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Article

Hans Klotz

revised by Ole Olesen

Danish firm of organ builders . It was founded in 1806 by Jürgen Marcussen (1781–1860); it operated under the name of Marcussen & Reuter from 1826 to 1848, when it became Marcussen & Søn. Johannes Lassen Zachariassen (1864–1922), a great grandson of the founder, was managing director from 1902 to 1922, and his son Sybrand (1900–60) from 1922 to 1960. Sybrand’s son Sybrand Jürgen (b Flensburg, 22 Oct 1931) became director in 1960, and the latter’s daughter Claudia Zachariassen (b Sønderborg, 26 May 1969) joined the firm in 1995. The firm is based in Åbenrå, southern Jutland, and has been active chiefly in Denmark, but it has also built in northern Germany, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Japan and the USA. Among its important works are the organs in Christiansborg Slotskirche, Copenhagen (1829), the Nikolaikirche, Kiel (1842...

Article

Tony Bacon

British amplifier manufacturer. After requests from British rock guitarists and bass players who needed an affordable amplifier capable of high sound levels, the drum teacher and music shop owner Jim Marshall teamed up with his service engineer Ken Bran in 1962 to produce a British-made musical instrument amplifier based on the Californian-made Fender Bassman. Marshall and Bran’s amplifiers were soon developed into the famous ‘Marshall stack’, consisting of an amplifier head containing the valves, circuitry and controls sitting on top of two ‘four-by-twelve’ cabinets, each containing four Celestion 12-inch (30·48 cm) loudspeakers. Delivering 50 watts RMS and frequently more, the ‘stacks’ provided exactly the sort of high power demanded by emerging players such as Pete Townshend of The Who and Jimi Hendrix. Players such as these were playing electric guitars through Marshall amplifiers at increasingly extreme volume levels in the late 1960s as venues became larger and outdoor festivals more popular. Marshall also produced ‘combo’ amplifiers which combined the amplifier and loudspeakers within one cabinet. Building on the fame of their early innovations, Marshall has become a leading supplier of equipment wherever high quality and high volume amplification is required....

Article

Margaret Cranmer and Barbara Owen

American firm of piano and reed organ makers . It was founded in Boston in 1854 by Henry Mason (1831–90), son of the composer Lowell Mason, and Emmons Hamlin (1821–85). Hamlin had previously been employed by the George A. Prince melodeon factory as superintendent of tuning, in which capacity he had developed the art of voicing free reeds to produce imitative effects; this system ultimately led to the development of the modern theatre organ. The firm’s first instruments were of the traditional melodeon type; it soon began making larger models with a greater variety of stops, and in 1861 changed the name of these products to ‘cabinet organ’ (sometimes referred to as the ‘flat top’ melodeon). By 1867, when it was awarded a first prize at the Paris Exposition, the firm was manufacturing about a quarter of the reed organs produced in the USA. In the 1890s its models ranged from the tiny ‘Baby’ organ (introduced ...

Article

Jaak Liivoja-Lorius

revised by Philip J. Kass

French firm of violin and bow makers and dealers. Charles-Nicolas Maucotel (b Mirecourt, France, 1 Nov 1807; d after 1860) served his apprenticeship with Blaise Mast in Mirecourt and later worked for Gand in Paris (from 1834) and for William Davis in London (from 1844). In 1849 he established his own workshop in London, which he operated until the mid-1850s, when he returned permanently to France. As far as is known all his mature work bears a brief latinized printed label dated from London. His younger brother, Charles Adolphe Maucotel (b Dombasle, nr Mirecourt, France, 11 Dec 1818; d Paris, France, 5 Feb 1858), also served his apprenticeship in Mirecourt. Between 1839 and 1844 he worked for Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume in Paris, then had his own workshop in Paris, first at the Gallerie Vivienne, next on the rue Croix des Petits Champs, and finally on the rue Princesse. He was very highly regarded as a maker, winning awards at the expositions of ...

Article

Laurence Libin

[Theodore M. ]

(b Somerset, KY, 1910; d Twin Falls, ID, April 1, 2001). American guitar company executive and pioneer in the development of electric guitars. An engineering graduate of the University of Cincinnati (1933), he worked for the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., first as an accountant and eventually as director of purchasing for the retail division. During World War II he was an army engineer. He became general manager of the Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1948, vice president in 1949, and was its president from 1950 to 1966. During this period he secured several patents and profitably advanced Gibson’s manufacture of electric guitars, notably in the early 1950s the warm-toned solid-body Les Paul models that later formed the core of Gibson’s reputation. McCarty promoted the design of innovative models (e.g. the three-pickup ES-5, the classic ES-175 ‘jazz box’, and the classic semi-hollow ES-335) and various improvements such as Gibson’s Tune-o-matic bridge system, humbucking pickup (designed by Seth Lover), and the futuristic Explorer, Flying V, Moderne (these three designed by the automobile designer Ray Dietrich), SG, and Firebird lines. During McCarty’s tenure Gibson’s output grew to more than 100,000 instruments annually. He left Gibson to become part-owner and president of the Kalamazoo-based Bigsby Company, specializing in guitar vibrato systems and accessories; he retired in ...

