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Warren Burt

(Rosalie Edith )

(b Geelong, Victoria, Aug 18, 1951). Australian composer, performer, installation and sound artist, instrument inventor, writer, educator, and researcher. Her early education consisted of high school in both Australia and Canada, followed by a BA (1971, Monash University), Dip Ed (1973, Monash), MA (1974, Monash), and PhD (1983, Monash). An interest in experimental music is apparent from her earliest compositions, many of which involve performance in specific places, improvisation, electronics, graphic notation, and the use of self-built and specially built instruments. These include Improvisations in Acoustic Chambers, 1981, and Soft and Fragile: Music in Glass and Clay, 1982. By 1977 an interest in sound installation and sound sculpture had become well established in her work (Winds and Circuits, Surfaces and Cavities), and is an area in which she has continued to the present day, having presented nearly 50 sound installations worldwide.

Bandt has also been involved in creating electro-acoustic works, often in collaboration with broadcasting organizations; work for or with radio forms a significant portion of her output. Many of these works, while using real-world elements, take a more narrative or illustrative approach to their material compared to the abstractionism of much electro-acoustic work. An electro-acoustic work such as ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Napier, New Zealand, May 14, 1946). Intermedia artist whose transdisciplinary practice includes video/sound work and installations, experimental instruments, graphic scores, and improvisation. He studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland (DipFA Hons, 1971) and the University of West Sydney, Nepean (MA Hons, 2000). Since the early 1970s his sound-based artworks have involved newly invented instruments. A member of the original Scratch Orchestra in London (1968–9), Dadson founded Scratch Orchestra (NZ) in 1970 and later From Scratch (1974–2004). A key part of From Scratch’s development was instrument invention, from using found objects to making unique, custom-designed devices. Tunings evolved from randomly pitched sounds to 12-note and microtonal tunings, and just intonation. Central to this development were tuned percussion stations composed of rack-supported, four-tiered assemblies of PVC pipes, tuned-tongue bamboos and bells (in which parallel slots cut in the materials produce a vibrating tongue matching the resonant frequency of the open or closed tubes), and roto-tom drums, combined with special methods of playing. These percussion stations, along with other novel struck and spun acoustic instruments, produced the characteristic From Scratch sound. More recent instruments include the Zitherum (long-stringed instruments that are drummed and bowed), the metal-pronged Nundrum, the stroked RodBaschet, the gong tree, Foley-trays, the Water Cooler Drumkit, water bells, the Gloop-spring-string-drum family, the Sprong family, and other fanciful types....

Article

W.D. Jordan

Australian firm of organ builders. Josiah Eustace Dodd (b Melbourne, 16 Aug 1856; d Adelaide, 30 Jan 1952) was apprenticed to George Fincham of Melbourne in 1869. In 1881 Fincham established a new firm in Adelaide in partnership with one of his former apprentices, Arthur Hobday. Already considered one of the best tradesmen in Australia, Dodd was appointed co-manager of this venture, which traded as Fincham & Hobday (see Fincham & Sons). He became sole manager following Hobday’s return to Melbourne in 1888 and in 1894 he purchased the business for £1200. Dodd established an office in Perth in 1903. It was managed by his elder son, Ebenezer, and in the same year it began reconstruction and enlargement of the notable organ in St George’s Cathedral, Perth. Agencies were also established at Auckland (1908) and Melbourne (1920). At times Dodd had agents in London and Sydney. The firm had been repairing pianos and reed organs from about ...

Article

W.D. Jordan

Australian firm of organ builders. It was founded by George Fincham (b London, 25 Aug 1828; d Melbourne, 21 Dec 1910), the pioneer of Australian organ building. The family originated in the English village of Fincham, Norfolk. George’s father Jonathan George Fincham (1796–1863) and grandfather John (b 1754) were both organ builders. In 1901 George’s son Leslie Valentine Hunter (1879–1955) became a partner in the firm, which continued under the direction of Leslie’s son George Bowring (b 1917) and grandson David George (b 31 Jan 1944).

George Fincham was apprenticed to Henry Bevington in London (1843–9) and then worked as foreman for James Bishop & Son, London, and Forster & Andrews of Hull. He emigrated to Australia in 1852, intending to establish an organ-building enterprise; he set up his first factory in Richmond, Melbourne, in 1862...

Article

Michael Atherton

(bMelbourne, April 8, 1940). Australian recorder maker. He began making hand-made instruments in 1970, after visiting workshops and instrument collections in Europe and the USA with the assistance of a Churchill Memorial Fellowship. His craft is based on the study of old instruments, and he has made recorders modelled on those of Denner, Stanesby the elder, Bressan, Bizey and Italian makers of the 16th and 17th centuries, using European boxwood and Canadian maple. He has also designed new instruments of many sizes and types, including flageolets and large Renaissance recorders. In 1989 he employed an assistant, Dieter Mücker, a specialist wood-turner and tool maker. Morgan's instruments are regarded as some of the finest of the 20th century, and they may be heard on a large number of recordings made since 1975, including Frans Brüggen's performance of Corelli's Sonatas op.5. Other players of Morgan recorders include Kees Boeke, Walter van Hauwe and Dan Laurin....

