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Nancy Groce

American firm of piano makers. Albert Weber (i) (b Heilingenstadt, Bavaria, Germany, 8 July 1829; d New York, NY, 25 June 1879), a gifted pianist as a child, immigrated to New York in 1845. He apprenticed as a piano maker in the workshop of Charles J. Holden, then worked several years in Van Winkle’s piano factory. In 1852, he established his own shop at 103 West Broadway. Following a disastrous 1854 fire, he moved to a larger factory at Broome and Crosby Streets, which the thriving firm quickly outgrew. By 1869, when Weber opened an impressive showroom at 108 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the firm had become the sixth largest producer of pianos in the United States, with gross annual sales of $221,444. Weber was succeeded by his son, Albert Weber (ii) (b New York, NY, 1858; d Florida, 1908), who established a branch in Chicago in ...


Brian Boydell

revised by Lance Whitehead

(b Borstendorf, Saxony, May 6, 1715; d Dublin, Ireland, bur. Oct 25, 1784). Irish keyboard instrument maker of German origin. His certificate of apprenticeship states that he learned organ building under Johann Ernst Hähnel of Lower Meissen between 10 Dec 1728 and the same date in 1735. He worked about 1745–8 in London before settling in Dublin about 1749 (residing at 71 Marlborough Street from c1750 onwards). He married Rachel Wilcocks in 1755, and after his death she carried on the business with their son Thomas Ferdinand (bap. Dublin, 19 April 1756) at 75 Marlborough Street, until her own death in 1789. The piano maker William Southwell was an apprentice of Weber; Robert Woffington, who succeeded Weber as the leading organ builder in Dublin until the establishment of William Telford’s firm about 1832, might also have been his pupil.

Weber’s work is first mentioned in Faulkner’s ...


Christopher Monk

(b Leipzig, Feb 3, 1927). German wind instrument maker and restorer . He is noted for his restorations and fine reproductions of early wind instruments including crumhorns, shawms, dulcians, rauschpfeifen, cornetts, recorders, rackets, gemshorns, sorduns, oboes, bassoons and portatives. He took up the organ as a schoolboy and visited many old organs in north Germany. He became first a mechanic and later a painter and commercial artist. In Berlin he was trained by Gerhard Muchow to restore pictures and wood carvings and also learnt to play the recorder, oboe and bassoon. His taste for music of the 15th to the 17th centuries led to an unsuccessful search for instruments with sounds that matched the old organs he loved. He learnt wood-turning at Hamburg and made his first instruments there in 1947, simply to produce the sounds he wanted for amateur music-making. He was encouraged to start his own workshop in ...


Laurence Libin

(b Ahrenshoop, Germany, Jan 20, 1954). German organ builder and restorer. After army service and training with a cabinet maker, he was apprenticed to the Jehmlich firm in Dresden, rising to become head of restorations. For Jehmlich he supervised work on the 1714 Gottfried Silbermann organ in Freiburg cathedral and the 1808 Lütkemüller in Güstrower cathedral. He then briefly joined the restoration staff of the instrument museum of the Karl Marx University (University of Leipzig) before opening his own workshop in Dresden Neustadt in 1989; he obtained his Meisterbrief in 1990. Wegscheider’s first independent project was a new organ for Allstedt Castle in Mansfeld, noteworthy for using only traditional materials and for enabling performance in either of two temperaments. Subsequent projects included restoration of a small Silbermann organ (1734) at Bremen cathedral and replication of it for the Silbermann Museum in Frauenstein. Meanwhile Wegscheider’s workshop expanded and relocated in ...


Stephen Ruppenthal

revised by David Patterson


(b East Grand Rapids, MI, Sept 25, 1945). American composer, film maker and video artist. He worked with Moog at the Independent Electronic Music Centre in Trumansburg, New York (1965–9) and studied composition at the Cleveland Institute with Erb (BMus 1973) and at New York University with Fennelly (MA 1980, PhD 1989). His earliest awards include first prize in the Sonavera International Tape Music Competition (New York, 1979). Weidenaar has received widespread recognition in the USA and abroad for his films and videotapes, which integrate variations of texture and colour developed parallel to analogue tape music. His Love of Line, of Light and Shadow: the Brooklyn Bridge (1982, for clarinet and stereo and colour video), realized for the centenary of the Brooklyn Bridge, was chosen for inclusion in the Eastman School’s International Computer Music Conference (1983) and the second annual New York City Experimental Video and Film Festival. He has received the Special Distinction Award from the Tokyo Video Festival (...



