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Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

American firm of piano makers. Heinrich Engelhard Steinway [Steinweg] (b Wolfshagen, 25 Feb 1797; d New York, 7 Feb 1871) established with his sons a piano firm that has dominated the industry from the late 1860s to the present. Precise details of Heinrich's early years are scarce. Family tradition claims that after having served in the army against Napoleon until 1818, and being prohibited by the strict guild system to work as a cabinet maker in Goslar, he assisted an organ builder in the nearby town of Seesen. In 1825 Heinrich was permitted to become a builder and cabinet maker (without the benefit of guild approval) to help rebuild the town of Seesen after it had been destroyed by fire. That year also marked the beginning of what became the Steinway dynasty, with Heinrich's marriage to Julianne Thiemer (1804–77) and the birth of their eldest son C.F. Theodor (...

Article

Stodart  

Margaret Cranmer

English firm of piano makers. It was founded by Robert Stodart (b Walston, Lanarks., bap. 19 July 1748; d Edinburgh, 10 March 1831) in 1775 when he set up his own harpsichord- and piano-making business in Wardour Street, London. He was tuning harpsichords for John Broadwood before 1772 (he was previously apprenticed to an engineer in Dalkeith) and had assisted Broadwood and Americus Backers in inventing the English grand action (see Pianoforte, §I, 4 and fig.); in 1777 he patented a combination instrument, which included the earliest patent for this action (see Harpsichord-piano). Some of his grand pianos survive including one from 1781 at Heaton Hall, Manchester, which is five octaves in compass with an undivided, single-pinned, harpsichord-type bridge and three metal gap spacers to strengthen the gap between the soundboard and the wrest plank. One square piano by him survives with a five-octave compass and the English single action....

Article

Margaret Cranmer

Austrian firm of piano makers . It was founded in 1802 when the daughter of Johann Andreas Stein, Nannette (Maria Anna) Stein Streicher (b Augsburg, 2 Jan 1769; d Vienna, 16 Jan 1833), began building pianos independently from her brother Matthäus Andreas Stein. Stein’s children had carried on their father’s firm after his death and moved the firm from Augsburg to Vienna after Nannette’s marriage to the pianist, composer and teacher Johann Andreas Streicher (b Stuttgart, 13 Dec 1761; d Vienna, 25 May 1833) in 1794. Nannette, also a fine pianist, had learnt piano making from her father, and up to 1810 her piano actions were similar to his, being without back checks (see Pianoforte §I 3. and Pianoforte §I 5.). Her business – ‘Nannette Streicher née Stein’ – flourished, and her husband, a professor of music at Vienna, gave up his job to join her. Weber (in a letter to Johann Gänsbacher, ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Australian piano manufacturing firm. It was founded by Wayne Stuart (b 28 March 1954, Ulverstone, Tasmania) in 1990 and is based in Newcastle. From 2000, the firm operated independently under the name Piano Australia Pty Ltd in conjunction with J. Albert & Son, an Australian music publishing and production firm. Stuart studied piano technology at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music (now the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and later with Nippon Gakki (Yamaha), Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Steinway, Grotrian-Steinweg, and Louis Renner.

Stuart set out to design a piano combining traditional and new technologies that would increase dynamic range and sustaining power. A core feature is a metal agraffe for string coupling at the bridge that bends the wire in the vertical plane instead of the normal horizontal plane, so as to encourage the wire to vibrate in the same plane as the hammer strike and discourage elliptical and non-vertical oscillations during the decay, thus producing a more regular decay pattern with an even and long sustain....

Article

Cheng Liu and Stewart Carter

Manufacturer of Chinese instruments, located in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Founded in 1954 the firm nowadays produces approximately 60,000 erhus and 10,000 pipas annually. It also produces ruans, guzhengs, qins, yangqins, suonas, dizis, xiaos, paixiaos, shengs, bianqings, bianzhongs, yunluos, and several types of traditional percussion instruments, as well as some Western-style instruments, such as timpani and harps. The firm also manufactures a few specialty instruments that are essentially enlargements of traditional instruments, intended primarily for use in Chinese traditional orchestras. Among these are the laruan, which resembles a large ruan, but bowed like a cello rather than plucked; and various forms of sheng with metal pipes rather than bamboo, including a bass sheng and a large sheng with a keyboard. The firm’s main factory in Suzhou produces mostly semi-finished instruments, which are sent to a subsidiary factory, also in Suzhou, for painting and other finish work. In 2012 Tian Yongyi was the company’s director and legal representative....

