- Laurence Libin
German manufacturer of harpsichords. The firm was founded in 1927 in Eisenberg (Thuringia) by the brothers Michael and Alois Ammer (both d 1947), who had previously worked in Eisenberg for their uncle, the piano maker Josef Ammer (b Munich, 1887). Gebr. Ammer, like its competitors Neupert, Sperrhake, and Wittmayer, produced Serieninstrumente (mass-produced instruments) of modern design unlike historical harpsichords; Ammer claimed to be the first to do so in Germany. After World War II it became the only such manufacturer in Eastern Europe and was eventually directed by Renate Ammer (b 1937), the daughter of Michael. By the late 1960s output had reached about 2100 harpsichords, spinets, and clavichords, which were widely distributed on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Some were used in recordings by leading performers, including Isolde Ahlgrimm, Helmuth Walcha, and Zuzana Růžičková. In 1972 the factory was nationalized. Renate’s husband, Jürgen (Philler) Ammer (who took the family’s surname), moved to Leipzig and in ...