Walter Supper

German firm of organ builders. It was founded in Stuttgart in 1845 by Carl Gottlieb Weigle (b Ludwigsburg, 19 Nov 1810; d 1882), formerly an apprentice to his brother-in-law, Eberhard Friedrich Walcker. Weigle built some 100 organs by 1880, when his son Wilhelm Theodor Friedrich Weigle (b Stuttgart, 17 Nov 1850; d Stuttgart, 6 Jan 1906) took over the company; he moved it to Echterdingen in 1888. There he patented (1893–4) a type of loud, high-pressure metal pipe (Stentor) with mouth extending across half the pipe’s circumference, like a steam whistle; it did not endure. Yet under his direction the firm produced well-regarded pneumatic-action organs and exported instruments overseas. In 1902 the firm escaped bankruptcy. Together with J. & P. Schiedmayer, in 1908 Weigle built for the Protestant church in Eichwalde a hybrid harmonium and nine-stop pipe organ, called Parabrahm from an Indian term meaning ‘perfection’ and ‘completion’; two others were built, in ...


(b Hanover, Germany, June 1863; d Los Angeles, CA, Jan 30, 1937). American instrument maker of German birth. He is famous for wood-bodied Hawaiian steel guitars he manufactured in Los Angeles, California, between 1915 and 1937. Little is known about his life in Germany. Weissenborn arrived in New York in 1902, then moved in 1910 in Los Angeles, where he worked as a piano repairman. He briefly partnered with one Fritz Pulpaneck to make violins, but an opportunity to build steel guitars shortly arose. Steel guitar maker Chris J. Knutsen arrived in Los Angeles in 1914 to make instruments for music publisher and teacher Charles S. DeLano, but could not keep up with the demand for DeLano-branded Kona Hawaiian guitars, particularly with the growing Hawaiian music craze and the impending Panama Pacific Exposition. DeLano turned to other stringed instrument makers in the Los Angeles area, including Weissenborn. His earliest steel guitars are almost indistinguishable from Knutsen’s as he learned the craft; however, his craftsmanship was superior. Weissenborn was soon making Hawaiian guitars with his own paper label, experimenting with tone woods such as spruce and maple as well as koa, an acacia sub-species found only in Hawaii. By about ...


Charles Beare

revised by Philip J. Kass

(b Wildberg, Germany, Aug 25, 1913; d Los Angeles, June 24, 1991). American violin maker and restorer of German origin. He was born of musical parents, and as a young man studied violin making at the school in Mittenwald, Bavaria. After further experience in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany, he emigrated to the USA in 1936, working as a restorer first with Emil Herrmann in New York, then with Lewis & Son in Chicago, and again with Herrmann until his workshop closed in 1945. During his time with Herrmann he worked under Fernando Sacconi. In 1947 he established his own business in Hollywood, California. After his death, the shop was continued by his assistant Margaret Shipman (b Denver, 7 Oct 1946) who had joined the workshop in 1969. His son Michael (b Chicago, 4 Nov 1942) and daughter-in-law Rena (b Berlin, 8 Feb 1940...



Howard Schott

German family of instrument makers , notable for developing various types of Mechanical instrument. The firm, which began by making Orchestrion organs, was founded in 1832 at Vörenbach and later moved to Freiburg. In 1904 M. Welte & Söhne introduced the first reproducing Player piano under the name of ‘Welte-Mignon’ (see also Reproducing piano fig.1). Originally in the form of a separate player mechanism placed in front of the keyboard of a normal piano, it was later built into specially constructed grands and uprights by such prominent makers as Steinway and Gaveau. Shortly afterwards Welte adapted this mechanism to player pipe organs of considerable complexity, some to specifications by Max Reger; these were sold under the trade name ‘Welte-Philharmonie’. Around 1933 Edwin Welte (1876–1957) designed the Lichtton-Orgel (an electronic organ), also known as the Welte organ. The firm suffered as interest in mechanical pianos and organs declined and it was liquidated shortly after the Freiburg premises were destroyed in ...


Hans Klotz

revised by Felix Friedrich

(b Dörna, nr Mühlhausen, bap. Dec 6, 1655; d Mühlhausen, June 13, 1729). German organ builder . He rebuilt the organ at Divi-Blasii-Kirche, Mühlhausen, in 1687–91 (to a plan by J.G. Ahle); he built an organ at Seligenstadt Abbey, 1695; one at the Neue Kirche, Arnstadt, 1701–3 (tested and played by Bach), and he enlarged the organ at Divi-Blasii, Mühlhausen, in 1708 (to a plan by Bach). He also built an organ at the Maria Magdalen-Kirche, Mühlhausen, in 1702 (today preserved in Dörna), and at the Severikirche, Erfurt, in 1714 (the case survives); enlarged one at Merseburg Cathedral in 1714–16 and built one at the Kaufmannskirche, Erfurt, in 1728–9. His work was much in demand; among those who had a high opinion of it were Bach, Kuhnau and Mattheson (who ranked him with Gottfried Silbermann).

