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Walter Hüttel

German family of organists and organ builders. Paul Koch the elder (d Zwickau, 1546), from St Joachimsthal (now Jáchymov), Bohemia, went to Zwickau in 1543 and there renovated the organs in St Marien and St Katharinen. Paul Koch the younger (bur. Zwickau, 28 Sept 1580) worked as organist in Zwickau, from 1544 at St Katharinen, and from 1552 at St Marien. He renovated the organ in Weiden. Hans Koch was organist from 1563 to 1568 at the Petrikirche in Freiberg, Saxony. Stephan Koch (d Zwickau, 29 Dec 1590) was organist at St Dorotheen in Vienna in 1564, and later in Annaberg (Erzgebirge), where he married in 1570. From 21 July 1575 he lived as a wealthy citizen and organist and highly esteemed instrument maker in Zwickau. He completed an organ begun by Jakob Weinrebe in Bischofswerda (Christuskirche, 1571) and built instruments in Olomouc (St Mauritius, ...


Barbara Owen

American firm of organ builders . It was founded in 1860 by John Henry [Johann Heinrich] Koehnken (b Altenbülstedt, nr Zeven, Lower Saxony, 15 May 1837; d Cincinnati, 23 Feb 1897), who succeeded his former employer, the pioneer Cincinnati organ builder Matthias Schwab (1808–63). Koehnken was trained as a carpenter, and emigrated to the USA in 1837, entering Schwab's employ in 1839 and eventually learning all aspects of the craft. Gallus Grimm (b Aixheim, nr Neufra, Württemberg, 16 Oct 1827; d Cincinnati, 1 Aug 1897) was apprenticed to the organ builder Martin Braun in Germany, and began working for Schwab in 1853. Grimm worked with Koehnken from the outset, as a full partner in Koehnken & Co. from 1864, and under the name of Koehnken & Grimm from 1876. For 40 years the firm had a virtual monopoly on organ building in a rapidly developing part of the country. Koehnken retired in ...



James Holland

German firm of percussion instrument manufacturers. It was founded near Stuttgart in 1968 by Bernard Kolberg (b Oberschliesen, Upper Silesia, 1942), a percussionist and engineer. The firm has been influential in extending the possibilities of existing instruments and in the development of new ones. It has produced extended-range tubular bells (three octaves), crotales (five octaves), bell plates (five octaves), anvils (four octaves), boobams (three octaves) and other instruments, and a mounted tambourine to facilitate the endless thumb trill; it has also developed a number of technical innovations for pedal timpani....



Hugh Davies

Japanese firm of electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Tokyo in 1963 by Tsutomu Katoh and the accordion player Tadashi Osanai as Keio Geijutsu Kenkyujo. From 1968 the firm became known as Keio Electronic Laboratories; although they used the brand-name Korg (‘Katoh-Osanai organ’) on the products, this became the company's official name only in the mid-1980s. Keio began by constructing rhythm units for Yamaha's Electone electronic organs, then produced its own separate units, the Doncamatic rhythm machine followed by the MiniPops series. Korg soon became one of the most successful Japanese manufacturers of electronic instruments, and produced the first Japanese synthesizer in 1968. In 1986 Yamaha bought a 40% stake in Korg.

The range of Korg instruments has included monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers (such as the Polysix), synthesizer modules, electronic organs and pianos (many digital models), string synthesizers, home keyboards, electronic percussion units, guitar synthesizers, samplers, electronic tuners and a vocoder. Its most successful product has been the M1 work station (...


Gillian Weir

Swiss firm of organ builders. The firm was founded in Männedorf, near Zürich, by Johann Nepomuk Kuhn (1827–88). He was succeeded by his son, Carl Theodor Kuhn, after whose death in 1925 ownership of the company passed to family friends, who with their successors control the company. By 1876 it had built organs for such important cathedrals as St Gallen and the Zürich Grossmünster, and by 1900 had exported widely, especially to France.

The company has always been noted for its progressiveness, and has patented several major technical innovations, such as the ‘System Kuhn’, developed in 1891 for the firm's first tubular-pneumatic organ. It responded quickly to the Orgelbewegung: the Berne Minster organ of 1930 was built with slider-chests and a Rückpositiv (but electro-pneumatic key- and stop-actions), and the 1937 organ at Fribourg was Kuhn’s first instrument with slider-chests and mechanical key- and stop-action. In 1964 it built its last electric action organ, and since then, under the guidance of Friedrich Jakob, who became associated with Kuhn in ...


