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Article

Ian Mikyska

Composers’ collective and ensemble founded in Prague in 2002. Over the years, the organizing team has included a number of composers and instrumentalists, with the remaining core today being Tomáš Pálka[1], Michaela Plachká, and Ondřej Štochl[2].

Their programming includes canonical composers of the 20th century as well as younger artists. They hold a call for scores each year, and have presented a number of works by Czech composers of older generations (kopelent, slavický, smolka). Despite a general tendency towards quiet and contemplative aesthetics, they have also performed music by composers of the so-called New Complexity and from more standard post-avant-garde traditions, always with a view to creating a dynamic and compact programme.

Konvergence often collaborates with other ensembles on combined programmes with an unusually well thought out dramaturgy. Over the years, they have worked with ensembles such as Platypus, Adapter, the Fama Quartet, le concert impromptu, the Isang Yun Trio, and the Quasars Ensemble....

Article

Clavia  

Brandon Smith

[Clavia Digital Musical Instruments AB]

Swedish producer of virtual analogue synthesizers and digital organ and electric piano emulations. The company was founded in 1983 in Stockholm by Hans Nordelius (b1949) and Mikael Carlsson, and it sells its products under the brand name Nord. Clavia’s first product, the Digital Percussion Plate 1, introduced in 1983, developed into the ‘ddrum’ series of digital drum synthesizers. In 1995 Clavia produced its first keyboard synthesizer, a virtual analogue called the Nord Lead. Two years later Clavia developed a hardware synthesizer with a computer interface called the Nord Modular, which was fully patchable via the supplied editor software. In 2001, Clavia released the Nord Electro line of performance-oriented keyboards featuring realistic emulations of classic electromechanical instruments such as the Rhodes piano and Clavinet plus a virtual Hammond tonewheel organ. The Electro series (now in its second version) is used by many performing groups. The double-manual Nord C1 (introduced in ...

Article

Hugh Davies

[Connsonata]

Electronic organ originally designed by Earle L. Kent (who later developed the electronic music box) and manufactured in a large number of models by C.G. Conn of Elkhart, Indiana, from about 1947. It was known until the mid-1950s as the Connsonata. The organs were later made in Carol Stream, Illinois, and from about 1960 to 1979 in Madison, Indiana. The Conn company was purchased in 1969 by the publisher Crowell-Collier & Macmillan, Inc., and organ production was taken over from 1980 by the Kimball Piano & Organ Co., which later closed the operation in the face of competition from digital organs.

Conn organs normally have two manuals and pedals, and they range from church and theatre organs with traditional consoles to home organs, including several of the ‘spinet’ design in which two manuals (each usually having 44 notes) are staggered by one octave. The Model 700, introduced in 1955, originally had two 61-note manuals and 25 pedals, later increased to 32 pedals. Exceptionally, some of the theatre organs and the Theatrette spinet have three manuals, and other large instruments were customised, usually by combining features of of existing models. The sounds are generated by a single oscillator for each note (the first model contained 166 oscillators). Some models include an additional Leslie tremulant loudspeaker. Advances in electronic technology from about ...

Article

Crumar  

Hugh Davies

revised by Anne Beetem Acker

Italian manufacturer of electronic keyboard instruments, founded in the early 1970s in Castelfidardo, near Ancona. The firm was named after its founder, Mario Crucianelli, and his partner F. Marchetti. The Crucianelli family already owned a large accordion firm that had designed the first electronic accordion, but disputes led Mario and his brother Vincenzo to leave and form Crumar. Mario’s son Sante worked as sales manager and as a marketing/engineering liaison. Crumar’s early range (produced from about 1974) included several types of electric piano (the Compac, Roady, Roadracer, Roadrunner, Baby Grand Piano, and others), electronic organ (including the Toccata), and string synthesizer (Multiman, Orchestrator, and Performer), and instruments incorporating a polyphonic synthesizer section (Composer, Stratus, and Trilogy). The Synthephone (1982), a small electronic keyboard instrument, features a breath control facility. Crumar’s analogue synthesizers were comparable to the Moog and other types, and the Crumar Spirit was designed by Robert Moog along with Jim Scott and Tom Rhea....

Article

Cwejman  

Anne Beetem Acker

[CW Elektronik]

Swedish producer of analogue synthesizers, founded and solely operated in Kungälv by the Polish engineer Wlodzimierz (Wowa) Cwejman (b 1949). Cwejman began building the analogue synthesizer ‘Synthra’ to custom order in the 1970s, but dropped out of the field to work in industrial electronics when digital synthesizers came on the market. In ...