Article

Meares  

Peter Ward Jones and David Hunter

[Mears, Meers]

Two English instrument makers, music publishers and sellers, father (d ?London, ?1722) and son (b London, ?1671; d London, ?1743). They were active in London from the 1660s to 1743. Richard Meares the elder was possibly the leading maker of viols of his time; he also made lutes and other string instruments. His instruments are usually distinguished by their tasteful purfling and woodwork, and high-quality varnish. He may have been the teacher of Edward Pamphilon, Barak Norman and Nathaniel Cross. Instruments can be seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (bass viol, c1677), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City (bass viol, c1682), and the Dolmetsch Family Collection, Haslemere (alto viol, c1668). Richard Meares the younger is credited with few instruments, and these tend to be of the violin family, then newly fashionable in society.

The firm sold music, and advertised it from at least ...

Article

Gillian Weir

Swiss firm of organ builders , formerly Metzler & Söhne. It was founded in 1890 in Graubünden by Jakob Metzler. In 1930 his son Oscar moved the company to Dietikon (Zurich). In 1968 the direction was taken over jointly by his sons, Oskar and Hansueli. Since 1990 the company has been managed by a fourth generation of Metzlers: Andreas (planning and voicing) and Matthias (business and technical).

Although always craftsmanlike, the work of the firm was not especially distinctive until the mid-1950s when, on the insistence of the family’s younger generation, it became more closely allied with the European organ reform movement. It achieved notable success, with its instruments in Schaffhausen and the Grossmünster, Zürich, built in consultation with the distinguished Danish organ builder and designer Poul-Gerhard Andersen. An enlightened tonal design and ‘reformed’ voicing techniques joined with the firm’s traditional precision of workmanship to produce a general excellence which established it as Switzerland’s most important builder. A new organ in ...

Article

Modcan  

Anne Beetem Acker

Modular synthesizer company established by Bruce Duncan (b Toronto, ON, 30 April 1958) in 1995 in Toronto. The name comes from ‘modular Canada’. Duncan first worked with string instruments, apprenticing with the lute maker Michael Schreiner in Toronto and Stephen Gottlieb in the UK. A Canada Arts Council grant enabled him to set up his own workshop for historical string instruments. In 1985 he took a course in piano tuning and worked briefly as a piano tuner, then switched to architectural model making. He also freelanced making prototypes for industrial designers, developing skills in working with plastics and teaching himself electronics and programming.

Inspired by the score for the film A Clockwork Orange (1971) and by the synthesized recordings of Bach by Walter Carlos, Duncan played the synthesizer for local bands in the late 1970s and later started collecting vintage synthesizers. Modcan, begun as a hobby, grew into Duncan’s full-time occupation from ...

Article

Möller  

Barbara Owen

American firm of organ builders . It was founded as M.P. Möller at Warren, Pennsylvania, in 1875 by Mathias Peter Möller (b Bornholm, Denmark, 1854; d Hagerstown, MD, 1937). After training as a mechanic Möller emigrated to the USA in 1872 and worked for the organ builders Derrick & Felgemaker, of Erie, Pennsylvania. While there he developed an improved wind-chest. In 1880 he moved his business to Hagerstown, where it remained, becoming the largest manufacturer of pipe organs in the USA. During the 1930s Richard Whitelegg, a noted voicer, was Möller’s tonal director. On Möller’s death, his son, M.P. Möller jr (1902–61), became president of the firm. Control stayed with the founder’s family: his son-in-law W. Riley Daniels became president in 1961, his grandson Kevin Mackenzie Möller in 1978, and another grandson, Peter Möller Daniels, in 1984. Two former employees of the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. became tonal directors for Möller: Donald Gillett in ...

Article

William C. Smith

revised by Peter Ward Jones

[ Theobald ]

( b Duchy of Modena, 1762; d London, June 14, 1839). Italian flautist, instrument maker and publisher . He apparently played both the flute and the oboe, but gave up the latter after moving to England where he first appeared at a London concert in February 1785, subsequently becoming well known as a solo and orchestral flautist, and remaining active in this capacity until about 1803. In 1787 he established premises in London where from various addresses he published his own compositions (mainly for flute) and other works. From 1789 he sometimes employed the piano maker and music publisher James Ball to print and sell his publications. In 1800 Monzani entered a partnership with Giambattista Cimador as Monzani & Cimador, from about 1803 occupying a building known as the Opera Music Warehouse. Cimador’s arrangement of several Mozart symphonies for flute and strings was allegedly provoked by the refusal of the King’s Theatre orchestra to play the works in their original form because of their difficulty; six of these were published by Monzani after Cimador’s death. From ...

Article

Neale  

Lasairíona Duignan

revised by Barra R. Boydell

Irish family of music publishers, instrument makers and concert promoters . John Neale (or Neal; d after 1739) was active in Dublin musical circles from about 1714. In 1721 he described himself as an instrument maker in Christ Church Yard and was selling violins and imported printed music. By 1723 he was organizing weekly concerts at ‘Mr Neal's Musick Room in Christ Church Yard’ and in the same year was elected president of a social and musical club which later moved to the Bull's Head Tavern in Fishamble Street near Christ Church, subsequently becoming the Charitable and Musical Society. His son William (d 1769) was also active in the Charitable and Musical Society which, in October 1741, while William was treasurer, opened the New Musick Hall in Fishamble Street where in 1741–2 Handel gave concerts including the first performance of Messiah (13 April 1742).

