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W.H. Husk

revised by Marc Leroy

(York )

(b Whilton, Northants., England, Dec 22, 1785; d Versailles, France, Feb 19, 1859). English organ builder. The son of a local joiner, he first learnt his father’s trade. Against family wishes he was apprenticed to the organ builders James and David Davis and in 1818 went to work with Hugh Russell. Abbey became acquainted with Sébastian Erard in London and went to France in 1826 to build an organ that Erard designed for the 1827 Industrial Exhibition at the Louvre; before 1864 it was moved to the Paris Conservatoire. After moving to Paris and then Versailles, Abbey received a royal commission to build an organ for the chapel of the Légion d’honneur at St Denis and another designed by Erard for the chapel of the Tuileries Palace (1827; destroyed 1830). In 1831 with Meyerbeer’s support Abbey was employed to build an organ for the Paris Opéra (destroyed by fire, ...


Michael Sayer

English firm of organ builders. It was established in Leeds in 1869 by Isaac Abbott, who had worked for 20 years with William Hill in London. William Stanwix Smith, also a former Hill employee, was the firm’s manager until Abbott retired, in 1889; thereafter Smith and Abbott’s son continued the firm, which subsequently passed to Smith’s sons and grandson. In 1964 the firm was sold to its foreman, J.H. Horsfall, and in 1975 it moved to the premises of Wood Wordsworth & Co. Up to 1964, Abbott & Smith built or rebuilt hundreds of organs throughout Britain, including some 250 in Yorkshire, and more than 60 around Leeds. James Jepson Binns was head voicer from 1875 until 1880. Their earlier instruments, using mechanical action through the 1880s, have a robust singing quality suited to Yorkshire Methodist congregations, though several were in town halls, including those in Leeds and Ryde. Their organ for St Mark’s, Manningham, had four manuals and 48 speaking stops. The firm also built organs in St Albans Cathedral (...


Anne Beetem Acker

German firm of piano hammer manufacturers. Helmut Abel GmbH was founded in 1982 in Frickhausen by Helmut Abel (b Sonneberg, Thüringen, 6 July 1936), who had earlier worked for Renner. His son Norbert (b Schalkau, Thüringen, 24 March 1957) has managed finances, marketing, and research since the beginning. In 1985 the business name was changed to Abel Hammer Company. Helmut Abel’s younger son, Frank (b Wernau, Baden-Württemberg, 21 Sept 1963), joined the firm in 1986. In 1993 the company moved to a larger facility in Frankenhardt. After Helmut’s retirement as technical manager, in 2001, Frank assumed that position. Norbert’s son Alexander (b Ruit, Baden-Württemberg, 14 March 1990) completed an apprenticeship as a piano technician and in 2001 entered a course to become a piano master, with the intention of joining the firm after completion.

The firm makes piano hammers based on historical methods, yet employing modern technology for consistent quality. Abel also restores and duplicates hammer parts and recovers original hammer heads, using an old Dolge hammer press imported in ...


Tiberiu Alexandru

Piano accordion of Romania. Early forms were known in rural communities in the 1880s under the name armoniu, etc. It became widespread in the period between the two World Wars, replacing the button-keyed Armonicǎ and encouraging the demise of certain other traditional instruments among the lǎutari (professional folk musicians), particularly the small ...


Philip J. Kass


Philip J. Kass

French family of bow makers. Jean Adam, also known as Grandadam (b Mirecourt, 1 Dec 1767; d Mirecourt, 3 Jan 1849), was a maker of reliable if workmanlike bows of good quality. His son and pupil Jean Dominique Adam, later known as Dominique Grandadam (b Mirecourt, 29 Dec 1795; d Mirecourt, 6 Oct 1841) followed his father’s precedents but with a more careful finish, working in a manner that over time developed an affinity to that of Pajeot. Father and son both used the stamp ADAM, the son’s being in larger type than his father’s.

Jean Dominique’s son, Jean Grandadam (b Mirecourt, 26 Feb 1823; d Mirecourt, 20 Jan 1869), was the finest bow maker of the family. His hand becomes visible in his father’s works dating from about 1835. He moved in 1841 to Paris, where from 1842 to 1850...