In his Principal choruses Wender aimed at the classical arrangement (8′, 4′, 2⅔′, 2′, Mixtur, Zimbel, on the ...


Adri de Groot

(b Otterstedt, nr Bremen, Aug 10, 1746; d May 27, 1805). German organ builder, also active in the Netherlands. His largest organ, a two-manual, 40–stop instrument (destroyed in World War II) was completed for the Grosse Kirche St Cosmas und Damian, Emden, in 1779. Other important organs were built at Backemoor (1783), Zweins (1785), Nieuwolda (1787; his best preserved instrument), Reepsholt (1789), Wolthusen (1790), Westerende (1793), Groothusen (1798), and Weener (1779–82), to which he added a Brustwerk and the last freestanding pedal towers in northern Germany, and rebuilt the cae in Rococo style. Wenthin introduced Rococo-style organ cases to East Friesland, along with ‘modern’ southern stops including the Viola di Gamba, Salicional, the labial Cornet, a wooden Traversflöte, Unda Maris and Vox Angelica. He also employed equal temperament. Knock called Joachim Friedrich ‘a famous artisan’....


C.F. Pohl

revised by Hans J. Zingel



Maria Calderisi

Canadian publisher, instrument maker and dealer . It was founded in Toronto in 1888 by Eri Whaley and G.C. Royce, with a branch in Winnipeg 1889–1922. Its earliest publications were deposited at the copyright office in 1890 and by 1920 the firm’s output (c1500 pieces) surpassed that of all other Canadian music publishers. Unlike most of its competitors, Whaley, Royce & Co. owned a printing plant and functioned also as a job printer. Evidence of the firm’s enterprise is contained in its Descriptive and Select Catalogue of Sheet Music and Music Books published and for sale by Whaley, Royce & Co.(1895). Besides the usual popular and light classical repertory, the company published serious works including a piano arrangement of Sibelius’s Finlandia (1894) and Rhakmaninov’s Prelude op.3 no.2 (1923), as well as the music of many Canadian composers, notably R.S. Ambrose, Gena Branscombe, W.O. Forsyth, C.A.E. Harriss and Clarence Lucas. Calling itself ‘Canada’s Greatest Music House’, the firm also produced songbooks, operatic vocal scores, cantatas and oratorios, educational music and two periodicals. Its publishing activities waned considerably from ...


Frank Kidson

revised by William C. Smith and Peter Ward Jones

English firm of music publishers and instrument makers . Although supposedly established in London about 1750, the earliest identifiable figure in the business was Charles Wheatstone (1768–1823), who came from a Gloucester family, and who was active in London from about 1791. The firm was known as Wheatstone & Co. from about 1815. Charles's brother William (b Gloucester, 17 Aug 1775; d London, 12 July 1854) moved with his family to London in 1806, where he became a flute teacher and manufacturer and music seller on his own account from about 1813, holding patents for improvements to the instrument. He also published a number of books of airs for the flute.

His sons, the future Sir Charles Wheatstone (b Gloucester, 6 Feb 1802; d Paris, 19 Oct 1875) and William Dolman (b Gloucester, 1804; d London, 30 Aug 1862) entered their uncle's business, which they took over following his death, and William senior then amalgamated his own business with theirs about ...


Margaret Cranmer

British firm of piano makers. The firm was founded in 1876 by W.M.Y. Maxwell to import and distribute Blüthner pianos from Leipzig to the British Isles. Later, he entered a partnership with W.J. Whelpdale (d 1913) and, following a fire at the uninsured London factory of Squire and Longson in 1934, they hired the staff from this firm, acquired premises and began manufacturing an upright piano which they named the Welmar after the two directors. In 1939 the company was renamed Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd Ltd, after the directors of the time. The firm was allowed to continue manufacturing instruments during World War II and due to wartime regulations five other manufacturers were taken under its wing. The factory of one of these firms, Sir Herbert Marshall & Sons Ltd, makers of Marshall & Rose upright Pianos, suffered considerable bomb damage during the war, and Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd have continued to produce these instruments to the present day. Following the liquidation of the Bentley Piano Company in ...


