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Article

Jaak Liivoja-Lorius

(fl Milan, c1737–63). Italian violin maker. His violins are roughly reminiscent of Giovanni Grancino’s model although without its symmetry. The craftsmanship rarely approaches any degree of refinement, though the tonal qualities invariably rise above these limitations, and authentic examples in good condition command respectable prices. The varnish on the better instruments is a reddish-brown, most of the others being a clear yellow-brown. Alberti took over Grancino’s shop, which is acknowledged on his printed labels: ‘Ferdinando Alberti in Contrada/Larga di Milano a Segno della/Corona F. l’Anno 17 –’ or ‘Ferdinando Alberti fece in Milano/nella Contrada del pesce al Segno/della Corona l’Anno 17–’. (R. Vannes: ...

Article

Christopher Larkin

German family firm of wind instrument makers. The business, located in Mainz, was established in 1782 by Franz Ambros Alexander (b Miltenberg, July 22, 1753; d Mainz, Dec 1, 1802), who was described in a Mainz Cathedral report of the same year as a wood-turner and wind instrument maker. Portraits depict Franz Ambros and his son Philipp (1787–1864) with clarinets. After his death, Alexander's business was continued by his widow and two of his sons, Claudius (1783–1816) and Philipp, later joined by a third, Kaspar Anton (1803–72). Under the direction of Philipp and Kaspar Anton the firm became known as Gebrüder Alexander, the name it still bears. Kaspar Anton's two sons Franz Anton (1838–1926) and Georg Philip (i) (1849–97) became the third generation to direct the company. Woodwind instruments, mainly for military use, were the firm's main products until the mid-19th century. By that time, however, band instrumentation had become more brass orientated; after Philipp's death in ...

Article

Barbara Garvey Jackson and Ursula M. Rempel

In 

Article

Robert E. Eliason

(b 1736; d Philadelphia, Dec 29, 1804). American woodwind instrument maker of German birth. He was one of the earliest woodwind makers to take his skills to the New World. He arrived in Philadelphia about 1764 and continued in business as a turner and musical instrument maker until his death in ...

Article

Astor  

Niall O’Loughlin

English and American firm of instrument makers, publishers and dealers. The two founders were the sons of Jacob Astor, a merchant of Mannheim. George [Georg] (Peter) Astor (b Waldorf [now Walldorf], nr Heidelberg, April 28, 1752; d London, Dec 1813), after an initial visit to London, decided to establish a business there with his brother John [Johann] Jacob Astor (b Waldorf, July 17, 1763; d New York, 29/March 30, 1848). This operated as George & John Astor at 26 Wych Street c 1778–83. In 1783 John left for the USA to sell flutes. He rapidly also became involved in the fur trade and built up a highly profitable business exporting furs to England and importing musical instruments for sale in the USA. In 1809 he established a fur trading company; this and the purchase of land in the Bowery laid the foundations of the Astor wealth....

Article

E. Eugene Helm

revised by Martin Elste

(b Berlin, 1748; d Berlin, May 26, 1809). German viol player and instrument maker. He was a viol player in the royal chapel from 1765, and in 1770, together with J.F.E. Benda, he established the Berlin Liebhaberkonzerte. With Benda’s death in 1785 Bachmann succeeded him as director of the concerts; in the same year he married the noted singer and pianist Charlotte Caroline Wilhelmine Stöwe. Throughout this period he also made instruments in the shop of his father, the violin maker and court violinist Anton Bachmann (1716–1800), and may have been responsible for several innovations, including a screw-tuning mechanism for double basses which he introduced in about 1778, although a similiar mechanism was already known in France, having been developed by Benoît Fleury in 1766. He continued alone in his father’s business from 1791, at about which time he passed the directorship of the Liebhaberkonzerte to his younger brother, the court violinist Friedrich Wilhelm Bachmann (...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

