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date: 17 August 2019

Shtakelberg, Konstantin Karlovich locked

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(b Strelna, Russia, 1848; d Tallinn, Estonia, 1925). Russian baron, military officer, musician, and instrument collector. From 1882 he led the St Petersburg court vocal and instrumental ensemble, which used some violins and flutes that had belonged to Alexander I (whose ancestor Peter III had acquired more than 60 valuable instruments). From 1897 Shtakelberg directed the court’s professional orchestra. In 1899 he joined a commission to examine the status of the imperial theatres. With the support of Alexander III, a serious amateur musician, Shtakelberg initiated in 1902 a museum of music that was to have five divisions: a comprehensive collection of instruments of all peoples from antiquity to the present; a centre for instrument design and construction, intended to encourage Russian manufacture; an acoustical laboratory for the exploration and explanation of musical sound; a musicological research library, with a section on the history of music printing; and an archive of music manuscripts, iconography, and memorabilia. The museum was to be complemented with concerts, using instruments from the collection or copies. The project was not completed, but through extensive correspondence and exchanges with other European and American collectors, donations from Russian nobles—the empress Maria Feodorovna herself donated a group of richly decorated Persian instruments—and his own travels, Shtakelberg built an impressive assemblage of historical and exotic instruments that formed the nucleus of the present collection of the St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music....

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