(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 ...
(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....
(b Amatrice, Rieti, Italy, 17??; d Amatrice, Italy, 16–17 March 1804). Italian amateur flutist, composer, and developer of the flute. Orazi served as an army lieutenant in Naples and Spain and on retirement returned to Amatrice, on the northern border of the Kingdom of Naples. In 1797 he published a short treatise illustrating his invention and fabrication of a new type of transverse flute; printed separately at the same time were two ‘enharmonic’ trios he wrote especially for this instrument, incorporating themes by other composers. His aim was to make the flute more competitive with the violin by extending its range down to g; increasing the upper range and facilitating emission of high notes; and enabling it to perform quarter-tones so that portamento effects could enhance its expressive potential.
The instrument was essentially a normal concert flute in D (‘flauto corista’) equipped with four closed-standing keys (E♭, F, G#, B♭). To it was added an extension partly bent back on itself for more convenient positioning of the keys, allowing one to play chromatically from ...
Lyndesay G. Langwill
revised by James B. Kopp
(b Ronsdorf [now Wuppertal], Germany, Oct 3, 1786; d Biebrich, Germany, Sept 14, 1843). German bassoonist, inventor, and composer. Largely self-taught, he was a professional bassoonist in Cologne from 1808. After a period with the Frankfurt Nationaltheater (1812–14) he returned to Cologne as bandmaster of the 3rd Prussian Militia, then accepted a similar position in Mainz (1816), where he met the acoustician and theorist Gottfried Weber. His association with Weber influenced his subsequent career and led him to make fundamental improvements to the bassoon. In 1817 he experimented in the instrument factory of B. Schotts Söhne. He first published his findings in Traité sur le perfectionnement du basson avec deux tableaux (Mainz, c1823), describing his improved 15-key bassoon. In 1820, after Weber’s departure from Mainz, Almenräder returned to Cologne where he taught and performed and also made flutes and clarinets in his own workshop. He gave this up in ...
revised by Laura Moore Pruett
(b Setauket, NY, Nov 26, 1807; d Setauket, NY, Nov 18, 1868). American painter, composer, fiddler, and inventor. Best known as a genre painter of the Hudson River School who depicted some significant examples of banjo and fiddle iconography, he is also notable for his ‘improved’, louder model of the violin, patented 1 June 1852 (no.8981). The patent model, a 7/8-size instrument (US.W.si), was patterned after a design that requires fewer constituent parts than usual; it incorporates a boutless, almond-shaped body, a ‘hollow’ (i.e. concave, cradle-like) bent back, a ‘spring-beam’ bass-bar, shortened soundpost, and straight soundholes. In its final form, as exemplified by a full-sized violin of 1857 (Museums at Stony Brook, New York, where Mount’s patterns and notes are also preserved), it possesses a boutless, guitar-shaped body, the same ‘hollow’ back, a conventional bass-bar, and ordinary soundholes in reversed position. Under the trade name ‘The Cradle of Harmony’ various models were displayed at the Crystal Palace, New York, during the ...
Kathryn Bridwell Briner
(b Chicago, IL, Jan 27, 1950). American horn player, historical horn maker, music educator, and composer. He studied horn with Ernani Angelucci, John Barrows, Helen Kotas, Ethel Merker, Frank Brouk, and Dale Clevenger. He was appointed assistant principal horn for the Detroit Symphony in 1972, and has also performed as principal horn with the Mexico City Philharmonic (1978–80), the Cincinnati Symphony (1984–6), the Toledo Symphony (1990–7), and as guest principal horn with the Antwerp Philharmonic/Royal Flemish Orchestra. He has taught the horn at Interlochen Arts Academy, Wheaton College, Oakland University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, the School of Perfection in Mexico City, and the Carl Nielsen Academy in Odense, Denmark. Greer has written solo pieces for both the modern and natural (valveless) horn, as well as a mass for hunting horns and organ.
Noted for his flexible tone and facile technique, Greer has toured widely as a soloist and has made notable recordings, particularly on the natural horn; those recordings include Beethoven’s Sonata for horn, Brahms’ Trio for horn, violin, and piano, and the horn concertos of Mozart....
( b 1872; d Switzerland, Jan 1938). Italian flute maker, flautist and composer . He was a flautist at La Scala, Milan, from 1897. In 1910 he invented his ‘Albisiphon’, a vertically-held, Boehm-system bass flute in C, with a T-shaped head, which he described in his Albisiphon: flauto ottava bassa (Milan, 1910). It was used by, among others, Mascagni in Parisina (1913), and Zandonai in Melenis (1912) and Francesca da Rimini (1914). The Dayton Miller Collection (Library of Congress, Washington, DC) possesses two models of an ‘albisiphon baritono’ in C and a tenor in F. There is also an example of another invention which Miller termed ‘half flute in C’ (that part of a regular flute played by the left hand, with a wooden handle for right hand) for which Albisi composed a concerto. He also made flutes in collaboration with the Milanese maker Luigi Vanotti in about ...
Roger J.V. Cotte
(b Fockenhof, Kurland, Feb 14, 1722; d Paris, March 24, 1791). French dilettante, amateur violinist and composer, patron of the arts and instrument collector. A magnificent and very wealthy nobleman, he both amused and astounded his contemporaries. M. Audinot in his comic opera La musicomanie (1779), and possibly E.T.A. Hoffmann in his tale Die Serapionsbrüder (1819), attempted to evoke his strange personality, emphasizing its ridiculous nature.
At the death of his father, a landed nobleman, in 1747, Bagge inherited a large fortune which enabled him to study the violin in Italy with Tartini. By 1750 he had settled in Paris; in the following year he was awarded the title chambellan du Roi de Prusse (then Frederick II) and married the daughter of the Swiss banker Jacob Maudry. With Maudry's death in 1762 the very large inheritance proved a source of contention to the ill-matched couple and they soon separated. Bagge later attempted to gain possession of the inheritance of Mme Maudry, who had died in ...
revised by Ludwig Böhm
(b Munich, April 9, 1794; d Munich, Nov 25, 1881). German flute maker, flautist, composer and inventor. He worked out the proportions and devised the mechanism which are the bases of the modern flute. Boehm was the son of a goldsmith, in whose craft he became fully skilled at an early age. In childhood he taught himself the flageolet and one-keyed flute; by the age of 16 he had already grown dissatisfied with the latter, and in 1810 made himself a copy of a four-keyed instrument by Grenser of Dresden. Around the same time he also made a nine-keyed flute with a movable golden mouth-hole, based on the ideas of Johann Nepomuk Kapeller (1776–1825), flautist in the royal court orchestra in Munich. In 1810 Boehm began flute lessons with Kapeller, who gave him formal instruction until 1812, admitting then that he had no more to teach him....
( b Paris, June 13, 1799; d Paris, 5/April 6, 1839). French oboist, wind instrument maker and composer . He studied at the Paris Conservatoire from 1812 under Gustave Vogt, who shared Brod’s Protestant Alsatian background. Having received the premier prix in 1818, the following year Brod was appointed second oboist in the Opéra orchestra alongside his teacher. During Vogt’s absences in 1826 and 1828 Brod filled Vogt’s place as first oboist. The abilities of the two players were often compared; Fétis found Brod’s tone sweeter than that of his teacher. A statuette by Dantan jeune (Paris, Musée Carnavalet) caricatures Brod playing a musette. He died just 3 months before he would have been eligible for a pension to support his wife and young son. His widow petitioned repeatedly for support from the administration of both the Conservatoire and Opéra.
Oboes by Brod, some made in collaboration with his brother Jean-Godefroy (...