(b Luxembourg, Aug 16, 1884; d New York, Aug 19, 1967). American writer, publisher, and inventor. In 1904 he emigrated to America, where in 1908 he founded the first of a series of radio magazines (including Radio-Craft) which he wrote for and edited. He later turned to science fiction magazines (from ...
(b Gunzing, near Lohnsburg am Inn, Germany, Nov 28, 1669, d Mainz, Germany, April 30, 1728). German priest, philosopher, editor of Latin works of Raymond Lull, and inventor of an enharmonic keyboard. While working at the court of Johann Wilhelm, Prince-Elector of the Palatinate, in Düsseldorf, Salzinger invented and built a keyboard (‘Tastatura nova perfecta’) accommodating the division of the octave into 31 equal parts. His enharmonic harpsichord is mentioned by Joseph Paris Feckler, who reports (1713) that a further two had been ordered: one for the Emperor in Augsburg, the other for the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in Florence. Details of this instrument appear in Salzinger’s ‘Revelatio secretorum artis’ (1721), which he published as an introduction to his edition of Lull’s Ars magna et major. This work tells that ‘the Most Serene Elector continuously used this harpsichord for music at court’, and that years earlier the construction of an organ with the same kind of keyboard had begun, only to be halted in ...
(b ?Ritzfeld bei Weinsberg, Germany, c1772/3; d London, England, March 27, 1850). Maker of wind instruments, music seller, and publisher. He was in London by 1795 and was naturalized by Act of Parliament in 1804; that same year he was granted the freedom of the Musicians’ Company. He worked at 76 Bishopsgate from about 1804 to 1822. Through a partnership with the successors to George Astor the firm became known as Gerock, Astor & Co. (1822–6), operating at 79 Cornhill. Robert Wolf, described as an employee in 1828, married Gerock’s daughter Sabrina Susannah in 1831. The firm was known as Gerock & Wolf during 1831–2, but reverted to the name C. Gerock & Co. from 1832 to 1837, when Gerock retired. The firm of Robert Wolf & Co. operated at 79 Cornhill after 1837, principally selling pianos.
In a trial for theft of flutes by his employee Samuel Porter in ...
Michael D. Friesen
(b Aberdeen, Scotland, c1743; d Philadelphia, PA, April 1, 1836). Maker of organs and pianos, instrument retailer, and music publisher of Scottish birth. He arrived in New York from Britain in May 1786 and advertised himself as an organ builder, as well as a repairer of keyboard instruments and guitars. He moved to Philadelphia by July of that year, remaining in that city for the rest of his career. It has been claimed that Taws was associated with New York piano importer John Jacob Astor, but there is no evidence for that assertion. Charles varied the spelling of his surname for several years after arriving in America; it also appears as Tawse and Tawes.
In Philadelphia Taws soon began piano manufacture, and thereafter usually styled himself a “musical instrument maker,” advertising the furnishing of harpsichords, violins, and guitars as well. He also maintained an extensive repair and tuning business. He gradually expanded the scope of his activities to include importing pianos from London for sale, dealing in instrument sales and rental, selling music and instrument supplies, and from ...
(b York Co., ME, Oct 6, 1816; d Montclair, NJ, Jan 7, 1868). American composer, teacher, organist, publisher, and piano manufacturer. In 1830 his family moved to Boston, where he studied music with Sumner Hill and attended Lowell Mason’s Academy of Music; he also sang in Mason’s Bowdoin Street church choir and later became organist there. From 1836 he taught music classes and gave private piano lessons in Machias, Maine, then in 1838 became a singing-school teacher in St. John’s, New Brunswick. Bradbury moved to New York in 1840 as choir leader of the First Baptist Church, Brooklyn, and the following year he accepted a position as organist at the Baptist Tabernacle in New York. He established singing classes for children similar to those of Mason in Boston; his annual music festivals with as many as 1000 children led to the introduction of music in New York’s public schools. He also published his first collection, ...
Robert E. Eliason
(b Danzig, Prussia, Oct 20, 1799; d Brooklyn, NY, Oct 29, 1884).