Anne Beetem Acker

English family of virginal makers, active in London. Of 22 known English virginals, 7 were built by members of the family. Thomas (i) was the father of Thomas (ii), and Gabriel Townsend apprenticed with him, so he was almost certainly a virginal maker. Thomas (ii) (bur. London, 5 Jan 1660) lived in Old Jewry, London. A surviving ottavino (1638, private collection) by him is most likely the child of a mother and child virginal, the only known example of this type made in England. His virginal of 1642 (GB.L.v) is the second-oldest known English virginal. It has a Flemish-style soundboard painting and naive paintings inside the lid and on the drop front. Other extant examples of his work are also typical English virginals (1651, GB.Y.m; 1653, Duke of Devonshire, Hardwick Hall, England). Thomas (iii) was admitted free of the Joiners’ Company in 1669. A typical English virginal at the National History Museum, Cardiff, is probably by this Thomas White, but there has been some speculation about the date, possibly ...


Percival Price

revised by Charles Bodman Rae

Since 1968 the official name of a bellfoundry located in Whitechapel Road, east London. The lineage of the foundry can be traced back to at least 1420. From 1570 its bells have been produced by master bellfounders of the following families: Mot (16th century); Carter, Bartlett and Clifton (17th century); Phelps, Lester, Pack, Chapman and Mears (18th century); Mears, Stainbank and Lawson (19th century); and Hughes (from 1904). From 1865 to 1968 the foundry was known as Mears & Stainbank. It has been principally engaged in making tower bells, both single and in short-range diatonic series: the latter mostly for swinging in the manner of English change-ringing, but some to be rung hanging stationary, as chimes. From the early 19th century or before, it also made musical handbells. At first these were mostly sets of 8 to 12 bells in diatonic series for practising change-ringing; but with the increasing popularity of handbell music in the 20th century (...


Robert E. Eliason

(b Lebanon-Goshen, CT, 1789 or 1790; d Knoxboro, NY, March 25, 1871). American maker of musical instruments. Whiteley ran a music store and woodwind instrument making shop in Utica, New York, from 1810 to 1853. He probably learned the trade from Erastus Wattles (1778–1839) in Lebanon-Goshen before the family moved to New York. In 1816 he published one of the earliest American musical instrument instruction books, revealing some of the music teaching methods and popular repertoire of the day. The discovery of the remains of his shop in 1965 by Frederick R. Selch and Victor Fell Yellin showed in some detail the process he used in making flageolets, flutes, and clarinets. More than 50 instruments signed by Whiteley are known, many of them in museums and historical societies. They include a barrel organ and two bassoons, as well as flageolets, fifes, flutes, and clarinets. He made one-to eight-key flutes and five-to ten-key clarinets. Clarinets appear to have been his specialty, for the many surviving examples show that he made them in a wide variety of sizes (F, E-flat, C, B-flat, and B-flat/A) in both Continental and English styles. His shop employed no more than one or two workmen, and each instrument is distinctive in design detail. His apprentice from ...


Charles Beare

(b ?Nuremberg, Oct 2, 1722; d Gostenhof, Nuremberg, June 10, 1776). German violin maker . He was the most important 18th-century German violin maker outside Mittenwald. Widhalm often selected the most handsome material available, and the sharpness and good taste of his work show him to have been an excellent craftsman. He was doubtless influenced by these same qualities in the instruments of the celebrated Nuremberg lute makers, but his primary inspiration was Jacob Stainer, from whose model he appears never to have departed. Widhalm’s best instruments have a soft orange or orange-red varnish, others light brown. Occasionally he made dark, almost black violins of small merit. He made very good cellos and violas. Instruments of the same character as his, and with the same label and interior brand ‘L.W.’, are seen dated after 1800, from which one may infer that the family business continued in the hands of his sons....


Philip Bate

revised by Edward H. Tarr

(Friedrich )

(b Aschersleben, Aug 10, 1802; d Berlin, Aug 4, 1872). German musician and instrument designer . He was the most important member of a prominent German musical family. After receiving instruction in wind instruments from his father, Wilhelm studied in Dresden and Leipzig and in 1824 took up a professional appointment as a royal chamber musician in Berlin. In 1825 he reorganized a military band, introducing some valved instruments. From 1828 to 1843 he accepted various positions of leadership, ranging from the regimental band of the Royal Life Guards to the entire Prussian military musical establishment, with Wieprecht all the while remaining a civilian. At the founding of the German Empire in 1871, Wieprecht's musical organization was introduced in all the other German states.

His interest in wind instruments brought him into contact in 1828 with the firm of Griesling & Schlott, the makers of the first really practical piston valves. Soon after, he entered into a long-lasting association with J.G. and C.W. Moritz. Wieprecht's name has been associated since Kalkbrenner's time with the plump looking Berlin valve (Ger. pl. ‘Berliner Pumpen’), for which he was refused a Prussian patent in ...