James Holland

Dutch manufacturer of percussion instruments. Adams Musical Instruments was established at the end of the 1960s by André Adams at Thorn in the Netherlands. Adams has become one of the leading percussion manufacturers in the world. Its list of products range from lightweight, low-priced pedal timpani designed for schools and bands, through to top of the range professional timpani and concert marimbas. A great deal of thought is given to the adaptability and portability of the instruments, as well as to their quality. For example, playing height of their keyboard instruments is adjustable, and their tubular bells may be adjusted both for height and range. In the contemporary world of percussion these refinements are invaluable for the player. Adams now manufactures timpani, xylophones, marimbas, tubular bells, bell plates, concert bass drums, temple blocks and a range of sticks....


Laurence Libin

(fl 1670–80). English luthier, active in London. His only extant instrument, a bass viol, is labelled ‘William Addison in Long Alley Over Against Moorfields 1670’, near the workshops of the contemporary viol makers Richard Meares and George Miller. Addison’s viol bears elaborate geometric inlay, including on the back a stylized heart pierced by arrows, and on the carved soundtable a fleur-de-lis. The unusually large soundholes are closer to the middle than normal. The pegbox, ornamented with ivory studs, is surmounted by a carving of Hercules. A ‘William Addis’, presumably the same man, was recorded on the Strand in ...



Adri de Groot

Dutch family of organ builders . The firm, active from the mid-19th century onwards, was established by the brothers Carolus Borremeyes (1824–1905) and Petrus Josephus Adema (1828–1919) in Leeuwarden in 1855; they were joined by their brother Johannus Romanus (1834–62). Carolus Borremeyes had trained as an organ builder with the Van Dam and Witte firms, Petrus Josephus with W. Hardoff and H. Loret.

In 1868 P.J. Adema set up an affiliate workshop in Amsterdam, attracted by the renewed market for new organs among the more widespread Catholic community there, boosted by the reinstatement of the Bishopric hierarchy in 1853. He had been contracted to build a three-manual organ for the Catholic Mozes- en Aäronkerk. The French consul and organ expert Charles-Marie Philbert (1826–94), an ardent champion of the modern French organ-building style, acted as consultant. The resulting organ, largely influenced by Cavaillé-Coll, was the first in the Netherlands to employ Barker’s pneumatic lever in the main manual of the otherwise mechanical-action instrument. Between ...


Howard Schott

(Leslie )

(b Kingston-on-Thames, May 30, 1938). English maker of fortepianos, clavichords, and harpsichords. He was educated at the Guildhall School of Music, London, where he specialized in keyboard instruments, studying the piano with Frank Laffitte, the harpsichord with Celia Bizony, and the organ with Harold Dexter. After some years as a music teacher, during which he also undertook some restorations of early keyboard instruments, he became curator of the Colt Clavier Collection, Bethersden, Kent (1963–73). While continuing to teach and perform, Adlam studied the craft of instrument building at the Feldberg workshop in Sevenoaks. After further years of restoration experience he began producing new instruments in 1971, and in November of that year formed a partnership with the pianist and collector Richard Burnett. The Adlam–Burnett restoration and production workshops were in the grounds of Finchcocks, a large 18th-century house in Goudhurst, Kent (GB.GO.f), which now contains an extensive collection of antique keyboard instruments. Adlam–Burnett’s production was modelled closely on historical prototypes. While it included reproductions of Flemish and French harpsichords, emphasis was placed on the 18th-century piano and clavichord, instruments that had not enjoyed so extensive a revival as the harpsichord. Adlam has contributed on the subject of harpsichord restoration to ...



Niall O’Loughlin

German family of woodwind makers. Karl Friedrich Adler (b Breitenfeld, Germany, March 14, 1795; d Erlangen, Germany, April 1, 1888) learnt his craft from his father, Johann Georg Adler, in the years 1809–12, for short periods under Carl Doke of Linz and August Rorarius of Vienna, and for some three years with Max Stiegler in Munich. He set up his own business in Bamberg in ...


