Biographies of Founding Members

Alfred Berner (Born 10 April 1910 in Heinrichswalde/East Prussia – now Russia)
He was from 1928-1931 a student in Musicology, Philosophy, Art History and Arabic at the Berlin University. His main teachers were Arnold Schering, Curt Sachs, Erich M. von Hornbostel and Johannes Wolff. From 1931-1933 he studied Arabian music theory and practices in Cairo and finished University in 1935 with a thesis Studium zur arabischen Musik auf Grund der gegen wärtigen Theorie und Praxis in Ägypten. During the following years he worked with different State Institutions, later as freelance researcher up to his military service in World War II. From 1945-1948 he was the Music representant at the Magistrat of Gross-Berlin and started teaching in 1947/1948 at Humboldt University. Acquainted with Staatliches Institut für deutsche Musikforschung he began in 1948 to collect what had survived the War in and around Berlin. With 500 objects and 200 pieces, mostly heavily damaged, from the former Collection of more than 4000 musical instruments he started to build up the Institut für Musikforschung with its Museum as well as the Library under very difficult circumstances. He published various books and articles. In 1967 he became Professor and Director of the Museum. In 1975 he retired and now lives in Endingen/Kaiserstuhl in Southwest Germany. Dagmar Droysen-Reber, Berlin.

Ernst Emsheimer (Born in Frankfurt 1904, died in Stockholm 1989)
Ernst Emsheimer was appointed director of the Musikhistoriska museet/Musikmuseet in Stockholm in 1949. He had a thorough background for his new duties: a socialist son of a Jewish family of bankers and lawyers, he had had to give up his wish to become a farmer, and so he graduated with a Ph.Dr. in musicology in 1927. In 1932, he moved to Leningrad, where he got several official assignments, that raised his interest in ethnic music and musical instruments. Five years later, he moved on to Stockholm, and was immediately employed by the Ethnographic museum working with musical material from Mongolia. As a museum director, Emsheimer gradually increased the collection of instruments, not least with non-European and with traditional European instruments. The museum library reached a very high standard through his work. Among Emsheimer’s many contributions as a museum director, the most important one probably was the development of the concerts; the museum became a forum for highly qualified Swedish and international musicians and musicologists, studying early music and performing practices on old instruments. In the spirit of his time, Emsheimer also had original instruments carefully restored for demonstration purposes, for concerts, radio programmes and recordings. This, undoubtedly, lead to an increasing interest and knowledge in older music in Sweden, however critical we are of restoration today. Even after his retirement in 1973, until shortly before his death at the age of 85, Emsheimer continued his ethnomusicological work, at his desk at the museum or at adventurous exploration excursions to various countries. His scientific production is limited in quantitative terms, but it is distinguished by meticulous source criticism and wide-ranging perspectives. As an employee of the Musikmuseet since 1964, the author of these lines remembers Emsheimer as a man of extensive reading, always ready to share his knowledge, in an friendly, unobtrusive way, with his collaborators and with other scholars as well as with students or school children. Even after his retirement, he followed our exhibition work and other activities with great interest and with a youthful interest in new solutions. Birgit Kjellström, Stockholm.

Henrik Glahn (9 May 1919 – 16 August 2006)
He made his scholarly career as a professor at the University of Copenhagen, Institute of Musicology, and his main research has been concentrated on hymnology. As an organist at more than one of the main churches in Copenhagen his theoretical insight was supported by an active position in Danish musical life. This, however, did not prevent him from engaging himself in many other sectors, among those also the development of Musikhistorisk Museum Copenhagen, where he was employed as an assistant in 1953 and as the director from 1955 to 1980. At the same time, he became the leader of the Carl Claudius collection, and he actually insisted on this combination, aiming at a fusion of these two independent collections of musical instruments. Glahn accomplished his project step by step: first he created a full time position of an assistant keeper in 1964, then the museum got its own premises where the opening took place in 1966. The day after this happy event, he set out to convince the Ministry of Cultural Affairs that it would be an obvious advantage to concentrate the capacity at hand in one united and important museum. The result was Musikhistorisk Museum og Carl Claudius’ Samling which opened its exhibition to the public in 1979. In the meantime, he had secured a stimulating environment for the increasing staff, and he saw to it that the performances of live music were intensified with first rate ensembles on an international level. His studies in organology are relatively few. His achievement in this respect has been to further the creativity of the staff and to invite scholars from outside the museum as well. When finally, a full time position for a director was established, Glahn did not want to leave the university, but combined his efforts for the museum, now as a dynamic chairman of the board, until his retirement in October 1994. His importance for the Copenhagen collection and for the foundation of CIMCIM is due to his power of administration combined with a remarkable sense of quality.
Mette Müller, Copenhagen