Article

Brandon Smith

American manufacturer of synthesizer modules, based in Glendale, California. The company was founded in 2002 by Cynthia Webster, an electronic music artist and synthesizer module designer. While in high school in the 1970s, Webster bought an ARP 2600 synthesizer and soon thereafter went to study with Jim Michmerhuizen (author of the ARP 2600 user’s manual) at the Boston School of Electronic Music; she then studied electronic music at San Francisco State University and Mills College. In 1976, she founded Synapse (1976–9), a magazine dedicated to electronic music. After a hiatus from electronic music to work as a cinematographer, Webster acquired a modular synthesizer by Modcan and began producing her own diverse modules, along with other designers including Mark Barton and Herbert Kuhnert, under the name Cyndustries. Although Cyndustries modules were originally intended for use with Modcan systems, they are also available in other formats including the Behringer Eurorack, Dotcom (Synthesizer.com), PaiA’s FracRak, and MOTM by Synthesis Technologies....

Article

Daewoo  

Anne Beetem Acker

(Korean: ‘great Woo’)

South Korean manufacturer of acoustic and digital pianos. Founded in 1967 as Daewoo Industrial, the large conglomerate Daewoo International Corp. is named for its founder, Kim Woo-jung. In 1977 the Daewoo Precision Industries division purchased the Sojin musical instrument factory of Yeoju, Korea. Sojin had been making guitars; it added upright pianos in 1976. Between 1980 and 1991, Daewoo exported Sojin pianos as well as pianos under the names Royale, Daytron, Daewoo, Schafer & Sons, Sherman Clay (until 1987), and Cline, in addition to private labels. These pianos were of inconsistent and relatively low quality. Starting in 1989, Daewoo began to manufacture digital pianos. In 1990 they produced 13,452 uprights, 2,364 grands, and 2,120 digital pianos.

In 1991, Daewoo purchased a 33% share of the German piano maker Ibach, selling the Sojin equipment to a Chinese firm and replacing it with copies of Ibach’s machinery. Thereafter, instead of Sojin pianos, Daewoo produced Ibach brand instruments to a higher standard, using components such as Renner actions and Delignit wrestplanks. However, the parent Daewoo International Corp., stressed by the Asian financial crisis, went bankrupt in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Line of MIDI-based reproducing player pianos introduced by Yamaha Corporation in 1982 (1986 in North America). The Disklavier system combines an acoustic piano with an electromechanical player-piano system. As in other such systems, fibre-optic sensors register the movement of keys, hammers, and pedals during performance, while the digital controller operates a bank of solenoids installed under the piano’s key bed; one solenoid is positioned under the tail of each key, with additional solenoids connected to the pedal rods. Performance information is stored digitally on CD-ROM, floppy discs (still used for many accompaniments for instructional piano material), or a hard drive. Disklavier systems can be connected to sequencers, tone modules, and computers via MIDI and Ethernet. A built-in speaker system attached to the case under the soundboard is used to play back optional digital piano sound and especially for playback of accompanying orchestral or vocal tracks.

Unlike other electronic player systems, the Disklavier is only installed in new Yamaha pianos and only at the factory. It cannot be installed in older Yamahas or other brands of pianos. Compared with other systems, the Disklavier’s recording capability is generally regarded to be of the highest quality and sophistication. Of the Disklavier models available in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Chinese piano manufacturer. An outgrowth of the government-owned Shanghai Piano Factory, founded in the 1920s, the Dongbei Piano Factory was established in 1952 in Yingkou City in Liaoning province of northeastern China (dongbei means ‘northeast’) to take advantage of the high quality of local wood. For many years, the firm made only upright pianos. In 1988, after the Swedish firm Nordiska went out of business, Dongbei purchased the designs and equipment for the Nordiska Model 116, an upright superior to Dongbei’s. Dongbei formed an agreement in 1991 with the Korean firm Daewoo whereby Daewoo helped Dongbei produce uprights. This arrangement was extended in 1996 to include grand piano production and ended with Dongbei buying most of Daewoo’s equipment and designs after the latter ceased piano manufacture in 1997; some of Daewoo’s designers and technicians then went to work for Dongbei. In 1994 Dongbei began to export their Sagenhaft uprights to the USA....

Article

Hugh Davies

revised by Anne Beetem Acker

[Elektronmusikstudion] (Swed.: ‘electronic music studio’)

The Swedish national centre for electronic music and sound art, in Stockholm. It was preceded by a smaller studio run by the Worker’s Society of Education from 1960. EMS was established by Swedish Radio in 1964 under music director and composer Karl Birger Blomdahl (1916–68), who hired the composer and performer Knut Wiggen (b 1927) to take charge of creating the studios. In 1965 an old radio theatre studio called the klangverstan (‘sound workshop’) opened for composers. Construction of a new facility was begun, but after Blomdahl’s death EMS became independent, funded only in small part by Swedish Radio, and otherwise by Fylkingen (a society for experimental music and arts) and the Swedish Royal Academy of Music.

Wiggen envisioned EMS as both a place to produce electro-acoustic music and a research institution that would give the composer ‘the possibility of describing sounds in psychological terms’. The studio was equipped accordingly. The sound sculpture ...