American maker of flutes and other instruments, musical instrument dealer, and music publisher of Prussian birth. Christman was principally a flute maker, though he or his workmen also made other woodwinds and some brass instruments. His only known patent concerned improvements to the flute.
Christman came to the United States in his early twenties, and was first listed in the New York City Directory of 1823. The earliest indications of his success are the exhibits of his flutes and flageolets by George Willig at the 1828, 1830, and 1831 Franklin Institute fairs in Philadelphia. The awards he won for instruments exhibited in the American Institute of the City of New York mechanic fairs illustrate his contributions to flute development of the time. For a 10-key flute in 1837, silver medal; for a 16-key flute in 1846...
John H. Baron
(b Hohenhofen, Germany, 1827; d New Orleans, LA, March 1, 1915).
American music publisher, instrument maker, and impresario. He immigrated to the United States in 1852 and settled in New Orleans, where he became organist at three local churches. In 1858 he opened a music store and sold instruments and sheet music. From 1874 he also managed the Grunewald Opera House, a major concert hall; this was destroyed by fire in 1893, and he built the Grunewald Hotel (now the Roosevelt) on the same site. Before and after the Civil War he was one of the important benefactors of concerts in the city. The Grunewald firm, with which other members of the family became involved, manufactured musical instruments in the late 19th century and published a large quantity of music from 1870 to 1920, when G. Schirmer purchased the publishing concern. The music store remained open until 1972...
Katherine K. Preston
(b Warren, MA, Oct 7, 1832; d Englewood, NJ, Oct 18, 1918). American composer, writer, editor, and organ-maker. His early education was at the Elmira (New York) Academy, where he demonstrated a gift for composition. He subsequently spent several years teaching music and languages in New York City and served as organist at the Broadway Tabernacle Church to earn money for study abroad. In 1855 he went to Leipzig to pursue studies in law, philosophy, and music. At the Leipzig Conservatory he studied with E.F. Richter, M. Hauptmann (theory and composition) and L. Plaidy (piano); he later studied organ with Haupt in Berlin. Several of his compositions were performed in Leipzig and Berlin; both Liszt and Spohr expressed interest in his work as a composer. In 1857 Converse returned to America via England, where he declined an invitation by Sterndale Bennett to submit his sacred cantata When the Lord Turned Again...
Ruth M. Wilson
revised by Stephen L. Pinel
(b Philadelphia, PA, Aug 16, 1771; d Brooklyn, NY, Apr 30, 1861). American organist, church musician, teacher, instrument-maker, tunebook compiler, and composer. In addition to serving as the organist of Trinity Church, Peter Erben was a prominent church musician, organ builder, and music teacher in antebellum New York.
Peter was the son of Johann Adam Erben (d c1781), a Philadelphia distiller. By 1791 he was in New York working as a tanner, but turned his attention to music after a bankruptcy in 1796. He was successively the organist of Christ Church (1800), the Middle Dutch Reformed Church (1806), St. George’s Chapel (1808), St. John’s Chapel (1813), and ultimately Trinity Church (1820–39). From about 1800 he was also the founder and director of the Society for Cultivating Church Music and frequently presented public concerts with the charity children. Between ...
(b Medway, MA, Feb 27, 1784; d Brookline, MA, 1864). American composer, compiler, teacher, and organ builder. He worked from 1806 to 1820 as a music teacher in New York City, though he spent some time in Albany in 1819. In September 1820 he performed at Boston’s Columbian Museum on the Apollino, a panharmonicon that he claimed to have invented (announced in The Euterpeiad, i/23 (1820), 91). He later built reed organs and in 1836 exhibited an eight-stop instrument of his own design at Boston’s Mechanic’s Fair. He compiled The Washington Choir (Boston, 1843), a collection of temperance music that identifies him on its title-page as “pupil of Dr. G.K. Jackson,” who was active in New York between 1802 and 1812. Plimpton’s few surviving compositions include eight marches, an air, a waltz, and a minuet in The Universal Repository of Music (a collection now in the New York Public Library, which he copyrighted on ...