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Article

Hugh Davies

revised by Anne Beetem Acker

[Elektronmusikstudion] (Swed.: ‘electronic music studio’)

The Swedish national centre for electronic music and sound art, in Stockholm. It was preceded by a smaller studio run by the Worker’s Society of Education from 1960. EMS was established by Swedish Radio in 1964 under music director and composer Karl Birger Blomdahl (1916–68), who hired the composer and performer Knut Wiggen (b 1927) to take charge of creating the studios. In 1965 an old radio theatre studio called the klangverstan (‘sound workshop’) opened for composers. Construction of a new facility was begun, but after Blomdahl’s death EMS became independent, funded only in small part by Swedish Radio, and otherwise by Fylkingen (a society for experimental music and arts) and the Swedish Royal Academy of Music.

Wiggen envisioned EMS as both a place to produce electro-acoustic music and a research institution that would give the composer ‘the possibility of describing sounds in psychological terms’. The studio was equipped accordingly. The sound sculpture ...

Article

Laurence Libin

American manufacturer and brand of acoustic and electric guitars, other plucked string instruments, and electric guitar accessories. The company originated in 1873 in Smyrna, Turkey, where the Greek immigrant Kostantinos Stathopoulo opened a store selling and repairing string instruments. His son Anastasios opened an independent workshop about 1890. In 1903 Anastasios emigrated with his family to New York, where on 25 March 1909 he patented a bowl-back mandolin named the Orpheum Lyra. Two sons, Epaminondas (‘Epi’, b 1893) and Orpheus, joined him in the business, and when Anastasios died, in 1915, Epi took control and later patented a banjo tone ring and rim. Assuming ownership upon his mother’s death, in 1923, he introduced the Recording line of banjos. As business expanded, the family acquired the Farovan instrument plant in Long Island and in 1928 the incorporated firm became The Epiphone Banjo Corp. By that time Epiphone was making banjos for Selmer/Conn. To compete with their rival Gibson, Epiphone introduced their Recording series of acoustic guitars, both archtop and flat top, followed in ...

Article

Erard  

Ann Griffiths and Richard Macnutt

French firm of piano and harp makers and music publishers.

Ann Griffiths

The firm was founded by Sébastien Erard (b Strasbourg, 5 April 1752; d La Muette, nr Passy, 5 Aug 1831), the fourth son of the church furniture maker Louis-Antoine Erard (b Delemond, Switzerland, 1685; d1758). As Sébastien Erard was only six years old when his father died, accounts of his having acquired his woodworking skills in his father's workshop cannot be substantiated. He was, however, brought up within a community of skilled artisans, with uncles, cousins, his godfather and older brother all being employed as joiners, cabinetmakers and gilders, for the most part in an ecclesiastical context. He may have known and worked with the younger Strasbourg-based members of the Silbermann dynasty.

Erard most probably arrived in Paris in 1768. The Duchesse de Villeroy (1731–1816) was an early patron, providing him with workshop premises at her mansion in the rue de Bourbon, and in ...

Article

Article

John Barnes, Charles Beare and Laurence Libin

Faking musical instruments can involve such acts as creating an entirely new deceptive object, rebuilding an instrument with intent to deceive, conflating parts from different sources to form an instrument with a fictitious history, or forging an inscription on an instrument (and producing false documentation) in order to associate it with an advantageous name or period. A successful faker needs to know what customers want and the extent of their historical knowledge. Fakes can thus shed light on those who were deceived as well as on those responsible for deception. Partly to discourage misrepresentation, during the Middle Ages European trade guilds began to register makers’ marks and require their use on products; bells were perhaps the first instruments to bear such identification. Despite continuing efforts to suppress the practice, and improving methods of detection, faking and forgery, especially of valuable instruments sought by collectors as investments, continue to flourish.

Instruments of the famous Ruckers family, enlarged and redecorated to satisfy contemporary taste and musical requirements, were in demand in the 18th century, particularly in Paris. Since the alterations concealed much of the original material and involved replacement of many parts, it was not difficult for those engaged in this trade to satisfy the market without actually starting from an original Ruckers instrument. Several workshop inventories taken for legal purposes refer frankly to counterfeit Ruckers harpsichords....

Article

Edwin M. Good

Family of piano designers and builders. (i) Darrell Fandrich (b Philadelphia, PA, 31 Jan 1942). Piano designer and maker. After many years of experience as a pianist, piano technician, and concert tuner, he began design work, inventing a new type of action for upright pianos that was first patented in 1990. He founded Fandrich Design, Inc., to hold the license rights and promote the design of the new action mechanism; Heather Chambers (b 1948; later Heather Fandrich) joined this corporation in 1991. When other companies failed to adopt the Fandrich Vertical Action, Darrell opted to use it in pianos built by his brother Delwin Fandrich, who began piano production in 1992 and continued to 1994.

