( 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 ...
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 1959–60 at the Vienna Music Academy he studied harpsichord with Eta Harich-Schneider and had private lessons with Isolde Ahlgrimm (1959–60); he also studied at the Amsterdam Conservatory with Gustav Leonhardt (1960–61). After resuming his career as organist in Montreal, he served as musician-in-residence at the Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, Ontario (1962–3), and then entered the workshop of Frank Hubbard in Waltham, Massachusetts, to learn the craft of instrument making. In 1968 he moved to Paris as chief restorer in the Conservatoire workshop then being established under Frank Hubbard's direction. At the same time Bédard set up his own workshop with a small staff where he undertook restorations for other collections and produced harpsichords modelled on historical prototypes....
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 (1928–33) and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1933–9), then with the Chicago Philharmonic (1939–49) and also with the WGN (radio) staff orchestra (1939–53). Around 1934 Benge started to experiment in his basement with trumpet construction. He sold his first trumpet in 1935; in 1953 he moved to Burbank, California, to devote himself exclusively to manufacturing.
On his death the business passed to his son Donald (1933–2007), who in 1970 sold it to Leisure Time Industries of Los Angeles. After that, the company changed hands rapidly: in 1972 to the H.N. White Co. (King), who moved it to Anaheim, also expanding the number of models, then to Eastlake, Ohio, in ...
revised by 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 1962 he began working with the architect and organ historian Joseph E. Blanton in Victoria, Texas, to develop organ designs. He also did freelance organ work, and in 1965 entered the employ of Sipe-Yarbrough of Dallas, working under Robert L. Sipe, ultimately becoming vice-president of the firm. In 1967 Bozeman received a Fulbright scholarship to study organ and harpsichord performance in Vienna with Anton Heiller and Isolde Ahlgrimm, and organ building with Joseph Mertin (1904–98). He also travelled extensively in Europe, visiting and documenting organs. Upon his return in 1968 he went to work for Fritz Noack.
In 1971 Bozeman established his own shop in Lowell, Massachusetts, and the following year entered into partnership with David V. Gibson (...
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 (1963–9), where he won a Harpsichord Music Society scholarship for study with Sylvia Marlowe. While at Mannes, he worked as a contract tuner and salesman for Wolfgang Joachim Zuckermann, and during the summers of 1965–9, he worked at the Eric Herz shop, primarily on harpsichord actions. In 1965, he served as Marlowe’s harpsichord technician during her South American tour. In 1969–70, he built his first harpsichord, an Italian virginal. From 1970 to 1972 he apprenticed with Frank Hubbard and served as shop foreman. From 1972 to 1979 he maintained his own workshop, first in Lebanon, New Hampshire, later in Norwich, Vermont, where he completed 18 harpsichords, including five French double-manual instruments after Michel Richard, two Flemish singles after Andreas Ruckers, two French doubles after Ruckers/Blanchet, an Italian single after Giusti, and a Flemish double after Dulcken....
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 1985 to 1989. Dalton began to make oboes in 1976, one of several American makers then beginning to focus on that instrument.
As an oboe maker, Dalton is primarily self-taught, although he was influenced by the flute maker Rod Cameron and the recorder maker David Ohannessian. He began with drawings (of Michel Piguet’s Rottenburgh oboe) obtained from Friedrich von Huene, and from 1977 he studied instruments in museum collections. Dalton tries to revive an instrument’s intrinsic playing qualities, as revealed by its materials, proportions, and music, and he has experimented with construction techniques, finishes, key-making, and staple and reed design. He has devoted special attention to tuning and pitch and was one of the first Americans to make oboes at a′ = 392. His baroque oboe production includes several instruments by J.H. Eichentopf (oboe d’amore, oboe, taille de hautbois); he also makes models after N. Hotteterre, the “Galpin” oboe, J.C. Denner (taille de hautbois), and Anciuti. He is especially noted for his classical-period instruments, after Grundmann and Floth. Except for the period from ...
(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 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 gyilli and he was a practised maker by age 15. After secondary school Doozie moved to Accra to become a xylophonist with the Ghana Dance Ensemble. He was also an instructor at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. Among other appointments, he has performed with the National SO Ghana and has been associated with the Institute of African Studies and the music and performing arts departments of the University of Ghana. In 1990 he established a workshop to produce xylophones; he made the xylophones used in the Broadway production of The Lion King. He has also restored instruments in museum collections. He continues to teach and perform and is managing director of Dagarti Arts and Music in Accra and a member of the Arts Council of Ghana. He is also involved in promoting fair trade practices. Doozie’s xylophone bars—from eight to 18 for each instrument—are made of aged, fire-dried planks of wood from male shea trees. Gourd resonators are affixed under the bars, which are tied to the curved frame. The tips of the wooden beaters are padded with rubber recycled from tyres....
