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date: 13 December 2019


  • Carolyn Bryant
  •  and Joseph Manfredo


Firm of instrument manufacturers and importers. The firm was founded in Paris in 1885 by Henri Selmer (1858–1941), a well-known clarinetist. The American company was founded by his brother, Alexandre Selmer (b Caluire-et-Cuire, nr Lyon, 7 Oct 1864; d Chatou, nr Paris, 19 Feb 1953), a clarinetist who went to the United States in 1898 to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1898–1901), later playing in the Cincinnati Symphony (1902–6) and the New York Philharmonic (1909–11). Alexandre’s set of Selmer clarinets attracted attention, and by 1903 he was acting as agent for his brother’s instruments. In 1904 he showed a variety of wind instruments and reeds at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and in 1906 he opened an import and retail business in New York City. He returned to Paris in 1910, leaving the distributorship in the hands of George M. Bundy (...

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S. Sadie and J. Tyrell, eds.: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2/London, 2001)