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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 ...

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Niall O’Loughlin

(Adam )

(b ?Ritzfeld bei Weinsberg, Germany, c1772/3; d London, England, March 27, 1850). Maker of wind instruments, music seller, and publisher. He was in London by 1795 and was naturalized by Act of Parliament in 1804; that same year he was granted the freedom of the Musicians’ Company. He worked at 76 Bishopsgate from about 1804 to 1822. Through a partnership with the successors to George Astor the firm became known as Gerock, Astor & Co. (1822–6), operating at 79 Cornhill. Robert Wolf, described as an employee in 1828, married Gerock’s daughter Sabrina Susannah in 1831. The firm was known as Gerock & Wolf during 1831–2, but reverted to the name C. Gerock & Co. from 1832 to 1837, when Gerock retired. The firm of Robert Wolf & Co. operated at 79 Cornhill after 1837, principally selling pianos.

In a trial for theft of flutes by his employee Samuel Porter in ...

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Helmut Kallmann

[Johann Friedrich Conrad; Frédéric]

(b Hanover, Aug 10, 1759; d Quebec, 12/Jan 13, 1836). Canadian musician of German birth. The son of a military band musician, he is reported to have been a violin prodigy. In 1777 he enlisted in one of the Brunswick regiments destined for Canada. Discharged in 1783, he settled in Quebec, where he made a living as instrumentalist, teacher, tuner, repairman, and importer of instruments and sheet music. He was probably the first full-time musician in Canada who left a mark both immediate and lasting. His activities, probably as a director and conductor, enhanced the holding of subscription concerts in Quebec in the 1790s, featuring orchestral and chamber music by J.C. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Pleyel and others. Many of the printed parts assumed to have been supplied by Glackemeyer are still preserved. Prince Edward (later Duke of Kent), in Quebec 1791–4, is said to have appointed him a regimental bandmaster....

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John H. Baron

(b Hohenhofen, Germany, 1827; d New Orleans, LA, March 1, 1915).

American music publisher, instrument maker, and impresario. He immigrated to the United States in 1852 and settled in New Orleans, where he became organist at three local churches. In 1858 he opened a music store and sold instruments and sheet music. From 1874 he also managed the Grunewald Opera House, a major concert hall; this was destroyed by fire in 1893, and he built the Grunewald Hotel (now the Roosevelt) on the same site. Before and after the Civil War he was one of the important benefactors of concerts in the city. The Grunewald firm, with which other members of the family became involved, manufactured musical instruments in the late 19th century and published a large quantity of music from 1870 to 1920, when G. Schirmer purchased the publishing concern. The music store remained open until 1972...

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 ...

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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....

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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

Frank Kidson

(d ?London, 1683). English instrument maker, music dealer and publisher. He worked in London ‘at the Sign of the Lute’ in St Paul's Churchyard, where his customers included the diarist Samuel Pepys. References to Hunt are found in Pepys's diary between October 1661, when he converted Pepys's lute to a theorbo with double strings, and ...

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Frank Kidson

revised by William C. Smith and Peter Ward Jones

(fl 1740–62). English music publisher, printer, music seller and possibly violin maker. He began his business in London by 1740, and probably acquired part of those of Daniel Wright and Benjamin Cooke, some of whose publications he reissued from the original plates. Around the mid-18th century the predominance of the Walsh engraving and publishing business began to wane, and Johnson was responsible for publishing some of the best music of the day, including works by Arne, Felton, Geminiani, Nares, Domenico Scarlatti and Stanley, as well as annual volumes and large collections of country dances. Unusually, many of Johnson's editions bore dates; their technical quality was high, some being engraved by John Phillips. A number of fair-quality violins bear the Johnson label, most probably made for rather than actually by him.

Johnson appears to have died about 1762, and from that time to 1777 most of the imprints bear the name of ‘Mrs. Johnson’ or ‘R. Johnson’, presumably his widow. The old imprint ‘John Johnson’ occasionally appears in these years, and may refer to her late husband or to another relative. Johnson's sign from ...

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 ...