(d London, Jan 1778). Dutch or German maker of harpsichords and pianos, active in England. He worked at 22 Great Jermyn Street, London, from 1763 to 1778. Writing to the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1812, James Shudi Broadwood attributed the invention of the English grand-piano action to the ‘Dutchman’ Backers in 1772. It was not until 90 years later that Henry Fowler Broadwood wrote, in his observations on his father's manuscript notes, that John Broadwood and Robert Stodart had assisted Backers with his invention; since Backers had advertised his ‘Original Forte Piano’ in the Public Advertiser of 1 March 1771, claiming that it was ‘no Copy, being entirely his own Invention’, Backers must have been primarily responsible. The English grand action was an improvement on the action invented by Cristofori: the intermediary underhammer was removed, allowing the hopper to work directly on the notch in the butt of the hammer, and a regulating button and screw to control the escapement was incorporated. Simple but perfect, it was a direct lever action and became standard as the English grand action. (For illustration ...

Article

Roger J.V. Cotte

[Ennal, Charles-Ernest]

(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 ...

Article

Philip J. Kass

(b Füssen, Bavaria, May 10, 1712; d Naples, Feb 5, 1763). German violin maker. He moved to Naples early in his career. His violins closely resemble those of the Gagliano family, particularly Nicola, suggesting that he learnt his craft in that workshop. The relative scarcity of his work (only violins are known) is probably due to his short lifespan. His instruments are usually on the small side, in conformity with the Gaglianos’. His varnish is typically Neapolitan and ranges from deep red-orange to gold. He appears to have used the same printed label throughout his career, with his initials contained in a circle following the date. There is also at least one example branded on the button with the letters ‘G B N’ (his initials and city) enclosed in a shield....

Article

Charles Beare

(fl Mantua, c1750–80). Italian violin maker. On his labels he called himself a Cremonese, but the surviving instruments were made in Mantua. The pattern and style of the best of his work draws much more from Cremona than from Mantua, and he may well have been trained in the first city before setting up on his own in the second. Some of his instruments show the influence of Camillus Camilli, his contemporary in Mantua. His best violins are of a flat Stradivarian model, giving a powerful sound that makes them sought after as solo instruments. He made a large number of violins and an occasional cello, but few, if any, violas. His varnish was often a dull red-brown colour and wore off easily, though sometimes he used an orange varnish of fine quality. (...

Article

Guy Bourligueux

Spanish family of organ builders. José Ballesteros y Latuente (bc1710; d ?Valladolid, after 1763) established himself at Valladolid and restored the organs at Mucientes (1730), Villaverde de Medina (1755) and S María de Torrelobatón (1762–3); he also offered his services for instruments at Villabáñez (1733) and Castromocho. He was asked to inspect the organ built by Manuel González Galindo at Becerril de Campos. Valentín (b ?1740–50; d ?Valladolid, after 1782) was possibly his son; he worked at Tordehumos (1772–9), probably at the church of S Miguel, and repaired organs at Torremormojón (1777) and La Pedraja de Portillo (1778). In 1779 he set himself up in Valladolid and built the organ at S Pedro de Alcazarén (1781–2). Angel Ballesteros might have been Valentín’s son or grandson; he also worked at Valladolid and repaired the organ at Cogeces de Iscar (...

Article

Charles Beare

(b ?Salisbury, July 14, 1727; d Salisbury, Feb 18, 1795). English violin maker and instrument dealer. He lived and worked in Salisbury and, with Forster, did much to raise the standard of English violin making in the second half of the 18th century. Banks possibly learnt his craft from a relative or in London, perhaps with Wamsley. His woodwork, using native sycamore for backs and sides and pine for tops, looks like that of Duke and Joseph Hill, but he had even more in common with William Forster (i), since both used a thick, dark red oil-varnish, previously unknown in England. Banks might have worked in London on his own for a time, but most of his instruments are labelled from Salisbury. Banks is, like Forster, particularly famous for the many cellos he made. His violas were of the small size fashionable at the time and are less appreciated now, but his violins, though rare, are very good instruments tonally and sometimes pass for Italian. Of the cellos, most are built on a reduced Amati pattern and are very similar to the work of the Forsters, both in appearance and tone. Occasionally, however, Banks made a cello with features of Stradivari, and these are excellent in every way. Bows were sometimes branded by him, though they were doubtless made for him, and he was careful to brand his instruments, sometimes in many places. Some of the later instruments were made for and branded by the London firm of Longman & Broderip, who also employed lesser makers....

