Heinrich FIEHN – the real man behind the ocarina

Anyone who plays or collects ocarinas knows the name Heinrich (or Henry) Fiehn. The internet is full of ads selling ocarinas in all shapes and sizes made by the Heinrich Fiehn factory in Vienna. It’s clear from the popularity, international appeal and sheer sales volume of his products that he...

The Cahusacs of London

The Cahusacs were an English family of music publishers and instrument makers. The surname hints at possible French origins yet to be proven. The number of family members was huge. There were several wives, many children and of course, quite a few Thomases. Referring to each Thomas as senior or...

Luigi Vanotti – made in Milan

Luigi VANOTTI worked for the company Rampone & Cazzani before setting up his own business in 1909 in Milan, at Via Solferino 46. He specialised in making Boehm flutes, but also constructed several non-standard experimental models. He was clearly an innovator. One innovation was the Albisiphon, which he built and patented...

The Heideggers of Passau

The surname HEIDEGGER is synonymous with instrument making in Passau and Linz. The family’s instrument-making history begins in the 1840s and ceases over 130 years later in 1973. Their story is not unlike other instrument makers of those days…difficult, complicated but for many, very interesting, especially since in this case,...

KASRIEL – the last French harmonium makers

Louis-Maurice KASRIEL (1815-1899) was a musical instrument maker who was born in Krotoschin, Prussia – today's Krotoszyn in Poland. In 1839, he started a company in Paris that would specialise in making harmoniums, harmoniflutes and guide-chants. Louis Maurice Kasriel was married to Sara KAHN. The company was awarded medals for...

Antonio CANELLA – Ferrara’s mysterious ocarina maker

Giuseppe DONATI (1836-1925) was the ‘inventor’ of the ocarina. His hometown was Budrio in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, about 15 kilometres east of Bologna, where today there is even an ocarina museum.  Other makers sprung up and are known as the Budrio makers. They include Ercole MEZZETTI (1841-1918) & Alberto Napoleone MEZZETTI...