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Odyssey  

Article

Hugh Davies

Electronic instrument manufactured by Suzuki in Hamamatsu, Japan, from 1981. It resembles a zither or autoharp, both visually and in playing technique. The instrument offers 27 chords, selected by pushbuttons that are ‘strummed’ in arpeggiated form on a touch-plate. It also incorporates ‘walking bass’ and electronic percussion units. In 1983...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Swedish piano and harmonium maker. The firm was founded in 1888 in Arvika by Anders Nilsson Östlind (b Gunnarskog, Sweden, 30 May 1857; d Stockholm, Sweden, 14 Sept 1915). Östlind produced 19 harmoniums in 1888 and 59 in 1889. Anton Almquist (1864–1949), a music dealer, became a partner in 1890 in charge of the Gothenburg branch office, then was managing director from 1909 to 1928. In 1890 the company produced 128 harmoniums. The firm received a gold medal at the Brussels Exhibition in 1897. In 1918 a consortium was formed with six other piano and harmonium factories under the name AB Förenade Piano- och Orgelfabriker (Associated Piano and Reed Organ Factories), although the individual companies still existed. Almquist was the consortium director from 1918 to 1920. In 1928 Östlind & Almquist produced about 37,000 pianos and harmoniums, output rising to 47,200 in 1936. The company became part of the J.G. Malmsjö piano factory in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Chinese instrument manufacturer, based in Guangzhou. The government-owned firm was formed in 1956 from several piano-making facilities. In the 1950s they were producing four upright pianos per month for the Chinese market. In the mid-1980s the firm was granted import and export rights. By the 1990s, liberalized economic policies coupled with relatively inexpensive raw materials and very low labour costs allowed for rapid expansion.

Under the leadership of Tong Zhi Cheng beginning in 1992, the firm pursued a goal of becoming a world leader in piano sales. They invested in a climate-controlled, 93,000 m2 factory and CNC (computer numerically controlled) machinery from Germany. Foreign industry executives were hired as consultants. By the 2000s, the factory had expanded to 260,000 m2. With its own foundries, lumberyards, and sawmills, Pearl River produces nearly every part of each piano, using Chinese wood exclusively, including veneers. By 2010 the firm employed more than 4000 workers with a capacity of making 100,000 pianos per year....

Article

Carolyn Bryant

[PAS]

International organization established in 1961 to promote percussion education, research, performance, and appreciation. In 2011 it had more than 8500 members, with 49 chapters in the United States and around 30 in other countries. Since 1976 it has held the annual Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) with performances, workshops, exhibits, lectures, and panel discussions, and competitions in composition and in solo and ensemble playing. As part of its educational function, the society sponsored a revision and standardization of drum rudiments, resulting in the PAS International Drum Rudiments, adopted in 1984 and subsequently used by many percussion educators.

PAS has issued two alternating bi-monthly publications, Percussive Notes (begun in 1967 as a newsletter, later expanded to a journal) and Percussion News (a newsletter begun in the mid-1980s). Earlier publications were Percussionist (1963–80), renamed Percussive Notes Research Edition (1981–6).

In 2009 PAS consolidated its operations in Indianapolis, Indiana, allowing it to have its offices, annual convention, museum, and library in the same city. The museum, which houses instruments donated over a period of years, opened in ...

Article

Howard Schott

revised by Anne Beetem Acker

German family of piano makers. Joseph Anton Pfeiffer (1828–81) established the firm in Stuttgart in 1861; it became Carl A. Pfeiffer & Co. after Joseph’s son, Carl Anton Pfeiffer (1861–1927), became head of the firm in 1888. The latter studied piano building in Berlin, London, and New York in the factories of Steinway & Sons and other leading firms. Learned and inventive, he developed pedal pianos for attachment to upright and grand pianos for organ practice, improved keyboard transposition mechanisms, built upright and grand pianos with the Jankó keyboard, and devised special tools for piano construction. As a donor and technical consultant he helped build the instrument collections of the Stuttgart Landesgewerbemuseum and the Deutsches Museum in Munich. He made a copy of the spurious ‘Bach harpsichord’ in Berlin, then still accepted as authentic, and also participated in the early stages of the harpsichord revival in Germany (...

Article

Pilcher  

Barbara Owen

American firm of organ builders . It was founded by Henry Pilcher (1798–1880), a native of Dover who emigrated to the USA about 1832. He set up a business in Newark, New Jersey, in 1833, moving to New Haven, Connecticut, in 1839 and back to Newark in 1844. In 1856 he was joined by his sons Henry jr (1828–90) and William Pilcher (b 1830), the firm becoming known as Henry Pilcher & Sons; it moved to St Louis about 1858. There some notable organs were built, including a large instrument for St Paul’s Church (1859). In 1863 the firm moved to Chicago, where it remained until 1871 when its factory was destroyed in the great fire. The following year Henry Pilcher senior retired, and the firm, under the directorship of Henry jr and his sons R.E., William E., Paul B. and J.V. Pilcher opened a new factory in Louisville, where it grew and prospered. In ...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

French firm of piano makers . It was founded in 1807 at Paris by the composer Ignace Pleyel ( see Pleyel family ). The firm quickly adopted and improved the best features of English piano making; Pape, Jean Henri helped Pleyel from 1811 to 1815 with the building of cottage pianos or ‘pianinos’, small vertically strung uprights invented by the English maker Robert Wornum (ii) which were new to France. In 1815 Ignace’s son Camille Pleyel joined the firm; 14 years later the pianist Frédéric Kalkbrenner joined too and did much to publicize Pleyel pianos. Chopin became closely associated with the firm; he made his début in Paris (26 February 1832) at the Salle Pleyel and later owned a Pleyel grand of 1839 (no.7267) with a single escapement and a light touch. Chopin said ‘when I feel in good form and strong enough to find my own individual sound, then I need a Pleyel piano’. The soundboard introduced by Pleyel in ...

Article

A digital Synthesizer developed by Wolfgang Palm with Wolfgang Düren, and manufactured in several different models by PPG (Palm Production Germany) Synthesizer in Hamburg from 1978. Following the company's bankruptcy in 1986, a similar company involving Palm was founded in 1988 in Waldorf, near Cologne. See Electronic instruments , §IV, 5(iii).

Article

Premier  

James Blades

revised by James Holland

English firm of percussion instrument makers, renamed Premier Percussion in 1984. It was founded in London in 1922 by Alberto della Porta (d 1965), a dance band drummer, and his assistant George Smith. Having been bombed during World War II (radar equipment was also produced on the premises), the firm moved to Wigston, Leicestershire, in 1940. On his death, Alberto della Porta was succeeded by his sons Clifford, Raymond and Gerald, who ran the firm until 1983, manufacturing a comprehensive range of percussion instruments, notably pedal timpani and ‘Creative Percussion’ (formerly New Era Educational Percussion Instruments). In 1966 the firm became the first recipient of the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement. Although they seemed to lack the drive of some of their competitors to update and extend their range of instruments, Premier remained an important manufacturer of percussion instruments at the end of the 20th century. For illustration of Premier instruments, ...