Conn-Selmer

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This article is about the American firm. For the French firm, see Henri Selmer Paris.
Conn-Selmer
Type Private (subsidiary of Steinway Musical Instruments)
Industry Musical instruments
Headquarters Elkhart, Indiana, USA
Number of locations Around 10 facilities (2011)
Area served Worldwide
Key people John M. Stoner, Jr.
President (since 2002)
Products Brasswinds
Percussion
Strings
Woodwinds
Parent Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc.
Divisions Armstrong
Artley
Avanti
Benge
C.G. Conn
Conn-Selmer Institute
Emerson
Galway Spirit Flutes
Glaesel
Holton
King
Leblanc
Ludwig-Musser
Noblet
Prelude
Scherl & Roth
Selmer
Vincent Bach
Vito
Wm. Lewis & Son
Yanagisawa
Website www.conn-selmer.com

Conn-Selmer, Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of musical instruments for concert bands, marching bands and orchestras. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Steinway Musical Instruments and was formed after Steinway bought musical instrument manufacturers The Selmer Company and C.G. Conn.

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

In the late 1800s, brothers Alexandre and Henri Selmer graduated from the Paris Conservatory as clarinetists. They were the great-grandchildren of French military drum major Johannes Jacobus Zelmer, grandchildren of Jean-Jacques Selmer, the Army Chief of Music, and two of 16 children in this musical family.[1] At the time, musical instruments and accessories were primarily hand made, and professional musicians found it necessary to acquire skills allowing them to make their own accessories and repair and modify their own instruments. Establishing Henri Selmer & Cie. in 1885, Henri began making clarinet reeds and expanded into mouthpieces.[1] By 1900 Henri had gained a reputation for his reeds and mouthpieces and he opened a store and repair shop in Paris.[1] He soon expanded into the construction of clarinets.

Meanwhile, in 1895, Alexandre had moved to the United States, where he performed as principal clarinetist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1895 to 1910. Around 1900 and soon after Henri began making clarinets, Alexandre opened a store in New York City to sell his brother's instruments and accessories in the U.S. The Selmer line of products gained a great boost in reputation and sales by winning a gold medal for their clarinets at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.[1]

Between 1910 and 1918, Henri expanded the Selmer line to include bassoons and oboes.[1]

George Bundy expansion[edit]

In 1918 Alexandre returned to Paris to assist in the family business, leaving their U.S. interests in the hands of his employee George Bundy.[1] Bundy expanded the retail and distribution component of the business, carrying instruments from other companies such as the Vincent Bach Corporation, Martin and Ludwig-Musser.[2]

Bundy quickly decided to expand into flute manufacturing,[1] and hired George W. Haynes (from a family of well-known flute makers) to design the Selmer flute. Selmer flute manufacturing briefly moved to Boston, Massachusetts, home to several reputable flute makers, to draw on the existing skilled labor pool there. Bundy also hired Kurt Gemeinhardt, a young craftsman from Germany with a growing reputation, to assist in the design of Selmer flutes.[2]

By the early 1920s, Bundy was finding New York City too cramped for the growing company, and he moved the manufacturing facilities to Elkhart, Indiana. Elkhart was already home to several other instrument makers, and had a skilled labor pool from which to draw workers.[1] The New York facility remained in operation as a retail store and distributor until 1951.[2]

In 1927 or 1928 (sources differ) Bundy purchased the American business from the Selmer brothers. The American business was named Selmer USA. Though technically independent, the Henri Selmer Co. of Paris and Selmer USA remained the exclusive distributors of each other's products. Many of the American instruments were produced under the Bundy brand name, starting in 1941, the year in which Henri Selmer died, and continuing until the 1990s.[1] The French company concentrated on high quality, expensive instruments for the professional musician, while the American company concentrated on mass-produced, less-expensive models for students and amateur musicians.

Post-depression expansion[edit]

Growing industrial expertise in plastics throughout the 1940s eventually spread to the still-small world of musical instruments. In 1948 Selmer USA produced a commercially successful molded-plastic clarinet, called the "Bundy Resonite 1400."[2] World War II brought a halt to the manufacture and import of the Paris instruments, and for a brief time (1944-early 1946) Selmer USA plants were used almost exclusively for export packing as part of the war effort.[1]

The baby boom and an increase in school music programs led to a substantial increase in the band and orchestral instrument business throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Taking advantage of this growth spurt, Selmer began acquiring other instrument manufacturers, including The Vincent Bach Corporation (brass instruments) in 1961, Glasel String Instrument Service (violins), the Ludwig-Musser Drum Company, and the Lesher Woodwind Company (oboes and bassoons) in 1967.[2]

Recent history[edit]

Selmer Industries acquired the Steinway Musical Properties company, the parent company of piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons, in 1995 and changed its name to Steinway Musical Instruments. In 2003 Steinway merged The Selmer Company with newly acquired United Musical Instruments (makers of Artley, Armstrong, Benge, C.G. Conn, King), to form Conn-Selmer.[3]

The employees at the Vincent Bach facility in Elkhart, Indiana represented by United Auto Workers Local 364, struck on April 1, 2006, and as of July 30, 2009, the union was decertified. Out of 230 workers that went out on strike approximately 70 returned with the remaining workers having been subject to recall until July 30, 2010.[4]

The employees represented by UAW Local 2359 at the Eastlake Ohio Conn-Selmer manufacturing plant called a strike on July 26, 2011, after working without a contract since February 2011,[5] and settled with the company on October 21, 2011.[6]

Conn-Selmer is the largest manufacturer of band and orchestral instruments in the United States. It manufactures instruments in approx ten facilities:

Brands[edit]

The company produces instruments under the following brand names

Current Brands

Discontinued Brands

Official distributor

In addition, the company operates Conn-Selmer Institute, which holds seminars to educate music educators.

Selmer USA brand instrument models[edit]

Selmer USA clarinets[edit]

Selmer USA saxophones[edit]

Selmer USA flutes[edit]

  • FL302

31403

Selmer USA double reeds[edit]

  • Bassoons: 132, 1432B
  • Oboes: 101, 104B, 120B, 121, 122F, 123FB, 1492B, 1492FB

Selmer Prelude series[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Priestly, Brian, Bacon, tony anmd Trynka, Paul, Selmer (Paris), The Sax and Brass Book, Backbeat Books, 1998, p.100–113
  2. ^ a b c d e Selmer Musical Instruments :: A Division of Conn-Selmer, Inc
  3. ^ "Steinway & Sons". Steinwaymusical.com. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  4. ^ "Elkhart Truth". Etruth.com. 2014-01-24. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  5. ^ "Steinway & Sons". Steinwaymusical.com. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  6. ^ "Steinway & Sons". Steinwaymusical.com. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 

External links[edit]