1-18 of 18 results  for:

  • The Americas x
  • Music Manager or Administrator x
Clear all

Article

Laurence Libin

(Delmetia )

(b Coleman County, TX, March 18, 1899; d at sea nr Los Angeles, CA, March 30, 1941). American inventor of musical instruments. He was co-founder of the National Stringed Instrument Corporation and the Rickenbacker guitar company. He played the violin and the lap steel (‘Hawaiian’) guitar in vaudeville before settling in Los Angeles, where he worked with John and Rudy Dopyera to develop an acoustically amplified guitar, probably inspired by Stroh models. An early model with a Victrola horn failed, but trials using conical aluminium resonators within a metal guitar body (a prototype of the three-cone Dobro guitar) proved successful and attracted investors. Production of metal-body guitars under the name National soon involved Adolph Rickenbacker’s nearby tool and die shop.

From the mid-1920s Beauchamp also experimented with electrical amplification of guitars (including lap steel and bass guitars) and violins of unconventional shape, without normal resonators but using simple phonograph pickups. After his collaboration with the Dopyeras ended, in ...

Article

Nancy Groce

(b London, c1815; fl New York, c1843–1872). American harp maker and dealer of English birth. He probably immigrated to New York in the late 1830s. Before leaving London, he trained at Érard’s harp shop, where according to his 1846 advertisement in the New York directory, he was granted a “Royal Letter of Patent” for his work. Although he claimed to have established a New York shop as early as 1841, no record of his firm has been found before 1843, when he was listed in the city directory as a “harp mauf” at 385 Broadway.

In 1844, Browne formed a short-lived partnership with the harp maker James Delveau. In an 1844 advertisement, Delveau & Browne advertised themselves as “Manufacturers of Improved Double-Action Harps … J.F. Browne respectfully informs his Friends in the Musical World that he has established himself in New York, for the manufacture and importing of these very beautiful instruments. His arrangements are such as to enable him to transact business at European prices, thereby saving the purchasers the high duties imposed by Tariff on these Instruments … Particular care is taken to fit them for the extremes of climate in this country … Prices $500–$750” (Bella C. Landauer Collection of Business and Advertising Ephemera, ...

Article

Nancy Groce

(b Germany; d New York, NY, 1884). Instrument importer and dealer of German birth. He immigrated to Macon, Georgia, in 1832. In 1834, Bruno moved to New York where he probably worked as a clerk or salesman for several years before being listed as a “book seller” at 212 Fulton Street in 1837. In 1838–9, he was listed at the same address as a dealer in “mus instrs.” In 1838, Bruno also formed the first of his many partnerships, this one with the famous guitar maker Christian F. Martin. Johnston, Boak, and Longworth assert that Bruno, who had “earlier worked for Martin as a bookkeeper,” signed a formal partnership agreement with the guitar maker on 1 May 1838, and that their partnership remained active at least until 29 November 1838.

Bruno’s Fulton Street shop probably served only as a retail outlet for Martin’s guitars, which were made elsewhere, as well as instruments by other makers. When Bruno & Martin dissolved, Bruno left New York for several years, apparently returning to the South, where in ...

Article

(b Troy, NY, 1833; d New York, April 10, 1875). American minstrel performer and manager. He began as a performer in the late 1840s, and made his first New York appearance with Charley White’s Serenaders in 1851. From 1852 to 1854 he and his brother Jerry performed with Wood’s Minstrels in New York, and late in the 1854 season he formed Bryant and Mallory’s Minstrels with Ben Mallory. By this time he was being advertised as ‘the unapproachable Ethiopian comedian’. In February 1857 he formed Bryant’s Minstrels with his brothers Jerry and Neil. As a versatile and brilliant performer, Bryant quickly became a public idol; the troupe performed with great success in New York until Bryant’s death in 1875, and also toured in California and elsewhere in 1867–8. Bryant’s Minstrels excelled in the portrayal of black ‘plantation life’, marking a return to the classic type of minstrelsy of the 1840s; they were also innovators, placing a greater emphasis on burlesque skits. Bryant engaged Dan Emmett in ...

Article

Robert E. Eliason

(b Danzig, Prussia, Oct 20, 1799; d Brooklyn, NY, Oct 29, 1884).

