Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Wurlitzer, Fritz (Ulrich)

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Wurlitzer, Fritz (Ulrich)

(b Erlbach, 21 Dec 1888; d Erlbach, 9 April 1984). German clarinet maker. He was born into a family of woodwind instrument makers and worked initially in the shop of his father, Paul Oskar Wurlitzer. He set up an independent workshop about 1930. During the 1930s he collaborated with the clarinettist Ernst Schmidt, adding refinements to both the Oehler system clarinet of the German-speaking world and the Boehm system instrument. Wurlitzer's Schmidt-Kolbe system (initially involving Louis Kolbe, a maker in Altenburg) is a modification of the Oehler system with a more even venting that results in an exceptionally full and even tone in the low register. The majority of these instruments were built with a very wide bore (15·2 mm), perhaps the widest ever used on German-style instruments. They were widely used, and were especially favoured in the Netherlands. The Schmidt Reform Boehm system utilizes standard Boehm system fingering, but carries several additional vents, resulting in a very even tone closer to the German sound than to the French. Wurlitzer also made fine basset-horns, bass clarinets and even a contrabass clarinet; his lower clarinets were still highly prized at the end of the 20th century.

Herbert Wurlitzer (b Erlbach, 19 Dec 1921; d Neustadt an der Aisch, 8 May 1989), a son of Fritz Wurlitzer, worked with his father until 1959. In that year he moved to West Germany and established his own workshop, first located in Bubenreuth, later in Neustadt an der Aisch. Although he made a slightly simplified version of the Reform Boehm system clarinet, he preferred the standard Oehler system, and most of instruments follow the latter. His soprano clarinets were almost universally regarded as unrivalled among Oehler system instruments during the last quarter of the 20th century. His workshop and name remained active after his death. For further information see E. Weller, ‘Die Wurlitzers’, Rohrblatt: Magazin für Oboe, Klarinette, Fagott und Saxophon, x (1995), 15–20, 50–55, 107–14.


Wurlitzer, Rembert

(b Cincinnati, 27 March 1904; d New York, 21 Oct 1963). American authority on early instruments of the violin family. He was the only son of Rudolph Henry Wurlitzer, director of the Wurlitzer Company in Cincinnati. In 1924, after two years at Princeton University, he was sent to Mirecourt, to learn violin making under Amédée Dieudonné. The following year he spent six months in London as the guest of Alfred Hill of W.E. Hill & Sons, who gave him a valuable grounding in violin connoisseurship. He returned to Cincinnati and became a vice-president of the family business. In 1937 he moved to the firm's violin department in New York, which he established as an independent company under his own direction in 1949. In 1951 he was joined by the Italian restorer Fernando Sacconi (d 1973).

After Wurlitzer's death the business was continued with considerable success by his widow Anna Lee Wurlitzer, née Little (b 29 July 1912); she was aided by Sacconi and his assistant dario D'attili, who in his later capacity as manager was responsible for upholding the firm's high standard. In 1965 Mrs Wurlitzer purchased the Hottinger Collection, comprising some 30 outstanding Italian violins, including a dozen by Stradivari. The firm closed down in autumn 1974.

Wurlitzer's business was unrivalled in the USA and was patronized by leading musicians and by owners of the finest instruments. His vast knowledge and photographic memory enabled him to identify many lost Italian masterpieces. Careful records were kept of every instrument examined, and the certificates of authenticity which he issued are accepted universally.


Wurm, (Daniel) Wilhelm [Vurm, Vasily Vasilyevich]

(b Brunswick, 28 Aug 1826; d St Petersburg, 25 May/7 June 1904). German cornet player, composer and band director. His first musical training was with his father, bandmaster of the Black Hussars of the Grand Duke of Braunschweig. At the age of 21 he moved to St Petersburg, where he was ‘Soloist of the Imperial Theatre Orchestra’ from 1847 to 1878 (from 1862, ‘Cornet Soloist to His Imperial Majesty’) and director of bands of the Imperial Guards from 1869 to 1889, as well as musical adviser to Tsars Aleksandr II and III, the latter an amateur cornet player. In 1866 he reorganized Russian infantry bands, using special instruments he had invented a year earlier together with the St Petersburg maker Anders. From 1867 until his death he taught the cornet and brass chamber music, the latter an innovation, at St Petersburg Conservatory. For 33 years Wurm was chairman of the St Petersburg Philharmonic Society.

A consummate soloist specializing in lyric movements, Wurm made extensive concert tours throughout Russia together with Auer and Karl Davïdov, among others. He was a prolific composer for cornet and piano, for band, and other formations. Among his methods and étude collections are the first cornet method to appear in Russia (1879), as well as another for cavalry trumpet. He was the originator of lip buzzing as a brass instrument warmup.



S.V. Bolotin: Ėntsiklopedicheskiy biograficheskiy slovar' musïkantov-ispolniteley na dukhovïkh instrumentakh [Biographical dictionary of Russian wind-instrument players] (Leningrad, 1969, enlarged 2/1995), 61

E.H. Tarr: East Meets West (New York, forthcoming)


Wurstisen [Vurstisius], Emanuel

(b Basle, Nov 1572; d ?Biel). Swiss doctor and lutenist, son of the famous Basle chronicler and professor of mathematics Christian Wurstisen (1544–88). In 1586 he matriculated at Basle University. He received the Baccalaureate there in 1590, was awarded the magister artium in 1593 and enrolled in the school of medicine in 1593–4. In 1596 he can be traced to Orléans, and he later worked as a doctor in Biel.

Wurstisen cultivated a strong interest in music while attending Basle University. His musical tastes and abilities are well documented in a lute manuscript now in Basle University (CH-Bu F IX 70). This collection of dances, songs, motets and ‘free’ instrumental pieces, dated 10 July 1591, was copied by Wurstisen himself. It contains nearly 500 compositions and represents one of the largest extant collections of Renaissance lute music. In addition to its value as a repository of the types of music heard and performed by students at the University of Basle in the last decade of the 16th century, the manuscript also contains a lute treatise which presents what appear to be the essential rules and performing techniques that Wurstisen considered necessary to play the music in his collection.


J. Kmetz: Die Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek Basel: Katalog der Musikhandschriften des 16. Jahrhunderts: quellenkritische und historische Untersuchung (Basle, 1988), 206–29


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