James B. Kopp

(Christian Friedrich )

(b ?Breitenfeld, Vogtland, France, May 10, 1784; d Paris, France, 1854). French maker of woodwind instruments, principally bassoons. He was the brother of Karl Friedrich Adler (1795–1888) and Johann Georg Adler (1787–1842), woodwind makers active in Bamberg and Hermsgrün, respectively. Established in Paris about 1808, he reportedly made improvements to the bassoon in 1809. One surviving nine-key bassoon by Adler (GB.O.ub) shows a unique example of ‘double venting’ (two tone holes debouching under a single key flap, for A♭). In 1827 he exhibited a novel bassoon of tropical hardwood with 15 keys, including two new ones to produce d″ and e♭″. F.J. Fétis wrote in 1828 that Adler had made bassoons ‘after Almenräder’s model’. But while Adler had added keys to his bassoons, there is no clear evidence that he adopted distinctive Almenräder reforms (such as a more regularly conical bore and relocated tone holes). Indeed, Fétis criticized an Adler bassoon exhibited in ...


Janet Dickey Lein

(b Hermesgrün, Germany, Nov 9, 1862; d Markneukirchen, Germany, Dec 27, 1922). German maker of woodwind instruments. Franz Oscar Adler and his brother Robert Oswald (1865–1946) learned woodwind instrument making from their father, Johann Gottlob (1825–1900). Robert worked for Hermann Sauerhering (1841–1909) in Magdeburg before starting a company in his own name in 1891, producing woodwind instruments under the label ROA. In 1924 Robert’s son Johannes Adler (1863–1946) founded his own workshop in Markneukirchen, earning an excellent reputation for recorders.

Oscar began building a woodwind instrument factory in 1883 and founded Oscar Adler & Co. in 1885. His factory was soon enlarged and the lathes and other machinery were powered by a gasoline motor via belt drives. By 1900 it was considered the largest clarinet and flute factory in Germany. In 1901 the firm produced 21 bassoons, one contrabassoon, 54 oboes, and 10 English horns, as well as several thousand clarinets, flutes, piccolos, and the first German-made saxophones. By ...



A device invented by the German flautist Bernhard Samuels in 1911. By means of a tube with a mouthpiece, it provides players of wind instruments with air from bellows operated by the foot and thus enables them to sustain notes indefinitely as on the organ. Although Richard Strauss called for it in his ...


John Whenham

(b 1623–8; d Bologna, 1699, before 28 Jan). Italian singer, composer and instrument maker. He was an Augustinian monk who was employed from about 1649 as a soprano castrato at the Este court at Modena. On 13 November 1660 he was appointed to the choir of S Petronio, Bologna, with a stipend of 50 lire a month; he was discharged on 24 April 1662 but rejoined on 25 July 1663. In October 1665 he returned to Modena, where he succeeded Marco Uccellini as choirmaster of the cathedral. He vacated this post in November 1673 and by early 1674 was again living at Bologna. Between 1677 and 1681 he served as a singer in the cappella of Duke Francesco II of Modena. In 1685 he was made a member of the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, and seems to have spent his last years in or near that city. He wrote to the Duke of Modena in ...



Umberto Pineschi

Italian family of organ builders . Pietro Agati (b Pistoia, 15 Feb 1735; d Pistoia, 10 Dec 1806) served apprenticeships in the Tronci workshop in Pistoia, and later with Filippo Gatti in Bologna. He opened his own workshop in Pistoia, where he built his ‘secundum opus’ for the church of S Vitale (1760) with a case that bears a striking resemblance to that belonging to the organ by Willem Hermans in Spirito Santo, Pistoia (1664). From this Hermans instrument Agati copied the stopped flute 8′, Cornetto, Trombe, Voce umana (or Violoncello – a bass 4′ regal) and Mosetto (treble 8′ regal 8′) to his organ at Vignole di Quarrata (1797). Another outstanding instrument is at Tréppio, Pistoia (1794).

Pietro’s son Giosuè (b Pistoia, 21 Jan 1770; d Pistoia, 10 Dec 1806) built many fine instruments, including those at Serravalle Pistoiese (...