American maker of flutes and other instruments, musical instrument dealer, and music publisher of Prussian birth. Christman was principally a flute maker, though he or his workmen also made other woodwinds and some brass instruments. His only known patent concerned improvements to the flute.

Christman came to the United States in his early twenties, and was first listed in the New York City Directory of 1823. The earliest indications of his success are the exhibits of his flutes and flageolets by George Willig at the 1828, 1830, and 1831 Franklin Institute fairs in Philadelphia. The awards he won for instruments exhibited in the American Institute of the City of New York mechanic fairs illustrate his contributions to flute development of the time. For a 10-key flute in 1837, silver medal; for a 16-key flute in 1846...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

(b Leipzig, Dec 22, 1848; d Milan, Jan 5, 1922). American manufacturer of piano felts and soundboards and dealer in piano supplies. He began his career as an apprentice in the piano factory of A. Dolge & Co. in Leipzig, emigrating to the USA in 1866. From 1867 to 1869 he worked in the New Haven, Connecticut, shop of Frederick Mathushek (who had worked with J.H. Pape in Paris). He subsequently left to become an importer of piano supplies (skins for piano hammers and Poehlmann’s music wire), and by 1871, in Brooklyn, he was manufacturing hammer felts which in 1873 won a first prize at the Vienna Exhibition. The demand for good-quality felts led him to establish in 1874 a larger manufacturing concern in the Adirondack village of Brockett’s Bridge. With ample water power and a large timber supply for the making of soundboards, Dolge transformed the town (renamed Dolgeville in ...

Article

Nancy Groce

(b Canton, CT, Nov 11, 1833; d Brooklyn, NY, May 17, 1896).

American instrument dealer and collector. He was trained as a clock maker in Bristol, CT, and later worked as a machinist in Hartford, CT, before moving to New York in January 1852. The following year he became a clerk at Rohé & Leavitt, a firm of dealers at 31 Maiden Lane; on the partners’ retirement in 1863, Foote bought the company and continued it under his own name. Except for a short-lived partnership with John F. Stratton in 1865, as Stratton & Foote, “importer and manufacturer” of brass band instruments, he was sole manager for the next 30 years, dealing in string, woodwind, and brass instruments and serving as the sole American agent for several French manufacturers, including the firm of Courtois. A Chicago “branch house” of his business, under the management of W.H. Foote, was still in operation at the time of his death. An obituary in the ...

Article

Charles Beare and Philip J. Kass

[Francais, Jacques Pierre ]

(b Paris, France, July 3, 1923; d New York, NY, Feb 4, 2004). Violin dealer and restorer of French birth active in America. His family was involved with violin making since the end of the 19th century; their business origins can be traced back to Nicolas Lupot. Français was apprenticed to Victor Aubry at Le Havre during World War II, but after serving with the Army of Liberation he went to Mirecourt to work with Georges Apparut. He next went to New York to work in the Rudolph Wurlitzer shop and decided to stay and establish his own business, which he opened in 1951 in the New York premises vacated by Emil Herrmann. In addition to his activities as a dealer, he built up a good reputation for repairs and adjustments. In the mid-1960s he was joined by two first-class restorers from the Wurlitzer workshop, René Morel and Luiz Bellini. The scope of the business expanded and in the latter part of the century it cared for the needs of most of America’s finest string players. In ...

Article

Philip J. Kass

(b Kassel, Germany, June 26, 1858; d Peekskill, NY, July 8, 1943). American violin maker and dealer of German birth. In Germany he studied with Joseph Schonger of Kassel, Otto Möckel in Berlin, and W.H. Hammig in Leipzig. He had a workshop in Stuttgart until 1883, when he immigrated to New York, joining his brother William Friedrich Jr. (1854–1911), a musician, who had arrived there several years earlier. They founded the firm of John Friedrich & Brother in 1884. They were further assisted by William’s son William John Friedrich (1887–c1943), who was primarily a restorer. Their workshop became an important center in New York, establishing new standards for the American violin trade in its manner of dealing, its expertise, and the caliber of its repairs. The important American writer on the violin Ernest N. Doring was with the firm from 1893 until 1926. It ceased operations in ...

