(b Lwów [now L'viv], 30 July 1922). Polish composer. He studied composition with Sikorski at the Łódź Academy (1948–52) and later taught at the Warsaw Conservatory. An editor at Polish Radio for almost 30 years, he worked additionally for Schott and was chief editor of the journal Poradnik muzyczny (1982–4). In 1954 he co-founded the Association of Polish Violin Makers. He is principally known for his early tape pieces composed at the Experimental Studio at Polish Radio, for his chamber-instrumental output, and for his operas and choral works written for radio and television. He is a contributor to Das Musikinstrument, Przegląd Techniczny and Ruch muzyczny.
Chbr and solo inst: Str Qt, 1951; Concentrazioni espressive, fl, bn, tpt, perc, pf, vc, 1959; Trio, ob, va, hp, 1963; Duo, fl, va, 1966; Pezzo concertante, a fl, 3 perc, 1975; Tristia, fl, cl, tpt, trbn, perc, pf, va, db, 1975; Duo, fl, hn, 1976; Sonata, vc, 1976; Duo, tuba, perc, 1981; 2 Klavierstücke, 1981; Duo, a sax, mar, 1982; Quartetto, 4 vn, 1982; Preludio e toccata, gui, 1982; Duo, a sax, vc, 1983; Duo, accdn, gui, 1984; Ballada, mand, Celtic hp, 1985; Trio, a sax, accdn, perc, 1985; Für orgel, 1986; Trio, b viol, accdn, org, 1986; Varietas exquisita no.1, bn, trbn, db, 1986; Trigonos, org, 2 accdn, 1987; Pro organo, 1988; Varietas exquisita no.3, va, vc, db, 1988; Sonata, b viol, 1992; other solo pieces, duos and trios
Vocal works, tape pieces
Principal publishers: PWM, Sonoton
Wit, Paul de
(b Maastricht, 4 Jan 1852; d Leipzig, 10 Dec 1925). Dutch viol player. Educated as a cellist in Maastricht, he went to Leipzig in 1879. The next year he started the Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau, in which early instruments were discussed in great detail; it continued publication until World War II. In 1886 he opened to the public, in the Thomaskirchhof, his superb collection of early instruments, among them three viole pompose (including one ‘from Bach’s orchestra’) and a magnificent gamba by ‘Vincenzo Ruger’, dated 1702 and with a modelled back. Successive collections were sold: twice (1888 and 1890) to the Berlin Hochschule and once (1905) to Wilhelm Heyer of Cologne. Trying to revive the popularity of the gamba, de Wit gave many recitals (with varying success) and wrote a Geigenzettel alter Meister vom 16. bis zur Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts (1902–10/R). Weltadressbuch der gesamten Musik-Instrumenten Industrie, edited by him, appeared from 1883 periodically for almost 50 years.
P.de Wit: Katalog des Musikhistorischen Museums von Paul de Wit (Leipzig, 1903)
P.Daehne: ‘Paul de Wit's Leben und Wirken’, ZI, xlvi (1925–6), 321–5
J.Rutledge: ‘Paul de Wit, a Reviver of the Viola’, JVdGSA, xxiii (1986), 19–26
HERBERT ANTCLIFFE/LYNDA MacGREGOR
English family of violin makers, repairers and dealers. Edward Withers (i) (1808–75) founded his firm in London by purchasing that of R. and W. Davis in 1846. Davis had been associated with the well-known violin maker John Frederick Lott, with whom Withers had clearly studied. Withers's output was considerable and of fine quality; for a time he employed Charles Adolphe Maucotel and Charles Boullangier, émigrés from France. The premises were at 31 Coventry Street.
Edward Withers (ii) (1844–1915) was apprenticed to his father at an early age, also working with Lott. Like his father, he copied the work of Stradivari and Guarneri (mainly the latter) and it is said that he made about 200 instruments in addition to his repair work. In 1878 the business moved to 22 Wardour Street, where it has remained; on the death of Edward Withers (ii) it was continued by his three sons, Edward Sidney Munns Withers (1870–1955), Bernard Sidney Withers (1873–1942) and Douglas Sidney Withers (1879–1962), with the emphasis shifting from the making of new instruments to the repair and handling of old ones. In October 1969 Bernard’s son Edward Stanley Withers (1904–1987) retired and was succeeded by Dietrich M. Kessler; on the latter's retirement in 1987, the firm passed into the hands of Adam Whone (b 1956), who moved the offices to 2 Windmill Street. The firm formally closed in 1998.
George Withers (1847–1931), another son of Edward Withers (i), established his own business in St Martin’s Lane about 1876 before moving to 22 Leicester Square. There he built up a highly regarded dealing and restoring business, in which he was joined by his sons Guarnerius and Walter George, both good craftsmen trained in Mirecourt. The firm closed down in April 1932.
W.M.Morris: British Violin Makers (London, 1904, 2/1920)
CHARLES BEARE/PHILIP J. KASS
(b Buffalo, NY, 21 July 1873; d New York, 10 May 1935). American bass, teacher and music administrator. At Yale University he studied both art and music; his teachers included Horatio Parker in composition and Gustav Stoeckel in singing. He continued his studies with MacDowell, among others, and later studied in Paris, London and Berlin. In 1898 he made his début with Savage’s Castle Square Opera Company in New York as Ramfis in Aida, and was one of the first American singers engaged by the Metropolitan Opera’s new general manager, Gatti-Casazza. Having made his début as Titurel in Parsifal (1908), he sang, among other roles, Gurnemanz, King Mark, the Landgrave (Tannhäuser), Pogner and Sarastro, and took part in the first two American operas given by the Metropolitan, F.S. Converse’s The Pipe of Desire (1910) and Parker’s Mona (1912). Witherspoon retired from the Metropolitan in 1916. He was a distinguished teacher and founded the American Academy of Teachers of Singing (1922), later becoming its first president; he was also president of the Chicago Musical College (1925–31), director of the Chicago Civic Opera in its final season (1931–2) and president of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (from 1931). He was chosen to succeed Gatti-Casazza as general manager of the Metropolitan, but died of a heart attack one month after taking office. His writings include Singing: a Treatise for Teachers and Singers (1925) and 36 Lessons in Singing for Teacher and Student (1930).