An advertisement in ...

Article

Neupert  

Howard Schott

revised by Martin Elste

German firm of piano and harpsichord makers . Founded by Johann Christoph Neupert (1848–1921) in 1868 as piano builders, it was among the first German makers to add harpsichords, clavichords and fortepianos to its production, in 1906. The company, which has been based in Bamberg since 1874, had begun to assemble a collection of historical stringed keyboard instruments even earlier, in 1895. Eventually this grew to number more than 250 specimens when it was donated to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg in 1968 (a number of instruments from the collection considered to duplicate other examples had been transferred to the Händel-Haus Museum in Halle in 1939).

Hanns Neupert (1902–1980) joined the firm as technical director in 1928, after a three-year apprenticeship in piano building and studies in musicology and physics at the universities of Erlangen and Munich. He wrote a number of works dealing with historical stringed keyboard instruments and their revival in the 20th century. In ...

Article

Maria Calderisi

Canadian firm of music publishers, dealers and piano manufacturers . It was established by Abraham and Samuel Nordheimer, who, having emigrated from Germany to New York in 1839, opened a music shop in Kingston in 1842 and moved to Toronto in June 1844. By 1845 they had issued Joseph Labitzky’s The Dublin Waltzes, the earliest engraved sheet music in Canada. Despite provision for copyright protection under Canadian law, many of the firm’s early publications were engraved in New York and registered there by agents; Nordheimer did not choose to begin registering works in Canada until 1859. That year the firm became the only Canadian member of the Board of Music Trade of the USA, and nearly 300 of its publications were included in the Board’s catalogue (1870).

A. & S. Nordheimer, as the company was first known, issued the usual reprints of popular European songs and piano pieces, as well as new works by such Canadian residents as J.P. Clarke, Crozier, Hecht, Lazare, Schallehn and Strathy. Publications registered between ...

Article

Odell  

Barbara Owen

American firm of organ builders . It was founded (as J.H. & C.S. Odell) in 1859 by John Henry Odell (1830–99) and Caleb Sherwood Odell (1827–93) in New York. Before starting their own company, the Odell brothers had worked for Richard Ferris, and for William Robjohn, whom they succeeded. Although the firm's output was never great and was largely confined to the New York area, the Odells are credited with several important inventions, mostly patented during the 1860s and 1870s, including a reversible coupler action, an early combination action and a crescendo pedal. They were also early experimenters with tubular-pneumatic action, for which they obtained patents in 1872 and 1898. Among their more notable instruments were those built for the Fort Street Presbyterian Church, Detroit (1876), and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York (1893). After the deaths of the founders, the firm was operated for a time by John Henry's son, George Washington Odell, under the name of J.H. & C.S. Odell & Co., and the scope of the company's work gradually narrowed to small organs, rebuilding and maintenance. William Henry Odell, son of Caleb, later operated the company with his sons Caleb H. (...

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

Peter Ward Jones

Scottish music dealers, publishers and instrument makers . The firm was started in Edinburgh about 1819 by Robert Paterson (d 1859) and others as Robert Paterson, Mortimer & Co. In 1826 Peter Walker Roy (d Edinburgh, 7 Dec 1851) joined the firm, which became Paterson & Roy and later opened a London branch. After Roy's death the business traded as Paterson & Sons. Paterson was succeeded at his death by his son Robert Roy Paterson, under whose direction the firm expanded to become one of the most important of its kind in Scotland, with branches in Glasgow (1857, directed by Paterson's elder brother John Walker Paterson), Perth (1864), Ayr (1868), Dundee (1882), Dumfries (1886), Paisley (1887), Kilmarnock (1892), and later Aberdeen and Oban. Its 19th-century publications included Scottish music of all kinds, with many reprints of standard editions of Scottish songs. During the 20th century its publishing activities were gradually taken over by the London branch, which, as Paterson's Publications Ltd, concentrated largely on choral and piano music for school and amateur use. The Scottish branch of the business ceased 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

Lloyd P. Farrar

(b Philadelphia, 1853; d Philadelphia, July 28, 1919). American music publisher and band instrument maker . He worked as an engraver in his father's printing business, gave music lessons and in 1876 founded a publishing house at 9th and Filbert streets in Philadelphia. From copper plates and a manually operated press he issued instrumental tutors, quicksteps and from 1877 to 1912 a monthly periodical entitled J.W. Pepper's Musical Times and Band Journal (later the Musical Times). Around 1887 he acquired a structure at 8th and Locust streets which came to be known as the J.W. Pepper Building, accommodating a large salesroom, an instrument factory and a printing plant, equipped with steam-powered presses to produce sheet music on a large scale. During the next four decades the firm published nearly 200 new titles a year; except for a small group of sacred songs issued by Pepper Publishing Co. 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 ...