After this production ceased in 1994, Darrell and Heather founded Fandrich & Sons in Stanwood, Washington. Contacts in Germany, the Czech Republic, and China led to the purchase of new pianos, which Darrell has rebuilt in order to properly install his action in them. The pianos are then resold as Fandrich & Sons instruments. The Louis Renner Company in Germany manufactures the Fandrich action, which is also used in models of several European makers. The action, designed to feel as solid and responsive as a fine grand action, features carefully weighted keys, hammer return, and repetition springs. In addition to producing 50″ and 52″ uprights with the Fandrich Vertical Action, the company also builds 5′5″, 6′1″, and 7′1″ grand pianos....

Article

Farfisa  

Hugh Davies

revised by Brandon Smith

Italian company of instrument makers. It was founded about 1870 in Ancona to manufacture free-reed instruments, including piano accordions and reed organs. The modern Farfisa company (from FAbbriche Riunite di FISArmoniche, ‘United Accordion Factories’) of Castelfidardo/Camerano was founded in 1946 by Silvio Scandalli, Settimio Soprani (brother of Paolo Soprani), and the Frontalini Accordion Co. of Chicago. Farfisa revolutionized the mass production of accordions by replacing assembly lines with specialized departments producing components that were then assembled into completed instruments. In 1951 Farfisa developed the ‘Super 6’ accordion, considered by many to be the best in the world. Later, Farfisa began producing electronic keyboard instruments ranging in style from piano accordions to synthesizers. From about 1960 its range of electronic piano accordions included the 41-note Cordovox and Transicord (from ‘transistor’ and ‘accordion’), and in 1970 it manufactured an early electronic percussion unit; one Transicord model included an electronic rhythm section.

The company’s success led to a take-over in ...

Article

Feurich  

Laurence Libin

German firm of piano builders. Julius Gustav Feurich (1821–1900), a son and grandson of piano technicians, founded Pianofortefabrik Feurich in Leipzig in 1851, following his training with Pleyel in Paris. Initially the company produced upright models, adding grands in 1855; it was later designated an imperial and royal court supplier. A second factory opened in Leutzsch in 1910 to serve a widespread market, including South America, Australia, and Japan by the 1920s. The firm operated a concert hall in Leipzig and introduced several innovative designs for upright pianos, winning a prize at an exposition in Geneva in 1927. The Leipzig factory was destroyed and the Leutzsch factory was converted to living quarters during World War II, but production resumed thereafter, incorporating the brands Euterpe and W. Hoffmann from Berlin. After the company’s assets were expropriated by the East German government in 1958, the fourth-generation proprietor, Julius Hermann Feurich (...

Article

W.D. Jordan

Australian firm of organ builders. It was founded by George Fincham (b London, 25 Aug 1828; d Melbourne, 21 Dec 1910), the pioneer of Australian organ building. The family originated in the English village of Fincham, Norfolk. George’s father Jonathan George Fincham (1796–1863) and grandfather John (b 1754) were both organ builders. In 1901 George’s son Leslie Valentine Hunter (1879–1955) became a partner in the firm, which continued under the direction of Leslie’s son George Bowring (b 1917) and grandson David George (b 31 Jan 1944).

George Fincham was apprenticed to Henry Bevington in London (1843–9) and then worked as foreman for James Bishop & Son, London, and Forster & Andrews of Hull. He emigrated to Australia in 1852, intending to establish an organ-building enterprise; he set up his first factory in Richmond, Melbourne, in 1862...

Article

Nicholas Thistlethwaite

English firm of organ builders. The partnership began in 1806 when Benjamin Flight (b London, c1767; d London, 1847), was joined by Joseph Robson (d ?1842). Flight's father, Benjamin (fl 1772–1805) was credited with introducing the barrel organ to churches, and Flight and Robson maintained a reputation for ingenuity in the construction of mechanical organs demonstrated in the ‘machine organ’ for the Earl of Kirkwall (1811) and the more famous Apollonicon (first exhibited in 1817). They also devised a system of handles and cranks for blowing the bellows (Trinity College, Cambridge, 1819) and disputed their apprentice J.C. Bishop's claim (see Bishop) to have invented the Composition pedal.

The firm was declared bankrupt in 1832. Robson re-established himself in the old premises in St Martin's Lane, London; he was succeeded (c1842) by his son, Thomas Joseph F. Robson (...

