Collections

Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls

Denis Condon (1933-2012) trained at the Sydney Conservatory and became a music teacher and educator. He developed an interest in the reproducing player piano when his father purchased an Ampico piano when Denis was fifteen. Over the next sixty years he amassed a collection of 7540 piano rolls and ten instruments. From his home he hosted social evenings every two months where rolls were played for the assembled guests. He constructed, together with his friend and engineer, Peter Phillips, a Duo-Art cabinet player (or Vorsetzer) which played rolls in concert throughout Australia and New Zealand. The cabinet player was also used to record the Grieg Concerto performed by Percy Grainger with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The collection contains rolls of important composers of the period including Busoni, Chaminade, Debussy, Granados, Gershwin, Glazunov, Grainger, Leschetizky, Mahler, Paderewski, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Scriabin, Richard Strauss, and Stravinsky all playing their own works. There are numerous important pianists including Backhaus, Cortot, d’Albert, Dohnanyi, Gabrilowitsch, Ganz, Hofmann, Horowitz, Landowska, Lhevinne, Reisenberg, Rubinstein, and Samaroff. The popular music documents playing styles of this earlier era with pianists such as Zez Confrey, Ferde Grofé, Fritz Kreisler, Ernesto Lecuona, Richard Rogers, and Victor Youmans. Rolls of every major company are represented in the collection.

The instruments in the collection consist of two grand pianos (Marshall & Wendell Ampico A and a Chickering Ampico B), four upright pianos (two Steinway Red Welte pianos, one without keys, a Rönisch Animatic Piano Liszt Hupfeld Triphonola, and a Behning Art Echo), and four cabinet players or Vorsetzer (Red Welte, Green Welte modified to also play Welte licensee rolls, Ampico, and Duo-Art). In addition to the rolls and instruments, the collection includes tools, equipment, and parts for repairing the instruments; service manuals and historic advertising materials; an archive of correspondence; and a small library of roll catalogs and publications related to the player piano.

 

Richard David Pawlyn Collection of Organ Players and Rolls

David Pawlyn (1940-2011) was an organ builder and restorer who principally worked on movie and theater organs in Britain. In the 1950s he was a founding member of the Theatre Organ Preservation Society, which was critical to saving numerous historic theater organs from destruction. Among the many organs that he built or restored are the Wurlitzer organ at Buckingham Town Hall and the Paramount Cinema organ from Newcastle.

The collection contains nearly 2000 rolls comprised of Duo-Art and 58 and 116-note Aeolienne rolls, of which the latter comprise nearly 80 percent of all 116-note Aeolienne rolls ever made. Among the rolls are works by major composers who wrote specifically for the 116-note instruments including Saint Saëns, Humperdinck, and Moszkowski. The Duo Art rolls also include recordings of some of the most important organists of the time: Marcel Dupre, Edwin Lemare, Joseph Bonnet, Harold Gleason, Rollo Maitland, Pietro Yon, and others.

The collection includes two instruments: an Æolienne organ player, and a Duo-Art player, which was the last one remaining at Aeolian Hall in London.

 

Larry Sitsky Piano Roll Catalog Collection

The noted Australian composer and pianist, Larry Sitsky, is also the author of The Classical Reproducing Piano Roll: A Catalogue Index. This comprehensive rollography represents years of work documenting all known reproducing piano rolls of classical music ever issued. In compiling this listing, he acquired photocopies of rare piano roll catalogs consisting of about 250 volumes. In addition, he collected another 80 volumes of original catalogs. The collection is an invaluable bibliographic resource for anyone researching the publishing of piano rolls.

 

Adrian Bezdechi Piano Roll Collection

Adrian Bezdechi was a mechanical engineer and player piano enthusiast. The collection includes a cabinet player constructed by him that plays both Ampico and Duo-Art piano rolls and sixty-seven Ampico and Duo-Art reproducing piano rolls. Among the major pianists represented on the rolls are Leopold Godowsky, Enrique Granados, Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, Ferruccio Busoni, and many others.

 

Theodore Weicher Piano Roll Collection

The Weicher Collection contains a wide variety of rolls from different companies of both classical and popular music. The ninety rolls in the collection are played by pianists such as Claude Debussy, Walter Gieseking, Leopold Godowsky, James P. Johnson, Zez Confrey, and others.

 

Maria Jesus Casado Garcia-Sampedro Piano Roll Collection

The collection contains piano rolls of principally Spanish zarzuela and dance music compositions by Francisco Alonso, Ruperto Chapi, Gerónimo Giménez, Jacinto Guerrero, Rafael Martínez Valls, and others. The rolls were manufactured in Spain and France by Princesa, Victoria, Edifo, P.O.C.H, Caecilia, and L'edition Phonografique.

 

Donald J. and Maureen J. Querio Collection

This collection contains hand played piano rolls, principally in the popular music genre; produced by Ampico, QRS, Supertone (i.e. Sears Roebuck and Company), and various other piano roll manufacturers.

 

Ken Perkins Piano Roll Collection

The collection contains hand played piano rolls of popular music and other genres; produced by a variety of manufacturers in the United States. The piano roll labels include Imperial, Supertone, US, Vocalstyle, Universal, Eilers, and others.

 

Thomas Sauter Piano Roll Collection

The collection contains original and recut piano rolls, primarily from Ampico, Duo-Art, and QRS labels. These recordings cover pianists of the period, with special emphasis on the performances of Pete Wendling and his contemporaries within the popular and classical music genres.