Article

Darcy Kuronen

(b Brighton, MA, Sept 9, 1829; d Boston, May 3, 1907). American instrument manufacturer and dealer. Haynes first entered the music business in 1845, when he was hired by the successful Boston music merchant Oliver Ditson (1811–1888), who ten years earlier had begun publishing music and selling instruments. By 1853 Haynes was given a financial interest in Ditson’s company, and in 1857 was made a co-partner. After the death of Ditson, Haynes became president of the corporation. By 1864 (though one source says as early as 1858), a separate entity known as J. C. Haynes & Company was formed at 33 Court Street to manufacture and distribute musical instruments, backed by the parent company of Ditson. By 1891 the business had added an address at 453 Washington Street, and by 1900 had discontinued the Court Street location. That same year Haynes’ company was amalgamated with Oliver Ditson and Company. An ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b England, c1818; d Brooklyn, NY, Feb 21, 1863).

American manufacturer of and dealer in cylinder pianos and barrel organs.

He was probably related to the Hicks family of street organ and piano makers in Bristol, Great Britain. He arrived in the United States after 1845 and his name first appeared in Brooklyn street directories in 1849. By 1856 he maintained a retail or manufacturing operation in Manhattan, but in 1860 he was again listed only in Brooklyn, where his family resided after his death. Although he was described in advertisements as a “maker,” it is uncertain whether he manufactured all the parts of his instruments, including their laboriously pinned cylinders, or assembled parts imported from England; the latter seems more likely. His products, of standard design and quality, were intended mainly for sale or rental to street musicians who carried the instruments on their backs. Some examples are equipped with percussion devices and with articulated, costumed figures that move in time to the music. Examples at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), and the Henry Ford Museum (Dearborn, Michigan) share a popular repertory that includes American patriotic tunes and ethnic pieces suitable for different neighborhoods. Their range, of approximately two octaves, is chiefly diatonic, with some chromatic notes....

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

(b Framingham, MA, 1820; d Watertown, MA, July 6, 1895). American music publisher and music and instrument dealer. According to several accounts he was a farmhand and fiddler. He compiled a large collection of fiddle tunes popular at local dances and persuaded the Boston publishers Wright & Kidder to publish it as The Musician’s Companion. As a result of his success in selling this collection from door to door, he opened a music shop in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1842, and set up a similar business in Boston in 1843. His books of arrangements and instrument instruction were popular: the Complete Preceptor for the Accordeon (1843) sold over 100,000 copies, and his violin self-mastery volumes sold over 500,000 copies. In 1850 he sold his catalogue to the Boston publisher Oliver Ditson and agreed not to publish music for ten years. During that period he lived on his newly acquired estate in South Framingham, managed the South Reading Ice Company and compiled editions of dance music and dance instruction books....

Article

Thomas Brett

(b Whittier, CA, Aug 24, 1955). American musical instrument designer, musician, producer, and executive. He is the founder of Linn Electronics and Roger Linn Design. In 1979, Linn Electronics released the LM-1, the first drum machine to use digital samples of real drum sounds. This was followed by the LinnDrum (1982) and the Linn 9000 (1984). The LinnDrum included controls to tune sounds and add accents; the Linn 9000 was the first unit with sampling capability. These three drum machines were widely used in 1980s pop and electronic dance music. After the closure of Linn Electronics in 1986, Linn collaborated with the Japanese electronics company Akai to design their MPC (music production center) series of audio sampling, MIDI sequencing, and drum machine workstations. These units, especially the MPC60 (1988), became popular tools in hip-hop production. In 2001 Linn founded Roger Linn Design, which manufactures the AdrenaLinn, a digital effects processor for guitar. Created in collaboration with Dave Smith (founder of Sequential Circuits) and Tom Oberheim (inventor of the first polyphonic synthesizer), the AdrenaLinn incorporates a sequencer and numerous effects that synchronize to an internal drum machine or an external MIDI source. In interviews, Linn has described his ongoing interest in designing new electronic instruments that overcome the sonic and mechanical limitations of traditional acoustic instruments. In ...