Article

Kurt Lueders

German firm of organ builders . Alois Späth (b Ennetach, nr Mengen, 16 June 1825; d Ennetach, 7 Aug 1876) was apprenticed to, then succeeded Vitus Klingler in Ennetach, building six organs of up to 18 stops each in his region. His son Franz Xaver (1859–1940) set up an independent shop in 1882 following ten years of working as a journeyman with five regional builders. Together with his brother Albert he founded Gebrüder Späth in 1891, a prosperous firm which built some ten organs per year until the mid-1920s, after which Franz’s sons Karl (1899–1971) and August (1908–1979) carried on its work. In 1964 August separated from the firm and reorganized its Freiburg branch under the name of Freiburger Orgelbau; his son Hartwig (b Ennetach, 8 Feb 1942) was trained in the shop and received his Master Organ Builder certificate in ...

Article

Guy Oldham

revised by Ole Olesen

Danish firm of organ builders. It was founded in 1909 at Copenhagen by Theodor Frobenius (1885–1972) and in 1925 moved to Lyngby near Copenhagen. In 1944, when his sons Walther and Erik joined the firm, it began building organs with mechanical key-action and slider-chests and mainly mechanical stop-action. It specializes in carefully designed modern casework with the characteristic feature that the pipework of each manual is arranged to present three to six repeating arrangements of front pipes. The characteristic neo-classical organ type, developed by the firm in the period from about 1925 to 1955, has inspired organ builders in other countries, especially in England and the USA. Important new organs built in Denmark include those at Thisted Kirke (1972), Ribe Domkirke (1973, enlarged 1994), St Mortens Kirke, Naestved (1975), Vangede Kirke (1979), and Opstandelseskirken, Albertslund (1992). Instruments built abroad include those at Queen's College, Oxford (...

Article

Uwe Pape

German firm of organ builders . Alfred Führer (b Wilhelmshaven, 8 Nov 1905; d Wilhelmshaven, 27 May 1974) was first apprenticed as a cabinet maker (1920–24) and then trained as an organ builder with P. Furtwängler & Hammer, Hanover, between 1924 and 1927. He worked as a journeyman with companies in Switzerland and the USA (1929–30) and again with Furtwängler & Hammer (1931–3). In 1933 he set up an organ workshop in Wilhelmshaven, restoring, rebuilding and repairing organs, mainly in the district of Oldenburg-Wilhelmshaven, the former duchy of Oldenburg. After the war the business gained great prestige in northern Germany, particularly in the northern part of Lower Saxony and Bremen. During his lifetime Führer built 760 instruments. In 1974 his nephew Fritz Schild (b Bohlenbergerfeld, 18 Aug 1933) became managing director. He had served his apprenticeship with Führer and then worked in the Netherlands, France and the USA from ...

Article

Gaveau  

Margaret Cranmer

French firm of piano and harpsichord makers. Joseph Gaveau (b Romorantin, 1824; d Paris, 1893) founded the firm in 1847, working with his employees in a small shop at the rue des Vinaigriers in Paris; the workshop and the offices were later transferred to the rue Servan. The firm established an excellent reputation for its small upright pianos, and by the 1880s the business was producing about 1000 pianos a year, achieving a degree of success due to commercial acumen rather than intrinsic quality. Joseph was succeeded by his son Etienne Gaveau (b Paris, 7 Oct 1872; d Paris, 26 May 1943), who organized the construction of a larger new factory at Fontenay-sous-Bois and, following the example of other well-known piano makers, in 1907 opened a new concert hall, the Salle Gaveau, in the rue la Boëtie, Paris. This street also housed the offices of the firm from ...

Article

Geib  

Margaret Cranmer, Barbara Owen, W. Thomas Marrocco, Mark Jacobs and G. Kaleschke

German family of organ builders, piano makers, instrument dealers and music publishers. One branch of the family worked first in England and later in the USA. Johann Georg Geib (i) (b Staudernheim an der Nahe, 9 Sept 1739; d Frankenthal, 16 April 1818) established his own business around 1760 in St Johann, near Saarbrücken. In 1790 the business was transferred to Frankenthal, and from about 1786 his son Johann Georg (ii) worked in partnership with him. Geib’s work was typical of the Middle Rhine school of organ building. Of the 16 instruments that can be attributed to him only six survive: the best-preserved is in the Protestant parish church in Lambrecht.

Johann Georg Geib (ii) (b Saarbrücken, 14 June 1772; d Frankenthal, 5 March 1849) ran the family business after his father’s death, first on his own and then jointly with Josef Littig. Only about nine of his organs can be traced; his work did not attain the same quality as his father’s, and the firm ceased after his death....