(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....
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 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, 1953). He made his first lute in 1956 and studied with Diana Poulton; in 1958 he set up as an instrument maker in Oxford, then moved in 1960 to Ely, where he was soon joined by John Isaacs, his partner until 1972. He made his début as a professional lutenist in 1960, when he demonstrated as a performer the musical effect of the lighter construction and low-tension stringing which he advocated as a maker. In 1964 he received the Tovey Prize for his research into the sources of English lute music. He founded the Campian Consort in ...
(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....
(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 1953 Hengel acquired the entire contents of the Chicago factory of Otto Schlicht (maker of concertinas under the brand names Patek and Pearl), and in ...
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 (see Musical glasses). He became known as a soloist in the 1930s, and was first heard in London on 9 March 1938 in the London Museum (then in Lancaster House, St James’s), where, with Geoffrey Gilbert, Frederick Riddle, Leon Goossens and James Whitehead, he gave a memorable performance of Mozart’s Quintet for armonica, flute, viola, oboe and cello (
revised by 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 2012 and 2016 CBH (replacing internal metal slides with Delrin plastic resin; trademarked with his initials) and the Chordomonica series (multi-chord instruments with two slides which allow the player to produce melody and accompanying harmony). He founded his own brand in 1983 (Huang Harmonicas, Farmingdale, NY).
Huang plays the instrument “upside-down,” with the bass on the right, as his first Hohner instrument had the top and bottom plates installed in reverse; however, he is right-handed, so his personal instruments retain the slide button on the right end. He holds dual degrees in music and engineering from the Shanghai Conservatory and St. John’s University, Shanghai (...
(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 1950 he moved to Haslemere, England, where he worked for the firm of Arnold Dolmetsch, making and repairing viols and studying the bass viol with Nathalie Dolmetsch. In 1952 he joined the firm of Albert Arnold Ltd and worked under C.W. Jacklin in string instrument repairing, meanwhile continuing to make viols in his spare time. Kessler began his own workshop in Welling, Kent, in September 1955, and in 1959 moved to London. During this time his instruments, particularly his viols, became increasingly popular, and he was also active as a performer, touring and recording throughout Europe and the USA at various times with the Elizabethan Consort, the English Consort of Viols and the Jaye Consort of Viols. In ...
(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 friedrich von Huene , Anthony Baines, william Dowd , and Gerrit and Henk Klop. Eventually, his company offered Renaissance- and Baroque-style recorders, cornetti, shawms, and dulcians (fagotti), as well as Baroque and Classical bassoons and oboes. Levin dissolved the company in 1990 to pursue a career in software development and technical writing, but his instruments continue to be sought after and remain in use worldwide.
Levin graduated from the Manhattan School of Music (BA, 1967), where he studied modern bassoon with Elias Carmen. He became a faculty member at the Oberlin College Baroque Performance Institute (...
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 1888 he settled in England, but travelled frequently to the continent for performances of his works and was encouraged by Brahms, whom he met in 1889. In England his work was championed by George Henschel, who conducted his First Symphony, the Concert Overture and the Piano Concerto in D; the concerto shares with the Second Symphony (1895) a distinctive Hungarian style in its strong rhythms and harmonies. In 1901 Moór moved to Switzerland, where he turned increasingly to opera. Diverse in style and favourably received (most were staged), the operas were nonetheless dropped from the repertory before long, and Moór continued with instrumental composition, finding champions in such performers as Casals (the dedicatee of several works), Marteau, Eugene Ysaÿe and Flesch. Highly rhapsodic and coloured, Moór’s music was often inspired by the contrapuntal complexity of J.S. Bach, as well as by his own Hungarian and Jewish background; despite the musical innovations of the first decades of the twentieth century, Moór’s work remained rooted in the nineteenth century....
(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 ...
[‘Doc’ Tate ]
(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 (1864–1950) and the Lakota maker Richard Fool Bull (1887–1976). He used the traditional method of splitting the wood, carving the channel, boring the holes, and inserting the plug, then gluing the flute back together with sap, binding it with leather thongs, and attaching the external block. His first album, Indian Flute Songs from Comanche Land (NAM 401C, n.d.), was the first commercial recording consisting entirely of music for solo Indian flute. He introduced new playing techniques, including cross-fingerings to extend the range, and extending the warbling sound on the lowest tone to all the available pitches, thus expanding the flute’s repertoire and contributing to its revival in the latter 20th century. Tate (the English name given to him) was recognized as a National Heritage Fellow in ...