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Article

Stephen Bicknell

English firm of organ builders. It was founded in Liverpool by William Rushworth. The firm became Rushworth & Dreaper at the beginning of the 20th century when Rushworth absorbed the Dreaper brothers’ music retail business. After World War I the company was able to offer first-class work at competitive prices, securing the contracts for new organs at Christ's Hospital chapel, Horsham (5 manuals, ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Harpsichord manufacturing firm founded by Simon Sabathil (b c1896; d Vancouver, 1980) in 1948 near Salzburg. Sabathil was a choir director, pianist, and organist who had worked for the Förster piano firm in Munich. His son Sigurd (b Marienbad, Czechoslovakia, 1939) began working with his father at the age of nine. In 1959 they emigrated to Canada and in 1960 established S. Sabathil & Son, Ltd in Vancouver, moving to Bowen Island in 1989. In the 1970s they manufactured annually about 100 harpsichords, virginals, and clavichords of modern design, the largest harpsichords being more than three metres long and having eight pedals. After Simon’s death the firm turned more to historical prototypes, but in the 1990s production dropped to 10 to 30 instruments annually, and output declined into the 2000s, when Sigurd shifted his business to the restoration of antique pianos. Sabathil’s modern harpsichords have an aluminium frame that overclads a wooden pinblock, adjustable plastic jacks, a crowned soundboard (which in later years was made from local western red cedar), and double-pinned laminated maple bridges. About 30% of the firm’s instruments were sold in Canada, most of the rest in the USA....

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

South Korean manufacturer of acoustic and digital instruments. The name Samick (‘three benefits’) refers to benefits to the company, its customers, and the national economy. Founded in 1958 by Hyo Ick Lee (d 1990) as a Baldwin piano distributor, the Samick Piano Co. began building uprights from imported parts under the name Horugel in 1960. In 1964 Samick became the first exporter of Korean pianos and in 1970 manufactured the first Korean grand. Guitar production began in 1965, eventually expanding to acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitars, banjos, and mandolins under the names Samick, Abilene, Silvertone, and the Greg Bennett Signature series. In 1973 the company was incorporated as Samick Musical Instruments Co., Ltd. In 1983 Samick engaged the German piano designer Klaus Fenner. Fenner introduced European-style scale designs and three-ply ‘surface tension’ soundboards, which are claimed not to crack or lose their crown and to suffer only a slight tonal disadvantage compared with solid spruce soundboards....

Article

Schantz  

Barbara Owen

[Tschantz]

American firm of organ builders. It was founded in Kidron, Ohio, in 1873 by Abraham J. Tschantz (b Kidron, 7 March 1849; d Orrville, Ohio, 14 Sept 1921), a cabinet maker of Swiss descent. Abraham (who dropped the T from his name in 1899) at first built only reed organs, and was so successful that he moved to a larger factory in Orrville in 1875. His first pipe organ was built in 1890 for the First United Brethren Church of Canton, Ohio, and not long afterwards he developed and produced the Zephyr electric fan blower. Shortly after the turn of the century Abraham’s sons Edison (1878–1974), Oliver (1882–1938) and Victor (i) (1885–1973) joined the firm, followed in the 1930s and 40s by his grandsons John, Paul and Bruce, later the principals of the company with Victor Schantz (ii) and Jack Sievert. The Schantz Organ Co. grew considerably during the 20th century, and between World War II and ...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

The name of two German firms of piano makers. The first was set up in 1809 by Johann Lorenz Schiedmayer (b Erlangen, 2 Dec 1786; d Stuttgart, 3 April 1860) and his partner Carl Dieudonné (d 1825) in Stuttgart. Johann’s grandfather, Balthasar Schiedmayer (b Erlangen, 25 Oct 1711; d Erlangen, 5 Oct 1781), and father, Johann David Schiedmayer (b Erlangen, 20 April 1753; d Nuremberg, 24 March 1805), had both been well-established piano makers, the latter working with J.A. Stein at Augsburg from 1778 to 1781. Johann Lorenz soon became a well-known maker nationally, competing successfully with imports from Vienna, Paris and London. Upright pianos were produced as early as 1842. The business became Schiedmayer & Söhne in 1845 when his sons, Adolf (b Stuttgart, 1819; d Stuttgart, 17 Oct 1890) and Hermann (b Stuttgart, 1820; d Stuttgart, 1861...