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Brian Boydell

( b ?Dublin; d Dublin, 1763). Irish music publisher, music seller, instrument dealer and violinist . He worked from about 1738 in the business established by his brother Bartholemew (d July 1758) about a year previously at Corelli’s Head, opposite Anglesea Street in College Green, Dublin. In April 1740 he advertised a proposal for printing Geminiani’s Guida armonica by subscription; it was finally issued in about 1752. Notable publications by him include collections of songs from Arne’s Comus, Dubourg’s variations on the Irish melody ‘Ellen a Roon’ and in December 1752 ‘six Trios for 2 Fiddles and thorough Bass composed by Sieur Van Maldere’. From 1741 a number of publications were issued in conjunction with William Neale, including the Monthly Musical Masque consisting of a collection of contemporary popular songs; the first issue was advertised in January 1744. Manwaring also imported Peter Wamsley’s best violins, Roman fiddle strings and ‘all the newest music published in London’. In addition to his business he took a prominent part in Dublin musical life during the 1740s as a violinist, often appearing with his brother who was also a violinist. He acted as treasurer of various charitable musical societies. After his death his wife carried on the business until ...

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 ...

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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....

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Anne Beetem Acker

[Friedrich ]

(d London, England, 1774). German keyboard instrument maker and seller. In 1754 the Hamburger Anzeigen advertised that he made unfretted clavichords, harpsichords, and a five-octave upright pyramid-shaped harpsichord (clavicimbel de amour) with pantalon (hammer action) stop. Neubauer arrived in London about 1756, and advertised from 1761 to 1768 that he made and repaired harpsichords, pianos, clavichords, ‘clavir d’amours’, and lyrichords (including the earliest known advertisement for the sale of a piano in London in the 1763 Mortimer’s Directory). He possibly took on some of the remaining stock in trade of Roger Plenius, who became bankrupt in 1756. In 1763 Neubauer lived in Compton Street, but his five addresses in ten years, plus his frequent advertisements of rooms to let and for an apprentice seem to indicate financial difficulties. A 1763 notice in the Universal Director describes him as ‘Maker of double-basset and treble key’d Harpsichords, with six stops, and of Pianofortes, Lyrichords, Classichords, etc.’. ‘The ‘double basset’ harpsichord likely had a 16′ register, while the ‘treble key’d’ harpsichord might have had an extended treble range or a third manual. On ...

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Lynda Sayce

(fl London, second half of 18th century). English instrument maker and dealer in instruments and music. His extant instruments include two 13-course Baroque lutes. One, a large ivory and ebony instrument in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (no.9–1871) is dated 1762 and bears Rauche’s address in Chandos Street. The other, in a private collection in Switzerland, is much smaller, of multi-rib construction, and is dated ...

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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 ...

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Albi Rosenthal

(b Oxford, Feb 11, 1838; d Oxford, Jan 8, 1905). English music and instrument dealer and collector . He was the son of Charles Taphouse (c1816–1881), the founder of the firm of Charles Taphouse & Son Ltd, first established in 1857 at 10 Broad Street, Oxford, shortly after at 33 St Giles, and from 1859 at 3 Magdalen Street. Taphouse held various local appointments as organist, and made the music shop into a lively musical centre, having added a piano warehouse and several music rooms to the premises – one of which was for many years the home of the Oxford University Music Club. His collection of early music and instruments, which contained numerous rare and some unique printed and manuscript items (including the only contemporary source of the Violin Sonata by Henry Purcell), became one of the finest in the country. The library was sold by auction at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge's in ...

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Charles Beare

(b Fontaneto d’Agogna, nr Novara, c1790; d Milan, Oct 1854). Italian violin dealer and collector . He was born of humble parents and is said to have trained as a carpenter, with violin playing as a hobby. He developed an interest in violins themselves, and with a natural talent both as a connoisseur and for business he began to acquire and resell some of the many fine instruments that were lying unused in the towns and villages of northern Italy. His first journey to Paris (in 1827) was evidently profitable for him and for the dealers there, who gave him every encouragement. In the same year he made his greatest coup, acquiring a number of violins from Count Cozio di Salabue, including a 1716 Stradivari in unused condition. This violin was Tarisio's treasure, and as he spoke of it on every visit to Paris but never actually brought it with him it came to be known as the ‘Messiah’....