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William Waterhouse

( 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 ...

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Howard Schott and Kenneth Gilbert

(b Ottawa, Dec 28, 1933; d Brignoles, France, June 16, 1989). Canadian harpsichord maker and harpsichordist. After classical studies he entered the Conservatoire de Musique in Montreal (1956), where he studied organ with Bernard Lagacé and harpsichord with Kenneth Gilbert. In ...

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Edward H. Tarr

(b Winterset, IA, July 12, 1904; d Burbank, CA, Dec 12, 1960). American trumpeter and trumpet manufacturer. He studied cornet with William Eby, Vladimir Drucker, and Harold Mitchell, and trained as first trumpet in the Chicago Civic Orchestra. He was first trumpeter with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (...

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Barbara Owen and Michael D. Friesen

(b Pampa, TX, Nov 10, 1936). American organ builder and organist. Bozeman studied organ performance at North Texas State College (now University of North Texas), but left in 1959 before finishing a degree to apprentice in organ building with Otto Hofmann of Austin, Texas. In ...

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Edward L. Kottick

(b New York, April 11, 1945). American harpsichord maker and performer. His father was a film composer, songwriter, and conductor. He began piano lessons at age 11, and studied music at the University of Michigan (1962–3) before transferring to the Mannes College of Music (...

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Janet K. Page

(b Minneapolis, MN, Aug 4, 1952).

American oboist and maker of historical oboes. He trained as an artist and oboist at the California Institute of the Arts, receiving a BFA in 1975. He began playing baroque oboe the same year, and has become one of the leading players of historical oboes in North America. He taught at the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music from ...

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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....

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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 ...

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Gordon Rumson

(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 ...

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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 ...

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Howard Schott

(b Petersfield, Aug 29, 1931). English maker of lutes and viols, lutenist and singer. He received his early musical training as a chorister at Winchester Cathedral, and was later an alto at St Albans Cathedral, New College, Oxford, and Ely Cathedral. He also studied aircraft design (graduate of the Royal Aeronautical Society, ...

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Chris Goertzen

(b Rugby, Grayson County, VA, 13March 1943). American Guitar maker and player. He is a noted luthier and player of fingerstyle steel-string guitar (in the manner of his relative Estil Ball) and a 1995 NEA National Heritage Fellow. Both his family and his immediate neighborhood were rich in players of traditional Appalachian music. He built his first guitar because he could not afford the instrument he wanted. After a few initial attempts that he has recalled with rueful humor, he has made and sold several hundred finely crafted guitars. The models he makes and the qualities he seeks recall the best of steel-string guitars made by C.F. Martin and Company before World War II. His principal teacher in the art of lutherie was Albert Hash, who is better known as a seminal figure in the White Top (Virginia) style of old-time Appalachian fiddling. Henderson now makes about 20 guitars per year—entirely by hand—plus a handful of mandolins. His craftsmanship has inspired many American luthiers, and his mandolin is played by Doc Watson. He spearheads the annual Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition, through which he raises funds to support students of Appalachian traditional music. He has toured Asia under the auspices of the United States Information Agency....

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Ron Emoff

(b Wanda, MN, Dec 25, 1922; d New Ulm, MN, Dec 11, 2007). American maker and player of concertinas. Of Bohemian ancestry, he grew up listening to his mother, Anna Schroeder Hengel, sing German folk songs and popular tunes while accompanying herself on the organ. He was greatly influenced and inspired by concertina player “Whoopee” John Wilfahrt, also of Bohemian ancestry, whose recordings he heard as a child. At the age of 14 Hengel acquired his first button accordion, a mail-order Hohner factory-built instrument. He later switched to the Chemnitzer-style concertina (a bisonoric button instrument that sounds different pitches on the pushing in or pulling out of thee bellows). He never learned to read music instead playing entirely by ear. He performed with the Jolly Brewers Band and the Six Fat Dutchmen during the 1950s; he also played with Wilfahrt’s band. In ...

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Alec Hyatt King

(b Stuttgart, Sept 15, 1913; d Stuttgart, April 11, 1991). German player and maker of the musical glasses. Having studied the piano, the organ and singing, he specialized from 1929 in the musical glasses. He constructed a chromatic instrument with a compass of four octaves and developed an impressive technique in playing on it (...

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Ivor Benyon and Laura Prichard

(b Shanghai, China, Oct 17, 1925). Classical harmonica virtuoso, instrument designer, and manufacturer of Chinese birth. After immigrating to the United States in 1953 he worked for Hohner for many years, designing the first Hohner products made in the United States. These included the Professional ...

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Murray Lefkowitz

(b Zürich, July 21, 1929; d Dec 12, 2006). English string instrument maker and viol player of Swiss origin. He was trained as a violin maker at the Schweizerische Geigenbauschule in Brienz under Adolf König, from 1946 to 1950, passing his examinations with distinction. In Switzerland he made violins, violas, cellos, double basses, viols, quintons and guitars. He also studied the cello as a performer. In ...

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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 ...

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Dorothy de Val

(b Kecskemét, nr Szeged, Feb 19, 1863; d Mt Pélerin, nr Vevey, Oct 20, 1931). Hungarian composer, pianist and inventor. The son of a cantor, he studied in Prague, Budapest and Vienna before travelling to America in 1885 to pursue a career as a pianist and conductor. In ...

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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 ...

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Paula Conlon

(b Fletcher, OK, July 3, 1932; d Lawton, OK, March 5, 1996). Native American (Comanche) maker and player of juniper flutes. He attended the Fort Sill Indian School and Haskell Indian Institute. He learned flute making from the Kiowa maker Belo Cozad (...