Article

Guy Oldham

revised by Umberto Pineschi

Italian firm of organ builders . Giovanni Tamburini (b Bagnacavallo, 25 June 1857; d Crema, 23 Nov 1942), an accordion maker, was apprenticed as an organ builder to Pietro Anelli of Codogno before joining Pacifico Inzoli of Crema (1887), where he invented the Tamburini wind-chest with double compartments. In November 1893 he established his own business in Crema: direction later passed to his son-in-law Umberto Anselmi, and later still to his grandsons Franco and Luciano, who added ‘Tamburini’ (their mother’s maiden name) to their family name by decree of the President of the Republic of Italy, thus becoming Anselmi-Tamburini. In 1979 the brothers set up independent firms: Franco continued in Crema under the name of Tamburini until October 1995 when he went out of business, while Luciano established his shop in Pianengo under the name ‘Anselmi-Tamburini’, later passing it over to his son Claudio. In 1998 Franco’s son Saverio started a new firm in Crema under the name ‘Comm. Giovanni Tamburini’....

Article

Barbara Owen

American firm of organ builders. It was founded in 1977 in Middletown, Ohio, by George K. Taylor (b Richmond, VA, 26 April 1942) and John H. Boody (b Wakefield, MA, 1 March 1946). Taylor was apprenticed to Rudolph von Beckerath in Germany. He worked briefly on his own in 1969, and then with John Brombaugh from 1970 to 1977. Boody received his training with the Noack Organ Co. After two years in Ohio, the company moved to a larger workship in Staunton, Virginia. Taylor & Boody have made an extensive study of historic European organs and most of their instruments are based on the northern European style of the 17th and 18th centuries with regard to tonal and visual design. All Taylor & Boody organs have mechanical key and stop action, and employ flexible winding systems. Some of the firm’s notable organs include those built for Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts (...

Article

Adri de Groot

Dutch firm of organ builders. Jan Leendert van den Heuvel (b5 Nov 1946) learnt organ building with the Flentrop firm. At the age of 20 he set up his own business in his father’s painting workshop in Dordrecht. His first ten-stop organ was well received and this led to a contract for a three-manual, 32-stop instrument for the Singelkerk, Ridderkerk, completed in 1972. In 1975 he was joined by his brother Peter Aart van den Heuvel (b13 Feb 1958); the firm became known as J.L. van den Heuvel-Orgelbouw B.V. in 1979.

The Van den Heuvels’ love of French Romantic organs and their music inspired a study tour of Cavaillé-Coll instruments with Michelle Leclerc and Daniel Roth. Much of the knowledge gained from this tour was applied to the construction of the four-manual, 80-stop organ behind an old case for the Nieuwe Kerk, Katwijk-aan-Zee, in ...

Article

Adri de Groot

Dutch firm of organ builders. It was founded in Utrecht in 1940 by brothers Rijk van Vulpen (i) (b Utrecht, 11 April 1921; d 15 Nov 1997) and Adrianus (Jos) van Vulpen (b Utrecht, 5 July 1922). They had already built their first organ in their father's plumbing workshop from old parts. On 10 March 1952 the third brother, Evert van Vulpen (b Utrecht, 2 Jan 1929) joined the firm as a salaried worker, and Rijk van Vulpen (ii) (b 3 Aug 1955), son of Adrianus, joined likewise on 1 May 1974. In 1983 Rijk (i) retired, leaving Adrianus as sole proprietor. On 27 March 1997 Rijk (ii) took over the firm and changed the name to Gebr. van Vulpen BV. In 1999 Henk Bouwman (b 1 Sept 1938) and Rijk (ii) led the firm. The firm started to blossom in ...

Article

Adri de Groot

Dutch firm of organ builders. Leonard (Léon) Hubert Verschueren (1866–1957) trained with the firm of Maarschalkerweerd in Utrecht, and then founded a pipe-making workshop in his native village of Heythuysen, Limburg, on 5 May 1891. Within a few years he was supplying more than 30 organ builders at home and abroad with pipes and parts. In 1896 he built his first entirely new mechanical-action organ for the Noordkerk, Schagen. After 1904 Léon developed the business with South German organ builder Max Bittner (d1955), making all parts in-house (a rarity at the time). Tonally their instruments blended South Dutch, Walloon, Rhineland and, through Bittner, South German styles. Actions were pneumatic (a good example is in the Petruskerk, Gulpen).

Verschueren was very struck by the Klais organ in the abbey of Rolduc, which was built in accordance with the principles of the Orgelbewegung. In response he changed his design for the new instrument at St Dyonisius, Schinnen, adopting electro-pneumatic cone-chests and a neo-Baroque specification. His ...