Article

Jeannie Campbell

(bap. Edinburgh, Scotland, Dec 5, 1680; d Edinburgh, Sept 1753). Highland Scottish turner, evidently a bagpipe maker. In 1712 he made billiard balls for the officer in charge of Edinburgh Castle. On all the birth records of children born to Barclay and his wife Elizabeth Arbuthnet in Edinburgh parish, 1712–24, he was described as a turner. He does not appear in any apprentice rolls or in the Edinburgh burgess rolls. In 1744 ‘Adam Barclay turner’ was listed with several other Edinburgh burgesses appointed as an assize for a trial. No instruments of his are known and nothing is known about his pipe making apart from the information contained in a receipt of 1748 found among the Clan Donald papers. This is a payment from Sir James McDonald to Adam Barclay of £3—3 on 19 Sept 1748 ‘To a sett of Hyland Pipes of cocawood mounted with ivory’.

J. Campbell...

Article

(b Oct 3, 1777; d ?London, after 1841). English harp maker, active in London. He produced instruments for Edward Light and advertised as a harp maker on Frith Street and in 1826 at 105 Wardour St. He married Ann Buchinger (Buckinger), daughter of Joseph Buchinger (b Westminster, 30 July 1750; d 15 Dec 1830), music publisher, seller, and instrument maker at addresses on the Strand (1785–1811), Frith Street, Lisle Street, and Greek Street (1829). In 1828 Buchinger, who lived with the Barrys, was listed as a piano maker; he also made harps, and at the time of his death he was a tuner. He played the viola, bass viol, and lute. From about 1780 he was in partnership with Elizabeth Carr, widow of Benjamin Carr, musical instrument maker, trading as Carr & Buckinger at Old Round Court, Strand. Their partnership dissolved in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

(fl c1780–90). French keyboard instrument maker. Little is known about him; possibly he was related to the harpsichord builder Jean Bas of Marseille. A grand piano (1781, US.V.n) by Louis Bas, the earliest known French grand (excepting Johann Heinrich Silbermann’s from Strasbourg), is inscribed ‘Villeneuve lès Avignon’ on its interior. Inscriptions on two spinets seem to indicate that he worked in Marseille in 1783 and Lyon in 1786. The 1781 grand is double strung throughout, has a compass of F″–g , a painted case (later stripped), and an ornately decorated soundboard like a contemporary French harpsichord’s. At one time the piano apparently had dampers (now missing) held in upper and lower guides like those of a harpsichord. Damper and una corda effects were controlled by knee levers or pedals (missing). Its inverted wrestplank and action resemble those by Cristofori, but with significant differences: the keys are guided by end pins that move in a slotted rack; the pearwood escapement jacks looks like harpsichord jacks but with the top shaped into a T, and they are mounted in holders attached to the key levers with threaded iron wire; the action lacks a check. The treble is scaled for iron strings similarly to Silbermann pianos but has a strike point much closer to the nut, producing a brighter tone. These features point to a Cristofori influence that might have arrived in France via Silbermann....

Article

(b Moscow province, 1767; d St Petersburg, 18/June 30, 1841). Russian violin maker. He was sometimes called the ‘Russian Stradivari’. He is said to have studied keyboard instrument making in St Petersrom 1803 to 1805. He was a serf of Count N.P. Sheremetev, in whose residence he maintained a workshop for making and restoring bowed and plucked instruments. Batov cared for the violin collection of Alexander I and presented the czar with a violin he made in 1814; Alexander is said also to have paid 2000 rubles for a violin of Batov’s. Count Sheremetev granted freedom to Batov and his family in 1822 as a reward for an outstanding cello Batov had made. In 1829 he received a silver medal for a violin and cello he exhibited in St Petersburg as part of the first public exhibition of products manufactured in Russia. The first Russian luthier to achieve recognition across Europe, Batov made instruments known for their delicate and unique timbre. His designs were indebted to Stradivari, but his technique was more aligned with the French masters. Batov made instruments for prominent concert artists including the German cellist Bernhard Romberg. A festival of Russian instrument makers is named for Batov. (I. Yampolsky: ...

