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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

Frank Kidson

revised by William C. Smith and Peter Ward Jones

(d London, c1749). English music publisher, instrument maker and engraver, established in London. He was employed by John Hare's widow, Elizabeth (see Hare family), until her retirement in 1734, when he set up in business for himself, taking over the trade sign from Mrs Hare and probably also her stock and plates. He also had connections for a short time with Thomas Cobb, and when James Oswald arrived in London in 1741 he may have worked for Simpson, who published some of his compositions.

Simpson's early publications were mostly sheet songs, many of which were later gathered into the volume of Harmonia anglicana (1744) containing the earliest known appearance of God Save the King. This collection was almost immediately reissued with the title changed to Thesaurus musicus, and a second volume was added in about 1745. Other notable publications were Henry Carey's The Musical Century...

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 (...

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

Charles Beare

revised by Carlo Chiesa and Duane Rosengard

Member of Stradivari family

Italian family of violin makers.

(b ? Cremona, 1644–9; d Cremona, Dec 18, 1737). Maker of violins and other instruments. Since the end of the 18th century he has been universally regarded as the greatest of all violin makers. In point of tonal excellence, design, beauty to the eye and accuracy of workmanship his instruments have never been surpassed. Stradivari inherited more than 100 years of Cremonese violin-making tradition, and upon this firmest of foundations he built his own unique career. At the peak of a working life spanning almost 70 years he brought his art to a perfection which has not been equalled. Later, at least two of his sons worked with him, but both died within a few years of their father, and thus almost the entire production of the family workshop is attributed to Antonio. In all, some 650 of his instruments survive, many of them used by the world’s leading string players....

Article

Charles Beare

revised by Carlo Chiesa and Duane Rosengard

Member of Stradivari family

(b Cremona, Feb 1, 1671; d Cremona, May 11, 1743). Violin maker , eldest son of (1) Antonio Stradivari. Although only a handful of his instruments still bear their original labels, he was nevertheless a highly important maker, though perhaps less spontaneous and confident than his father. He was his father's right-hand man for over 50 years, during which time he assisted in the building and occasionally the design of a wide variety of bowed and plucked instruments. He was perhaps responsible for the modification of the ‘forma B’ cello, about ...

Article

Charles Beare

revised by Carlo Chiesa and Duane Rosengard

Member of Stradivari family

(b Cremona, Nov 14, 1679; d Cremona, June 9, 1742). Violin maker , son of (1) Antonio Stradivari. While still a young man he travelled to Naples, perhaps in pursuit of a career outside violin making. He made violins intermittently after 1700, and a great deal of his time was taken up with social acitivities unrelated to the family workshop. The most well travelled of the Stradivari family, as a young man he spent a long period in Naples. Later in life he was on familiar terms with Tomaso Vitali, the leading violinist at Modena. Nevertheless, Omobono did build a recognizable number of violins which though not up to high artistic standards of his father and brother, are highly appreciated for their acoustic qualities....

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

Frank Kidson

revised by William C. Smith and Peter Ward Jones

English family of music publishers, printers and string instrument makers . The business was founded in London by Peter Thompson about 1741, when he took over the business of John Young; it was continued after his death (c1757) by his widow Ann and son Charles, sometimes under the imprint Thompson & Son. About 1761 they were joined by a second son, Samuel Thompson (d Aug 1795), to become Thompson & Sons. Ann left the firm in about 1763, and thereafter it was under the direction of various family members whose names appeared on its imprints: it was under the joint management of Charles and Samuel until about 1776, after which Samuel continued alone for a year; he was then joined by another Ann (whose relationship to the preceding Ann is not known), and these two remained with the firm until Samuel’s death, on their own (...

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 ...

Article

Barbara Owen

American organ-building firm. The firm was founded in Houston in 1973 by Jan R. Rowland (b Beaumont, TX, 3 June 1944) and Pieter A. Visser (b Amsterdam, 3 Nov 1940). Rowland, a graduate of Lamar University, first worked as an installer for the Wicks firm, then went on to work for the Walcker firm in Germany from 1968 to 1969, and the Berkshire Organ Co. in the USA from 1969 to 1973. Visser was apprenticed to L. Verscheuren in the Netherlands; he went to the USA in 1960, where he worked as an installer for both Wicks and Walcker from 1960 to 1972, and for Berkshire in 1973. Visser-Rowland builds organs primarily with mechanical action, often with electric stop and combination action; their tonal designs lean towards the north European ‘neo-Baroque’ style. The firm has built some organs of substantial size, including those in St Anne’s Catholic Church, Houston (...