Article

Laurence Libin

[Theodore M. ]

(b Somerset, KY, 1910; d Twin Falls, ID, April 1, 2001). American guitar company executive and pioneer in the development of electric guitars. An engineering graduate of the University of Cincinnati (1933), he worked for the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., first as an accountant and eventually as director of purchasing for the retail division. During World War II he was an army engineer. He became general manager of the Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1948, vice president in 1949, and was its president from 1950 to 1966. During this period he secured several patents and profitably advanced Gibson’s manufacture of electric guitars, notably in the early 1950s the warm-toned solid-body Les Paul models that later formed the core of Gibson’s reputation. McCarty promoted the design of innovative models (e.g. the three-pickup ES-5, the classic ES-175 ‘jazz box’, and the classic semi-hollow ES-335) and various improvements such as Gibson’s Tune-o-matic bridge system, humbucking pickup (designed by Seth Lover), and the futuristic Explorer, Flying V, Moderne (these three designed by the automobile designer Ray Dietrich), SG, and Firebird lines. During McCarty’s tenure Gibson’s output grew to more than 100,000 instruments annually. He left Gibson to become part-owner and president of the Kalamazoo-based Bigsby Company, specializing in guitar vibrato systems and accessories; he retired in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

(b Bermuda, July 10, 1957). American audio engineer, musician, and owner of Keith McMillen Instruments, based in Berkeley, California. He received his BS in acoustics from the University of Illinois, where he also studied classical guitar and composition. In 1979 he founded Zeta Music, which designed and sold electric and electronic violins and basses. In 1992 he organized a research laboratory for Gibson Guitars. He developed a computerized composition, notation, and performance system, and also helped devise ZIPI, a MIDI-like music control language. At the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at the University of California, Berkeley, he researched audio networking, synthesizers, and string instruments. In 1996 he became director of engineering for the audio processing and distributed music networks division of Harmon Kardon. In 1999 he founded Octiv, Inc., an Internet audio signal processing company, which produced the ‘Volume Logic’ plug-in for iTunes that allows digital audio remastering to improve the sound produced by computers and MP3 players....

Article

Barbara Owen

American organ building firm. It was founded by John Turnell Austin (b Poddington, Beds., May 16, 1869; d Hartford, CT, Sept 17, 1948). The son of gentleman farmer and amateur organ builder Jonathan Austin, he emigrated to America in 1889. He first worked for Farrand & Votey of Detroit, rapidly advancing to become foreman. There he first conceived the idea of a radically different system of organ construction called the ‘universal wind-chest’ system; this consisted of an individual-valve chest, the lower portion of which was a walk-in air chamber with regulator. Pipe valves were operated by a thin wooden trace attached to a motor bellows for each note. Stop action was first achieved by sliders; later a pivoting fulcrum affecting the valves was used. Although Farrand & Votey allowed Austin to experiment, they showed no interest in his ideas, and in 1893 he left them for Clough & Warren of Detroit, who in the same year built their first small organ based on Austin’s system. In ...

Article

Richard Rephann

[Morris]

(b Scheinfeld, Bavaria, March 9, 1831; d New Haven, CT, Jan 21, 1912). American music dealer and collector of instruments. He moved to New Haven in 1854, and in 1856 to Savannah, Georgia. Shortly after the Civil War broke out he returned to New Haven, and his name appeared in the New Haven City Directory of 1862; by 1866 he was listed as a piano and music dealer. He formed the Mathushek Pianoforte Co. and later the M. Steinert & Sons Co., which sold pianos in Boston, Providence, New Haven and other cities. He was active in the musical life of New Haven where he was organist at St Thomas’s Church, taught music and formed a quartet in which he played cello. He later formed an orchestra which was to become the nucleus around which he founded the New Haven SO in 1894. This orchestra is the fourth oldest in the USA with a continuous existence. He became interested in antique musical instruments and the problems involved in playing them, and assembled a collection of considerable importance which was exhibited in Vienna in ...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

(b Potsdam, Germany, Nov 15, 1855; d Washington, DC, Nov 14, 1938). American collector of and dealer in keyboard instruments. His father, Christian, had a music business in Trenton, New Jersey, from c1858 to 1861, and in Washington from 1863 to 1868 and again in 1883; Worch and his brother Emil took this over in 1883, and after Emil’s death his widow and Hugo continued the business as Hugo Worch & Co. from 1884 until 1895. After 1895 the firm of Hugo Worch sold instruments (including pianos sold under the Worch name but manufactured elsewhere), sheet music, and, as tastes changed, phonographs, recordings, and radios. The firm went out of business in 1960 on the retirement of Hans Hugo Worch, who had bought it from his brother Carl and sister Paulina in 1954.

In the 1880s Worch began collecting keyboard instruments that showed the development of the American piano industry from the 1790s to ...