Jeannine Lambrechts-Douillez (Antwerpen, 13 February 1928 – 12 July 2020)
She started her career at the museum Vleeshuis in 1953 and retired in 1990 as Curator Emeritus of the Archaeological Museums of the city of Antwerp. In 1945 Belgium returned to normal life again after being occupied by German troops for five years, when collections were stored in safe places, especially during the continuous daily attacks by flying bombs from September 1944 to March 1945. Museums had to be reorganized making inventories of what was saved from war damage. This was her first museum task with special care for the musical instruments. The Ruckers instruments had been put way in a storeroom as uninteresting items. She studied at the University in Ghent from 1948 to 1952 and showed her interest for musical instruments in her doctoral dissertation (1957) on The Music at the Burgundian Habsburg Court in the Netherlands, during the second half of the 15th and beginning of the 16th century (1467-1506). In 1956 she published a catalogue of the collection of musical instruments in the museum Vleeshuis and had discussed the various problems of terminology with John Henry van der Meer at Den Haag; he remained ever since a dear friend. She contributed with the description of all musical instruments to the Flemish Encyclopaedia edited in 6 volumes (1957-1963) with a second edition in 10 volumes (1979-1984). She became in 1960 the youngest founding member of CIMCIM and has served as Treasurer from 1960 to 1976 and Chairperson from 1983 to 1989. She was founding member of the Ruckers Genootschap in 1969 and organized symposia on Restoration problems of Antwerp harpsichords in 1970 and on Copies of Antwerp harpsichords as tools for a better understanding of the music from Rubens’s time. From 1982 she published new documents from archival records concerning the Ruckers-Couchet workshop in Antwerp, volume VIII on other harpsichord makers besides the Ruckers is to printed next. She was member of the Advisory Council for Museums in Flanders from 1960 to 1968 and of the Koninklijke Commissie voor Monumenten en Landschappen (Royal Commission for Monuments and Sites) from 1984 to 1993 where she was involved in the problems with historic organs. In 1994 she organised the CIMCIM Meeting and Conference Copies of Historic Musical Instruments in Antwerp.

Victor Luithlen (1901-1987)
He was born on 20 May 1901, in Vienna, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, a state with at least a dozen ethnic groups, on the whole coexisting with less friction than is to be observed nowadays in some of the successor states. It was this attitude of comparative tolerance, that dominated in the double monarchy, which was one of the elements that moulded Victor Luithlen. His outlook was always international and, besides in his mellow Viennese German, he was fluent in French, English, Italian and Danish. After his study of musicology and history at the university of Vienna and after having fulfilled functions at the “Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde” and in the music department of the Austrian National Library, he was appointed director of the collection of historic instruments of the Art History Museum in 1938. The department consisted of a collection of rare and unique documents of instrumental music making in the 16th and 17th centuries, as it contained the collection of the Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol from the castle of Ambras, of which an inventory exists dated 1596, and the collection of the family Obizzi at Cataio (between Padua and Este), of which the nucleus dates back to at least 1669. Luithlen enlarged the collection by means of loans — the most important loan was that of a large part of the instrument collection of the “Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde”, by which it became possible to show the development of musical instruments in the 18th and 19th centuries — and by acquiring a large number of objects as documents of piano making at Vienna from the 1770s until far into the 19th century, and in other parts of Europe. Thus the collection was able to show not only keyboard instruments from the possession of the emperors Leopold I and Josef II, but also from the estates of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Wolf and Mahler. On 15 November 1958, Luithlen gave a lecture about the Viennese collection at Mme de Chambure’s house at Neuilly, and on that occasion a meeting with George Henri Rivière and some other colleagues took place, in which the concept of an international committee for musical instrument collections and museums was developed. Luithlen was also present at the meeting in the Gemeentemuseum at The Hague from july 6 to 10 1959, and at that at the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires at Paris from June 27 to July 1st 1960. Here he was unanimously acclaimed as first president of CIMCIM. In spite of some friction during the first years of CIMCIM’s existence Luithlen presided the meetings at The Hague and Lisbon (both in 1962) with supreme elegance. During the meeting at New York in 1965 the presidency of the committee was transferred to Emanuel Winternitz and the honorary presidency was conferred to our Viennese colleague. Victor Luithlen died on November 18, 1987, in his home town of Vienna.

