( 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 ...
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 ...
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 (...
revised by Luca Sala
[Clementi, Mutius Philippus Vincentius Franciscus Xaverius]
(b Rome, Jan 23, 1752; d Evesham, Worcs., March 10, 1832). English composer, keyboard player and virtuoso, teacher, music publisher, entrepreneur, and piano manufacturer of Italian birth.
The oldest of seven children of Nicola Clementi (1720–89), a silversmith, and Magdalena (née Kaiser), Clementi began studies in music in Rome at a very early age; his teachers were Antonio Boroni (1738–92), an organist named Cordicelli, Giuseppi Santarelli (1710–90), and possibly Gaetano Carpani. In January 1766, at the age of 13, he secured the post of organist at his home church, S Lorenzo in Damaso. In that year, however, his playing attracted the attention of an English traveller, Peter Beckford (1740–1811), cousin of the novelist William Beckford (1760–1844) and nephew of William Beckford (1709–70), twice Lord Mayor of London. According to Peter Beckford’s own forthright explanation, he ‘bought Clementi of his father for seven years’, and in late ...
(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....
revised by Thomas Hiebert
(b Würzburg, March 13, 1767; d Paris, June 19, 1844). German horn player, composer and teacher, active in France. Son of the Hungarian-born principal horn at the Würzburg court, Friedrich Domnich (b Ofen, 9 June 1729; d Würzburg, 22 April 1790), he was the most famous of three horn-playing brothers; the others were Jacob (b Würzburg, 1758; d Philadelphia, after 1806), who in about 1790 emigrated to Philadelphia and taught and played extensively there, and Arnold (b Würzburg, 29 Sept 1771; d Meiningen, 14 July 1834), who was employed at the Saxe-Meiningen court from 1786 until 1834, becoming principal horn in 1803. At an early age Heinrich entered the band of Count von Elz at Mainz, but when subjected to livery service he left in 1783 for Paris, where he studied with Punto for two years. In 1785 he earned praise for the neatness and facility of his playing as second to Jean Lebrun in a double concerto at the Concert Spirituel; this was the first of at least eight appearances there by Domnich between ...
(b c1575; bur. Greenwich, July 24, 1651). English composer, string player and instrument maker. He may have been the son of Richard Farrant, Master of the Choristers at St George’s Chapel, Windsor and Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal. A birthdate of about 1575 would make Daniel Farrant a contemporary of John Coprario and Alfonso Ferrabosco II, who John Playford mentioned with Farrant in 1661 as ‘The First Authors of Inventing and Setting Lessons’ for lyra viol. On 23 November 1607 Farrant was given a place in the royal violin band at the court of James I. He is listed as a player of the viol in several documents of 1624 and 1625.
Farrant was an instrument maker as well as a player. On 27 February 1626 he was paid £109 for six ‘Artificiall Instruments’ ‘made and finished’ for royal service. Playford wrote that he was ‘a person of such ingenuity for his several rare inventions of instruments, as the Poliphant and the Stump, which were strung with wire’ and ‘a lyra viol, to be strung with lute strings and wire strings, the one above the other’. This cannot be taken at face value since Farrant would have been too young to have invented the poliphant or poliphon, which (Playford claimed elsewhere) Queen Elizabeth played, and at least three other individuals are connected with the invention of the lyra viol with sympathetic metal strings – the ancestor of the baryton. Nevertheless, it is likely that Farrant was involved in some way with the development of novel types of stringed instruments in Jacobean England....
(b Aurora, IL, March 9, 1871; d San Francisco, April 15, 1954). American composer, pianist and inventor. A precocious musician, he graduated with ‘unprecedented’ honours from the Königliche Musikschule, Munich (1889), having studied with Rheinberger and Thuille. He settled in San Francisco in 1896, touring widely with Anton Schott, Amalie Materna, David Bispham and Ernestine Schumann-Heink. In 1901 he married the singer Edith Cruzan. He moved back to Germany in 1911, where he established a vocal studio in Berlin and obtained a patent (1912) for a new keyboard design with 60 notes to the octave. After returning to the USA in 1914, he became head of the music department at the University of Virginia (from 1920). His retirement in 1941 coincided with an American patent for the polytone, an instrument using an extended keyboard and allowing for a purer intonation of 3rds and 5ths....