Article

Cyril Ehrlich

revised by Edwin M. Good

German firm of piano makers. Established in 1885 in Leipzig, the firm moved to Brunswick in 1929 as part of a cooperative, becoming independent in 1931. Destroyed by bombing in 1944, the factory was again producing pianos by 1948. Thereafter production expanded vigorously, reaching a peak of approximately 9000 instruments a year about ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

[Seiffert]

German and Austrian piano manufacturers. Franz Martin Seuffert (b Würzburg, Germany, 10 Jan 1773; d Vienna, Austria, 3 July 1847) studied with his father, Franz Ignaz Seuffert, and with Anton Walter in Vienna. In 1802, with Joseph Wachtl and Jakob Bleyer (another Walter pupil), Franz Martin co-founded a firm to make pianos, but he left in 1811 after disagreement over the invention of an upright piano. That same year, he received Viennese citizenship and was designated a master. By 1816 he was independently making upright pianos, as well as schrankenförmige Harfen, or ‘cabinet harps’. He succeeded his father as Würzburg court organ builder, holding that title until 1834.

The piano maker Johann Seidler (b 1791) partnered with Franz Martin Seuffert from 1827 to 1846 under the name Seuffert & Seidler. In 1836, Seuffert patented a cast-iron piano frame and an upright action. His son Eduard (...

Article

Cheng Liu and Stewart Carter

Largest Chinese manufacturer of traditional instruments. Located in the Minhang district of Shanghai, the corporation was founded in 1958 through the consolidation of 86 small workshops. Huifang Ren led the company from its inception through 1962; Guozhen Wang has served as its director since 1998. The firm produces more than 60,000 erhus (including about 100 of top professional quality) and 40,000 guzhengs annually, and also makes pipas, ruans, yangqins, Chinese flutes, and a few non-Chinese instruments, notably marimbas. Proprietary subsidiaries of the corporation include Dunhuang Musical Instruments Company, Shanghai Guibao Musical Instruments Company, and Lankao Shanghai Musical Instruments Company in Lankao. The firm has manufactured instruments under the Dunhuang brand since 1962. In 1999 the firm signed a cooperative agreement with the Central Chinese Orchestra in Beijing, under which instruments in that orchestra have gradually been replaced with Dunhuang instruments. The firm also maintains a close relationship with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Many instruments bearing the Dunhuang brand are exported, particularly through Eason Music in Singapore....

Article

Theodor Wohnhaas

German firm of piano makers. One of the oldest and most notable Bavarian piano manufacturers, it was founded by Eduard Steingraeber (b Rudolstadt, 20 Aug 1823; d Bayreuth, 14 Dec 1906), who from 1840 to 1844 trained as a piano maker under his father Christian Heinrich Steingraeber and his uncle Gottlieb Steingraeber in Rudolstadt. After three years of travels, when he also met Streicher in Vienna, he returned to his father’s workshops in 1848. In 1852 he founded his own piano workshops in Bayreuth, where his sons Johann Georg Steingraeber (1858–1932) and Burkhard Steingraeber (1866–1945) became partners in 1892. Johann moved to Berlin in 1910 and became a leading maker of modern harpsichords (see also Harpsichord). Burkhard’s son-in-law Heinrich Hermann became head of the firm Steingraeber & Sons in 1920. From 1951 Heinrich Schmidt, Hermann’s nephew, directed the firm, and was followed by his son Udo Schmidt-Steingraeber....

Article

Hans Klotz

revised by Theodor Wohnhaas

German firm of organ builders. It was founded by Georg Friedrich Steinmeyer (b Walxheim, Württemberg, 21 Oct 1819; d Oettingen, 22 Feb 1901) who, after a period of study with A. Thoma of Oettingen, became an assistant of E.F. Walcker of Ludwigsburg, set up on his own in Oettingen in 1847 and produced his first organ in 1848 at Frankenhofen. Under his management over 700 organs were built including the cathedral organs of Bamberg, Munich and Speyer. His son Johannes Steinmeyer (b Oettingen, 27 June 1857; d Oettingen, 22 July 1928) became a partner in 1884, and owner in 1901. He was responsible for the preservation of the Trinity organ built by K.J. Riepp at the Benedictine abbey of Ottobeuren (restored despite the abbey’s plans for its reconstruction). In 1928 he built for Passau Cathedral the largest church organ in the world (at that time), with five manuals and 208 stops. His son Hans Steinmeyer (...