the tutelage of the elders of La‘ie. Prior to the creation of the Hawaiian steel guitar, Hawaiian musical combos featured primarily violin, flute, “Spanish” guitar, and ‘ukulele performances. Sam played the violin, while Joseph spent much of his time trying to make his guitar sound like Sam’s violin.

Joseph’s first experiments involved running various implements across the strings of a conventional gut-string guitar, including a steel bolt, a penknife, a pocket comb, a dull straight razor blade, and a tumbler, with the guitar laying across his lap. When the cousins enrolled as boarding students at Kamehameha School for Boys in the fall of ...

Article

Ellen Exner

(b Philadelphia, PA, 1945). American maker of historical woodwinds, performer, and teacher. He founded Levin Historical Instruments, Inc. around 1970 to produce period instrument replicas in collaboration with Steven Silverstein, who was once a partner in the business. Levin arrived on his instrument designs by exploring museum collections in Europe, particularly Germany and Holland. His mentors included friedrich von Huene , Anthony Baines, william Dowd , and Gerrit and Henk Klop. Eventually, his company offered Renaissance- and Baroque-style recorders, cornetti, shawms, and dulcians (fagotti), as well as Baroque and Classical bassoons and oboes. Levin dissolved the company in 1990 to pursue a career in software development and technical writing, but his instruments continue to be sought after and remain in use worldwide.

Levin graduated from the Manhattan School of Music (BA, 1967), where he studied modern bassoon with Elias Carmen. He became a faculty member at the Oberlin College Baroque Performance Institute (...