Article

Niall O’Loughlin

revised by Denis Watel

(fl Paris, France, c1791–1827). French woodwind instrument maker. In 1803–4 he worked at 282 rue St Honoré, Paris, and from 1809 to 1827 at 23 rue de la Bibliothèque. Surviving instruments include flageolets, flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and a bass horn. Baumann reportedly advertised contrabassoons and bass serpents in 1825, and his keyed serpent was praised in 1835 in Hermenges’s serpent tutor. He is particularly notable for his varied range of clarinets (in E♭, C, B♭, A, and high F), with five to 12 square keys. Pillar-mounted, the sixth key was a closed key for c′/g′′, as required by the player Jean Xavier Lefèvre in his clarinet tutor. Sets of six-key clarinets in B♭ and C with corps de rechange for A and B♮, and two early Muller-system clarinets survive in private collections. Jean Jacques Baumann is often confused with the horn player Joseph Baumann....

Article

G. Kaleschke

(b Germany, 1714; d Germany, 1794). German organ builder. Initially a carpenter, he began work as an organ builder about 1749 and was probably apprenticed to the Stumm brothers in Rhaunen-Sulzbach. His work was restricted to the Zweibrücken area, where he was respected as a capable organ builder and surveyor. His 12 or so surviving single-manual organs have colourful specifications with characteristic stops (Streicherstimmen, Cornett, Trompete Diskant); the most important is at Bad Bergzabern (formerly in the Schlosskirche). Of his children, only Konrad Isaac (b 1750; d 1787) and Matthias Christian (b Annweiler, Germany, April 29, 1740; d Zweibrücken, Germany, Jan 19, 1816) are noteworthy. The latter trained with his father and worked on the organ of the Karlskirche in Zweibrücken in 1758 and 1764. He was a citizen of Zweibrücken in 1766 and became organ builder to the duchy. Despite his extensive sphere of activity, only three organs can be attributed to him. He was also active as a piano maker; six of his square pianos survive, all with divided damper mechanisms. One of them (...

Article

Heike Fricke

(bc1708; d Vienna, Austria, July 17, 1775). Austrian woodwind maker. Variant spellings such as R. Paur, Rockobauer, Rockopauer, Ruckebauer, and Rochebaur presumably refer to the same person. In the parish books of St Michael’s Church in Vienna he is listed as a civic wind player (1741) and an oboist and violinist (1742–51), as well as an instrument maker (from 1753). After 1758 the family moved to Schoennbrunn am Neubau.

In 1762 Graf Philipp Karl zu Oettingen-Wallerstein instructed his Viennese court agent von Seeger to order from Baur four pairs of clarinets with cases and corps de rechange ‘as you sent to Mannheim’. Baur responded that the clarinets could be delivered with silver keys and ebony rings like the Mannheim clarinets, or with brass keys and horn rings, priced 25% less. The clarinets were delivered in January 1763, and the Graf ordered more wind instruments from him in ...

Article

Darcy Kuronen

(b Boston, MA, March 29, 1798; d Canton, MA, Jan 5, 1883). American inventor, designer, and maker of free-reed instruments. He was a son of French Huguenot parents who came to Boston in 1788; his father, trained as a watchmaker, made and sold hardware, and no doubt Bazin gained from his father an interest in mechanics. His instruments had limited influence on later manufacturers, but are among the earliest of their type made in the USA. About 1821, Bazin developed an adjustable pitch pipe (US.B.mfa) with a sliding bar that presses against the reed to create multiple pitches; he sold these through Boston music stores. Soon afterwards he began to create various mouth-blown instruments with multiple reeds. The most elaborate, made in 1824, is a ‘reed trumpet’ with a chromatic range of three octaves, the reeds radiating from the centre of a disc and rotating past a stationary tubular mouthpiece; the sound emerges through a flared copper bell opposite the mouthpiece. He developed a diatonic harmonica by about ...