Margaret Cranmer

Portuguese firm of piano makers. Luigi Gioacchino Lambertini (b Bologna, 17 March 1790; d Lisbon, 13 Nov 1864) was a fellow student of Rossini at the Liceo Filarmonico (now Conservatorio Statale di Musica G.B. Martini), Bologna. He emigrated to Lisbon for political reasons in 1836, and established a piano-making business with the help of four of the best workers from his Italian workshop, receiving a prize for his instruments in 1838. In 1860, under the direction of his sons Evaristo (b ?Bologna, 10 June 1827; d Lisbon, 7 Dec 1900) and Ermete Lambertini (d Lisbon, 11 Dec 1887), the firm became Lambertini Filhos & Ca., selling and publishing music as well as making pianos. The firm later became Lambertini & Irmão. Evaristo's son, Michel'Angelo Lambertini (b Oporto, 14 April 1852; d Lisbon, 20 Dec 1920), was a fine pianist and founded the Grande Orchestra Portuguesa in ...


John Thomas

Instrument makers of Swedish birth. From the late 1800s through the early 1940s Carl Johan Ferdinand Larson (b Sweden, 31 Dec 1867; d Chicago, IL, 4 Sept 1946) and (Peter) August Larson (b Sweden, 24 April 1873; d Chicago, IL, 16 June 1944) produced a wide array of fretted instruments, including guitars, mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos and mandobasses, ukuleles, tiples and mandolinettos, and harp guitars.

The brothers immigrated to Chicago in the late 1880s and worked at the Cubley Drum Factory until a fire destroyed it in 1892. They subsequently worked at Maurer Mandolin and Guitars, which was purchased by two outside investors in 1900. A few years later, the brothers bought out the investors.

In 1904, August received a patent for a design incorporating laminated bracing that strengthened their guitars, enabling the brothers to equip their instruments with steel strings a full two decades before C.F. Martin and Company. August received four more patents in his lifetime, including one for the steel rod system that ran lengthwise inside the Prairie State brand of guitars....


Rick Mattingly


Manufacturer of Latin-American and other percussion instruments, headquartered in Garfield, New Jersey. The company was founded by Martin Cohen (b Bronx, NY, 28 Jan 1939), an engineer with a passion for Latin music who began making bongos in the late 1950s because a government-imposed trade embargo made instruments from Cuba difficult to obtain. In August 1964, Cohen began marketing products under the name Latin Percussion, including bongos, timbales, and cowbells. LP’s fiberglass congas gained a reputation for being louder and more durable than traditional wood congas. During the 1960s, Cohen also made percussion sound effects for Carroll Sound in New York and cowbells for the Rogers Drum Company.

Cohen’s innovative designs include the Vibraslap, which reproduces the sound made by striking a horse jawbone with rattling teeth; the Afuche/Cabassa, which creates the sound of a traditional cabassa made from gourds wrapped with beads; and the Jam Block, which is made from plastic but replicates the sound of a woodblock. Cohen also became known for his photographs of LP products and endorsers....



Edmund A. Bowles

American firm of drum makers. It was established in Indianapolis in 1900 by Ulysses G. Leedy (b Fostoria, OH, 1867; d Indianapolis, IN, 7 Jan 1931) and Samuel L. Cooley as Leedy & Cooley and made “everything for the band and orchestra drummer.” Leedy, a professional musician and drum maker, bought out his partner in 1903 and broadened the firm’s product line to include more than 900 items, among them orchestra bells, vibraphones, and numerous sound effect instruments to accompany silent movies. Most important were the timpani designed by factory superintendent cecil h. Strupe and patented in 1923. They featured a ratchet-and-pawl clutch for locking the foot pedal in position and rods connected to the tensioning screws around the rim. The copper bowls were formed in a hydraulic press rather than spun on a lathe or hand-hammered over molds. Leedy timpani were exported to England during the 1920s, but later only the parts were shipped and the drums themselves were assembled by the Hawkes firm. Subsequently, they became the model for the first English pedal timpani. Leedy was purchased by the C.G. Conn company in ...



Hugh Davies

revised by William Jurgenson and Anne Beetem Acker

German firm of keyboard instrument makers. It was founded in Stuttgart in 1831 by Richard Lipp (1805–74), who had apprenticed with Haug and thereafter was a journeyman for other Stuttgart builders. At some point the firm became known as Richard Lipp & Sohn, when presumably a son came into partnership who continued the business after his father’s death, but documentation is lacking. Two 6½-octave rosewood square pianos were exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. Surviving 19th-century Lipp grand pianos are very well regarded, with their design at the forefront of piano developments. Piano manufacture constituted the majority of the firm’s business from 1895 to 1965. From 1985 to 1992 pianos under the brand name Lipp were manufactured by the Bentley Co. Ltd and then from 1993 by Whelpdale, Maxwell, & Codd Ltd until that company ceased piano production in 2003. In 2005 the trademark for R. Lipp & Sohn was registered by Neville Charles Oreo of Australia. Three models of grands and four sizes of uprights produced in China were available in ...