John Henry van der Meer, On the occasion of Victor Luithlen’s 80th birthday in CIMCIM Newsletter IX (1981), pp.15-18.
Gerhard Stradner, Victor Luithlen zum Gedächtnis in Glareana, Nachrichten der Gesellschaft der Freunde alter Musikinstrumente, 37 (1988), No. 1, p.30.
John Henry van der Meer, Nürnberg.

Claudie Marcel-Dubois (1913-1989)
Il n’est pas exagéré de dire que Claudie Marcel-Dubois a voué sa vie aux instruments de musique. Dirigée, dès l’enfance, vers une carrière pianistique, elle reçoit, au Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris puis auprès de Marguerite Long, une formation musicale de haut niveau tout en menant de front des études universitaires à la Sorbonne; en ethnologie d’une part et en Civilisation indienne d’autre part. Sa thèse sur Les instruments de musique de l’Inde ancienne, qui fera l’objet d’un ouvrage publié ultérieurement, marque, d’entrée de jeu, le champ de son orientation. Elle entre, en 1934, au Département d’ethnologie musicale du Musée de l’Homme dirigé par André Schaeffner et où les aléas de l’Histoire ont conduit également Curt Sachs. Pendant trois ans elle va travailler aux côtés de ce dernier, en particulier sur les collections d’instruments de musique de Madagascar, et bénéficier, jour après jour, de son incomparable expérience; trois années qui ont pesé de manière décisive sur l’évolution de ses travaux. Lorsque se crée, en 1937 à Paris, le Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires, Claudie M-D, est chargée d’y organiser une section consacrée à l’étude de la musique populaire française. Avec l’énergie et la compétence qui la caractérisaient, elle va mettre sur pied un Département à structure bipolaire: à la fois organe de recherche et de conservation, où, pendant de longues années, elle développera des programmes systématiques de recherche sur le terrain qui, outre leurs apports au domaine de la connaissance seront, pour le Musée, pourvoyeurs de collections, sans cesse accrues, de documents musicaux enregistrés et d’instruments de musique. Simultanément elle oeuvre sans relâche pour affermir la légitimité scientifique de l’ethnomusicologie et obtient, en 1961, l’inscription de cette discipline dans les programmes de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales de l’Université de Paris. Elle inaugure et poursuivra durant vingt ans cet enseignement, réservant une large place à l’instrument de musique avec le souci constant de dépasser l’approche strictement organologique de l’objet pour appréhender l’instrument dans la globalité de son contexte culturel et de ses finalités sociales. Son attachement à la cause des instruments de musique amena Cl. M-D, tout au long de sa carrière, à s’engager dans des entreprises novatrices telles, par exemple, le création du CIMCIM, à laquelle elle a pris une part prépondérante en organisant, en 1960 à Paris, dans le cadre de son Département au musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires. Elle y délivera, dans une perspective anthropologique, une synthèse de son vaste savoir, fut l’une de ses dernières productions et clôtura brillamment un demi-siècle d’activité incessante au service de la musique et des médiateurs à travers lesquels elle prend vie: les instruments de musique.
Maguy Pichonnet-Andral, Directeur de recherche honoraire du CNRS, Paris.