Article

James B. Kopp

(Victor )

(b Montreal, Canada, Nov 27, 1952). Instrument inventor and maker, based in Australia. From the age of ten, Pollak studied clarinet, piano, and music theory privately in Sydney. He began making bamboo flutes in 1971 and from 1973 ran community workshops in instrument making, beginning with flutes and panpipes. In 1976 he measured instruments in European collections and studied early woodwind making under John Hanchet in Breiteneich, Austria. Moving to London in 1977, he continued his study under Hanchet at the London College of Furniture, producing Renaissance flutes. He also studied bagpipes in Macedonia, and began to produce them in London after Macedonian and Bulgarian models; he continued this speciality on returning to Australia in 1979.

From 1980 Pollak began to make instruments from various house and garden objects, often introducing them in Australian, European, and East Asian festival productions. These included his ‘garden hose panpipes’, ‘watering can clarinet’, ‘rubber glove bagpipes’, and flutes and clarinets made of carrots. In ...

Article

Richard Toop

(b Maidstone, Feb 19, 1951). Australian violinist, improviser, composer, radical luthier, and Hörspiel maker, born in England. Despite gaining a music scholarship for secondary school study, from his mid-teens he was essentially self-taught. After a few years performing and composing in a variety of genres in England, as well as beginning to create experimental string instruments, mainly based on easily affordable Chinese violins, in the mid-seventies he moved to Australia, where he rapidly emerged as a leading figure in a thriving free improvisation scene. In the process, he adopted a notably critical, polemical stance vis-à-vis those fully notated compositions that left no scope for improvisation. In 1986 he moved to Berlin, partly to facilitate work on his project The Relative Violin, which takes a sort of Gesamtkunstwerk approach to the instrument (performing, composing, designing, constructing). He relocated to Australia in 2003.

While Rose’s work tends, understandably, to be assessed in terms of its most radical elements (he has performed with musicians such as Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, John Zorn, and Bob Ostertag) it is, in fact, very eclectic in orientation. As an improviser, he not only has access to the entire canon of virtuoso classical violin technique, but is also at home with its jazz practice from Stuff Smith onwards, as well as any number of regional (ethnic) practices....

Article

W.D. Jordan

(William)

(bKogarah, Aug 8, 1929). Australian organ builder. He is self-taught, and built his first organ in 1960 for St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. Between 1960 and 1982 he built numerous organs for Australian colleges, chuches and concert halls, also constructing ten medieval-style hand-pumped portative organs, each with one or two stops and 20–40 pipes. Between 1969 and 1979 Sharp built his most important instrument, for the Sydney Opera House. At the time this was the world’s largest mechanical-action organ. It has five manuals, 127 stops and 10,500 pipes and is acknowledged as one of the most successful concert organs of the 20th century. The façade, Positiv and Brustwerk pipes are by Jacques Stinkens (Zeist), the large reeds and some of the wooden pipes are by Laukhuff (Weikersheim) and other reed pipes were made by Carl Geisecke (Göttingen). The console, wind-chests and some of the wooden pipes were made by Sharp from local timber....

Article

Michael Atherton

(bIslington, London, 1880; dCanberra, May 16, 1978). Australian violin maker of English origin. He emigrated to Australia in 1909 and established a workshop in Sydney. By the 1930s he had become known internationally for his repair work and for his copies of the Stradivari violins belonging to Yehudi Menuhin, Tossi Spivakovsky and David Oistrakh. In 1949 he became the first Australian to be elected to the International Society of Violin and Bow Makers. He is regarded as the founder of violin making in Australia. Although Smith admired local timbers for their variety and beauty, as an emulator of Cremonese tradition he chose European timbers. However, he experimented with local gums and resins, devising hundreds of varnish recipes. He developed an innovative method for tuning violin plates. Rather than using the customary ‘tap tone’ method, he placed the plates on a flat surface at particular nodal points, bowing them along the edge with a violin bow to assess their resonances. Smith made over 200 instruments. During World War II he also made strings....

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Australian piano manufacturing firm. It was founded by Wayne Stuart (b 28 March 1954, Ulverstone, Tasmania) in 1990 and is based in Newcastle. From 2000, the firm operated independently under the name Piano Australia Pty Ltd in conjunction with J. Albert & Son, an Australian music publishing and production firm. Stuart studied piano technology at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music (now the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and later with Nippon Gakki (Yamaha), Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Steinway, Grotrian-Steinweg, and Louis Renner.

Stuart set out to design a piano combining traditional and new technologies that would increase dynamic range and sustaining power. A core feature is a metal agraffe for string coupling at the bridge that bends the wire in the vertical plane instead of the normal horizontal plane, so as to encourage the wire to vibrate in the same plane as the hammer strike and discourage elliptical and non-vertical oscillations during the decay, thus producing a more regular decay pattern with an even and long sustain....