Nona Pyron and Angela Lepore
(b Parma, Oct 16, 1649; d ?Parma, 1697). Italian composer, cellist, instrument maker, sculptor and painter. All that is known of his life is that he worked at the Este court at Modena. His only known music is Trattenimento musicale sopra il violoncello a’ solo (Modena, 1691), a set of 12 sonatas for solo cello (like his contemporaries at the Este court, G.B. Vitali and Giuseppe Colombi, he was himself a cellist). Precedents for his sonatas can be found in various works for solo cello by Colombi. Others by the two Bolognese composers G.B. Degli Antoni and Domenico Gabrielli probably influenced him still more: Degli Antoni’s set of 12 Ricercate appeared in 1687, and Gabrielli published a similar set of seven Ricercary in January 1689, shortly after spending a year at the Este court. The appearance of Galli’s sonatas in 1691 seems more than just coincidental: they could well have been inspired by his close contact with Gabrielli. Their style is remarkably close to that of Gabrielli’s ...
Howard Mayer Brown
revised by Lynda Sayce
(b Nuremberg, c1500; d Nuremberg, 1570). German instrumentalist, lute maker and compiler and arranger of several volumes of instrumental music. He was probably the son of Conrad Gerle (d 1521), a well-known lute maker in Nuremberg. He may be presumed to have spent his life in his native city. He may have been related to Georg Gerle who worked as an instrument maker in Innsbruck during the second half of the 16th century.
Hieronymus Formschneider of Nuremberg published three volumes of music by Hans Gerle: Musica teusch, auf die Instrument der grossen unnd kleinen Geygen, auch Lautten (1532), Tabulatur auff die Laudten (1533) and Eyn newes sehr künstlichs Lautenbuch (1552). On the title-page of the last volume the author called himself ‘Hans Gerle den Eltern’ (the elder), implying the existence of a younger relative with the same forename.
The first volume, ...
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....
Alice Lawson Aber-Count
(b Berlin, 17 Feb ?1821; d Berlin, May 23, 1882). German harpist, teacher and composer, son of Karl Grimm. He studied the harp with Josef Hasselmans at the Strasbourg Conservatory and perfected his skill in Leipzig with Elias Parish Alvars. From 1837 he performed with great success and was much in demand, particularly by Liszt and Bülow. In 1844 he was the principal harpist at the royal chapel in Berlin and 25 years later received the title königliche Concertmeister.
Grimm was the founder of the modern German school of harp playing. Among his pupils were Albert Zabel, Wilhelm Posse, Franz Poenitz, Rosalia Spohr (wife of Louis Spohr) and Ferdinand B. Hummel. His compositions for the harp are unpublished.B. Bagatti: Arpa e arpisti (Piacenza, 1932), 52 M.G. Scimeca: L’arpa nella storia (Bari, 1938), 145–6 W. Henley: Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers, 2 (Brighton, 1960) A.N. Schirinzi...
Harold E. Samuel
(b Nuremberg, April 11, 1626; d Nuremberg, Aug 6, 1686). German organist, instrumentalist, composer and instrument maker, son of Sebastian Hainlein the younger (see Hainlein family). His early instruction on wind and keyboard instruments and in singing led to his being paid an expectant’s salary by the city of Nuremberg at the age of 17. During the period 1646–7 he was in Munich, where he at least heard – if he did not study with – G.G. Porro. From October 1647 to July 1648 he was in Italy. In five extant letters he said that he was displeased with Italian performers and was practising without the aid of a teacher. He referred to four living Italian composers, G.G. Arrigoni, Cavalli and Rovetta in Venice and Francesco Turini in Brescia, but he apparently did not study with any of them. He took up his first important position in Nuremberg in ...