Geneviève Thibault, comtesse Hubert de Chambure (Née à Neuilly s.Seine le 20 Mai 1902; décédée à Strasbourg le 30 août 1975)
Personnalité d’une puissance et d’une diversité hors du commun, parfois irritante, mais toujours fascinante, elle alliait les qualités humaines aux dons artistiques et littéraires. S’étant spécialisée dans le domaine de la musique ancienne, elle réunit patiemment en parallèle une exceptionnelle bibliothèque musicale, qui devait devenir célèbre dans le monde de la musicologie et une collection raisonnée d’instruments de musique, d’une qualité équivalente. Ses compétences en matière de musicologie et d’organologie l’amenèrent à la direction du Musée Instrumental du Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris(1961-1973), auquel elle apporta, par son dynamisme et le modernisme de ses conceptions, des innovations et un développement jusqu’alors inconnus dans cette Maison. Elle sut mener de front et susciter les recherches dans les domaines de l’organologie et de l’iconographie musicales, dans le cadre d’une équipe de recherche du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. Très vite, elle en vint, sur le conseils de Georges Henri Rivière, Directeur de l’ICOM, à l’ambitieux projet du Musée de la Musique, qui fut exposé dans des réunions du CIMCIM, mais dont elle ne devait jamais voir la réalisation. Elle avait toujours participé au plus haut niveau aux travaux de plusieurs sociétés musicologiques, mais, dès sa nomination à la tête du Musée, elle consacra beaucoup de temps au CIMCIM, qu’elle présida de 1968 à 1974. Elle fit bénéficier les membres des résultats de son expérience au Musée, notamment en ce qui concerne la restauration – éthique, méthode, constitution de dossiers – et développa la communication entre les musées spécialisés. La dernière de ses actions d’envergure fut la mise sur pied d’une exposition itinérante et internationale d’instruments de musique du XVIIIe siècle comportant une partie iconographique et accompagnée de démonstrations musicales et de concerts au sein même de l’exposition. Une partie de ses livres de musique a rejoint la Bibliothèque Nationale de France, tandis que sa collection d’instruments est entièrement réunie aux fonds du Musée Instrumental, devenu depuis 1992 Musée de la Musique à la Cité de la Musique du Parc de Villette. Josiane Bran-Ricci, Conservateur en chef honoraire du Patrimoine, Paris.

John Henry van der Meer (Born on 9 February 1920 in The Hague, died on 1 February 2008 in Fürth)
The son of a Dutchman and an English mother, at the age of six or seven he began receiving piano lessons. In 1938 he became a student of jurisprudence and musicology. On his 23rd birthday he was arrested by the German occupants as a hostage in connection with the murder of a Dutch SS-general. He was freed in April 1945. In 1946 he received his PhD in law. Soon he became a teacher at Utrecht Conservatoire and later at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. He became head of the music department at the Gemeentemeseum in 1954. Two years later, John Henry van der Meer did his doctorate in musicology with a thesis on Johann Josef Fux als Opernkomponist. In 1963, van der Meer was appointed curator of the musical instrument collections of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg, recently augmented by the Rück collection. In 1968 the collection grew further through the acquisition of the Neupert collection. In Nürnberg, van der Meer published a great number of articles and books dealing with a wide variety of topics from the field of musical instruments and the music written for them. He made the collection of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum an internationally renowned place of comprehensive knowledge and the worldwide interchange of ideas. The series of Musica Antiqua concerts brought many excellent musicians to Nürnberg and helped launch many recordings of fine musicianship. In January 1984, van der Meer retired. He was active in Italy and other countries, cataloguing, examining, writing, helping with exhibitions. In November 1995 we celebrated his 75th anniversary, and a good number of colleagues and friends from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, and even the United States came to congratulate. I had the privilege to work together with John Henry van der Meer practically all his time in Nürnberg, my task having been the conservation and restoration of the instruments. I look back at the times we had together with great pleasure.

Studia Organologia: Festschrift für John Henry van der Meer zu seinem funfundsechzigsten Geburtstag, herausgegeben von Friedemann Hellwig. Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1987.
Friedemann Hellwig, Köln.

Emanuel Winternitz (1898-1983)
He was born in Vienna, where he earned a law degree in 1922; he also studied aesthetics with Ernst Cassirer in Hamburg. Largely self taught in music and art history, Winternitz was a facile pianist and also a talented photographer with broad cultural interests, particularly in the Italian Renaissance; his studies of Leonardo da Vinci are noteworthy, as are his seminal publications about musical iconography and composers’ manuscripts. An outspoken Jewish critic of Nazi policies, Winternitz escaped Vienna in 1938 with few possessions and emigrated to the United States, where he lectured at various schools and museums before being appointed “associate in music” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1941; there, during the war years, he organized concerts of early music and prepared temporary displays of the Museums’ musical instruments. As a result of this work, in 1949 he became curator of the musical instruments department, a position he held until retirement in 1973. Shortly before retiring, Winternitz worked with Edwin Ripin to design a permanent installation of part of the Crosby Brown Collection in the new André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments at the Museum. After leaving the Museum, Winternitz continued for several years to teach organology and iconography at the City University of New York. Winternitz returned often to Europe where he maintained contact with curators of several important instrument collections. This contact, and the scarcity of colleagues in America who shared his specialized interests, evidently led Winternitz to become involved with CIMCIM.

John Henry van der Meer, Encounters with Emanuel Winternitz in CIMCIM Newsletter VI (1978), pp.3-9.
Laurence Libin, New York.


Updated on Nov. 2017