Article

[GDS]

A polyphonic digital synthesizer, developed in 1978–80 and manufactured and marketed from 1981 by the Digital Keyboards division of Music Technology (MT), the American branch of Crumar, in Garden City Park, New York. Derived from research by Hal Alles of Bell Laboratories (hired by MT as an advisor) and based on a Z80 microcomputer system with 32 digital oscillators, the large, cumbersome General Development System was originally the testbed for the company’s Synergy. It includes a cathode-ray-terminal visual display unit, two disc drives, an alphanumeric keyboard, a five-octave, velocity-sensitive keyboard with 62 manual controls (32 of which are slide potentiometers), and three foot controls; a printer was also available. Up to eight synchronized tracks can be recorded by the sequencer memory. A voicing program facilitates the creation of new sounds with immediate audio feedback. State-of-the-art in its day, the GDS was the first digital synthesizer used by the composer Wendy Carlos, notably to simulate an orchestra in ‘Digital Moonscapes’ (...

Article

Christopher Kent

English firm of organ builders . It was established in 1980 by Dominic Gwynn (b Ealing, 18 Aug 1953), Martin Goetze (b Luton, 14 Sept 1951) and Edward Bennett (b Coln St Aldwyns, Glos., 18 Aug 1948) with the aim of rediscovering the pre-Victorian (classical) tradition of English organ building. Their instruments reflect the findings of archival and fieldwork research, and address the requirements of soloists and ensembles dedicated to historically informed performances of early music. They have also contributed to the conservation of Britain’s organ heritage with reports and pre-restoration surveys of significant instruments and contributions to organographical conferences and literature (writings by Gwynn are listed below). Restorations undertaken by the firm have included a number of chamber and barrel organs. Among the reconstructions are the Handel organ at St Lawrence, Little Stanmore, London (1994), the 1743 Thomas Griffin organ at St Helen Bishopsgate, London (...

Article

Kurt Lueders

French firm of organ builders. The founder, Victor [Victorino] Gonzalez (b Hacinas, Burgos, 2 Dec 1877; d Paris, 3 June 1956), trained with Cavaillé-Coll (1894–9) and worked for Gutschenritter, Limonaire and Masure before going into partnership with Victor Ephrème at Malakoff, near Paris, in 1921; from 1929 he and his son Fernand (1904–40) worked together as Etablissements Gonzalez in Châtillon. The influential support of Norbert Dufourcq and the organist André Marchal gradually led to the creation of the neo-classical or eclectic organ, seeking to fuse elements of the French classical organ with the then dominant late-Romantic style. Rudolf von Beckerath, who worked in the shop until 1936, introduced German influences. Georges Danion, who married Victor’s granddaughter, headed the firm after 1956, incorporating workshops in Rambervillers from 1963 and later Lodève, and transferring the headquarters to Brunoy in 1965. From the 1980s the company’s operations diminished, and by the end of the 20th century only the Lodève shop remained active....

Article

Nicholas Thistlethwaite

English firm of organ builders. Robert Gray (d 1796) was in business at Leigh Street, Red Lion Square, London, in 1774. By 1787 he had been joined by William Gray (d c1820), and a trade card of about 1795 advertises them as ‘Robert & William Gray, Organ, Harpsichord & Piano-Forte Makers’. Following Robert’s death William carried on business in his own name; he was succeeded by his son John Gray (d 1849) who had, by 1837, taken his son Robert into partnership.

The firm’s work was highly regarded in the early 19th century. Their tonal schemes reflected the growing taste for delicate voices and imitative reeds, but the Great Organ always contained a complete chorus and William Gray was one of the first to make regular use of Pedal pipes. Important contracts during this period included new organs for St Anne’s, Soho (...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

German firm of piano makers. C(arl) F(riedrich) Theodor Steinweg (b Seesen, 6 Nov 1825; d Brunswick, 26 March 1889), the eldest son of H.E. Steinweg, continued the family piano-making business in Seesen when his father and the rest of the family emigrated in 1850 to New York where they founded Steinway. In 1855 the German firm moved from Seesen to Wolfenbüttel, where in 1858 (Georg) Friedrich (Carl) Grotrian (b Brunswick, 13 Jan 1803; d 11 Dec 1860), who had sold his Moscow music shop and piano-making business, became Theodor’s partner. The firm then moved to Brunswick.

In 1865 Theodor emigrated to New York to assist his father, having sold his share in the business to Wilhelm Grotrian (b Moscow, 12 Aug 1843; d Brunswick, 21 Feb 1917, the son of Friedrich Grotrian), Adolf Helfferich and H.O.W. Schulz, who continued the business under the name C.F.Th. Steinweg Nachf. This trade name was changed to Grotrian, Helfferich, Schulz, Th. Steinweg Nachf. in ...