(b Bohemia, 1710/11; d Dresden, March 30, 1771). Bohemian horn player, teacher, inventor and composer. He was appointed second horn of the Dresden Hofkapelle in 1737 and continued in that capacity until about 1768, being paired initially with J.G. Knechtel, later with Carl Haudek. Hampel contributed to the development of both the instrument and its technique, and his innovations were widely imitated. He extended the horn's range downwards by developing the middle and low registers. During his tenure at Dresden, second horn parts became more independent of first parts and a new idiomatic second horn style appeared, the latter characterized by rapid arpeggios and wide leaps, sometimes extending down to the second harmonic, with occasional factitious tones in the low register (e.g. e, f and f ♯). This new style was soon imitated elsewhere, and from it developed a species of second horn player (...
(b Schwäbisch Gmünd, c1445–50; d Vienna, early March 1526). German lutenist, composer and probably lute maker. His family came from Württemberg; his father may have been one Hartmann Judenkünig. He is first recorded in 1518 as a lutenist in the Corpus Christi confraternity at the Stephansdom in Vienna; he had probably already been working as a musician there for some time, and he lived in the oldest quarter of Vienna in a house called the ‘Gundlachhaus’, later celebrated under the name of ‘Köllnerhof’ as a centre for musicians and merchants. Although he was not a member of the nobility, his prominent position as a citizen is indicated by a coat of arms depicting a string player, which appeared in both his books; both books also include a full-page woodcut showing a bearded lutenist (probably Judenkünig himself), together with a pupil playing a large viol. Judenkünig was in contact with the learned humanistic community of Vienna: he arranged some of the odes of Petrus Tritonius, and he seems also to have been familiar with the ideals of the poetic-mathematical circle around Conrad Celtis. His date of death at an advanced age was recorded in the margin of one copy of his ...
revised by Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume
(b Prague, Dec 21, 1756; d Prague, c1830). Czech composer, pianist and inventor. He studied law and philosophy at Prague University and music with the Prague organist Joseph Prokop. Two of his Singspiels were performed in Prague: König Wenzel (1778) and Die Bezauberten (1779). The piano part of the cantata Pygmalion (1781) and some German songs (1807) were also published in Prague; the first edition of his German songs had appeared in Leipzig in 1799. Kunz was an exponent of the late 18th-century fad for designing combination instruments, constructing in 1791 a piano-organ which he called an Orchestrion (not to be confused with the mechanical instrument of the same name). Between 1796 and 1798, in collaboration with the Prague piano-makers Johann and Thomas Still, he made a second, improved model. Shaped like an over-size grand piano and housed in a mahogany case with sides of ornamentally carved frames backed with blue taffeta, the lower part comprised a two-manual positive organ of 65 keys (compass ...
revised by Luc Rombouts
(b Zinnik [now Hennegau], bap. July 18, 1711; d Ghent, bur. May 25, 1765). Flemish carillonneur and composer. Known by 1729 as a carillonneur and clockmaker in his home town, Le Blan appeared from 1743 in Veurne exercising these two occupations. In 1746 he succeeded Pierre Schepers as town carillonneur at Ghent, becoming town clockmaker in ...
(b Ferrara, Nov 7, 1790; d Ravenna, Aug 5, 1877). Italian guitarist, instrument maker and composer. Although trained from his earliest years as an orchestral string player, Legnani devoted himself to singing and especially to the guitar. He made his début as a tenor in Ravenna in 1807, and appeared there again from 1820 to 1826 in operas by Rossini, Pacini and Donizetti. He launched his career as a concert guitarist in Milan in 1819. In 1822 he appeared in Vienna with such sensational success that he was considered the worthy successor to Mauro Giuliani (who had left Vienna in 1819 to return to Italy). This city received Legnani with much praise again in 1833 and 1839.
In the intervening years, besides touring Italy, Germany and Switzerland as a guitarist, Legnani struck up a friendship with Paganini, who considered him ‘the leading player of the guitar’. They planned to play together as a duo in a series of ...