Ann-Marie Nilsson


Swedish brass instrument manufacturer, active in Stockholm from 1850 to 1959. The firm was established by Olof Ahlberg (b Landskrona, 13 Nov 1825; d Stockholm, 29 Sept 1854) and Lars Ohlsson (b Landskrona, 7 Nov 1825; d Stockholm, 1893), journeymen who trained from about 1840 to 1850 with Jacob Valentin WAHL in Landskrona. A&O had 20 employees in 1866. Within a few decades the firm drove minor makers and dealers from the Swedish market or bought them up (e.g. the Stockholm dealer Bengt Dahlgren, acquired in 1894). After the death of Lars Ohlsson, the firm was run by his son Alexis Ohlsson (1859–1932). From 1932 Harry Ohlsson, the son of Alexis, was a member of the board. The firm operated from 1904 as a limited company (aktiebolag, or AB). A&O exhibited in London (1851), Moscow (1863, 1872), Stockholm (...


Hermann Fischer

(b Göttingen, April 28, 1930). German organ builder. Ahrend studied in Göttingen with Paul Ott from 1946 until 1954, before opening a workshop in Leer, East Friesland, with his partner Gerhard Brunzema. After intensive study of surviving historical organs, Ahrend and Brunzema developed a special interest in the north German mechanical-action tradition and adopted its methods. From the beginning they divided their activities between the careful restoration of historical instruments and the construction of exemplary new organs. They often collaborated with leading performers of early music, and their groundbreaking work gained an international reputation. 67 organs were built and restored between 1954 and 1971, largely in northern Europe. In 1962 both partners received the State Prize for craftsmanship in Lower Saxony. In January 1972 Brunzema left the firm to pursue his own career in Canada; Ahrend continued his work in Germany.

Important restorations include instruments at Rysum (...


Bengt Kyhlberg

revised by Göran Grahn

(b April 28, 1826; d July 2, 1876). Swedish organ builder. He began his training about 1844 as a pupil of Johan Samuel Strand at Västra Vingåker, and attended the Tekniska Institutet in Stockholm (1847–50). Later he worked with the Stockholm organ builders Blomquist & Lindgren and Gustaf Andersson. After gaining the organ builder’s charter in 1852, he studied on a state scholarship with Sonreck in Cologne, Gebr. Mayer in Hannover, and Merklin & Co in Brussels, and visited Cavaillé-Coll in Paris (1854–7). During his time with Merklin he voiced the organs in St Eugéne in Paris and in the Cathedral of Murcia, Spain. On his return he worked in partnership with Erik A. Setterquist at Strängnäs until 1860; he then moved to Stockholm and was co-founder with C.J. Lund of the firm Åkerman & Lund. Åkerman’s organs are in a Romantic style, which he had studied abroad; he was the first builder in Sweden to incorporate modern features such as harmonic flute stops, string stops, and pneumatic Barker lever action. An early example of his work is a small organ built for Strängnäs school (...



Patrizio Barbieri

[Albana, Albano, Albanus]

Italian makers of stringed keyboard instruments. At least four builders of this name were active during the 16th and 17th centuries, three of whom are known to have been members of the same Roman family. Documents show that from at least 1623 onwards Andrea Albani (b Rome, c1552; d Rome, 19 August 1639) built harpsichords at a workshop near the church of S Stefano del Cacco. He was assisted by his son Silvestro and his nephew Giovanni Battista Monti (b c1611). Although no instrument by Andrea survives, it is known from an essay by G.B. Doni (c1632–5) that he was persuaded by theorists to build some enharmonic harpsichords with split keys, each note divided either ‘into five parts, according to the principles of Don Niccola [Vicentino], or into four, following the practice which they attribute to Aristosseno’.

Orazio (b Rome, ...


José López-Calo

(b Gauteriz de Arteaga, Vizcaya, Sept 25, 1869; d Barcelona, March 19, 1948). Spanish organ builder. He began his career as an apprentice in the workshops of Aquilino Amezúa in Barcelona in 1885 and was active for more than 50 years. In 1895, on the retirement of Amezúa, Alberdi became director of the firm, and in 1896 the owner. His sons, Antonio and Luis Alberdi Aguirrezábal, assisted him in the workshop, which was the most productive in Spain, building nearly 200 organs (in particular those at the monastery of Montserrat, the Jesuit church in Madrid, and the cathedrals of Gerona and Santiago). Alberdi’s construction methods were extremely advanced: he incorporated many of the best techniques of the time and invented others. He always used mixed mechanical systems and was especially noted for systems without sliding valves; later he abandoned troublesome pneumatic machinery and utilized the possibilities of electricity. He always used the best available methods and systems. Organs from his workshop were exported to South America and the Philippines....