Conn-Selmer

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Conn-Selmer
Private (subsidiary of Paulson & Co.)
Industry Musical instruments
Headquarters Elkhart, Indiana, United States
Number of locations
Around 5 facilities (2011)
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
John Stoner, Jr.
President (since 2002)
Products Brasswinds
Percussion
Strings
Parent Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc.
Divisions C.G. Conn
Glaesel
King
Leblanc
Ludwig
Scherl & Roth
Selmer
Vincent Bach
Vito
Wm. Lewis & Son
Yanagisawa
Website www.conn-selmer.com

Conn-Selmer, Inc. is an American manufacturer 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 United Musical Instruments in 2003.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

In the late Nineteenth Century, 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] and clarinets by 1898. By 1900 Henri had gained a reputation for his reeds and mouthpieces and he opened a store and repair shop in Paris.[1] In 1904, Selmer clarinets were presented at the Saint Louis (USA) World's Fair, winning a Gold Medal, and Henri Selmer's brother Alexandre was First Clarinetist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Alexandre Selmer established himself in New York the following year, opening a shop that sold Selmer clarinets and mouthpieces. The H&A Selmer (USA) Company grew out of that retail operation.

The H&A Selmer (USA) Company[edit]

In 1910, Alexandre returned to France and the H&A Selmer store was managed by George Bundy. The company expanded its product line, selling "Selmer" branded wind instruments and mouthpieces from manufacturers in the USA in addition to Selmer (Paris) clarinets. In 1923, the H&A Selmer Company was incorporated to expand into a retail chain and a 49% share sold to C. G. Conn Ltd. In 1927 Bundy gained full ownership, establishing independence of Selmer (USA) from Selmer (Paris). It remained the sole importer of Selmer (Paris) products, including saxophones and brasswinds once exports of such instruments to the USA commenced. Selmer (USA) also went on to establish itself as a leading distributor of student-grade instruments under its Bundy brand. In the 1930s Selmer financed the startup Artley Flute Company of Elkhart Indiana, which provided flutes, and later clarinets, exclusively to Selmer until 1953. In 1961 Selmer acquired the brasswind manufacturer Vincent Bach Corporation. Moving production from Bach's Mount Vernon, New York facility to Elkhart, Indiana in 1965, Selmer started in-house production of Bundy student-line brass instruments in addition to its premium line, Bach Stradivarius. In 1963 Selmer acquired ownership of its main supplier of student saxophones, the Buescher Band Instrument Company. Selmer continued distributing identical Bundy and Buescher instruments until it discontinued the Buescher name in 1983. In 1977 Selmer acquired the stringed instrument maker Glaesel. Selmer acquired the Ludwig Drum Company in 1981.[2]

Selmer experienced several changes of ownership starting with its purchase by the British electronics firm Magnavox in 1965. It was sold to Philips Electronics in 1975, then to the investment firm Integrated Resources in 1989. With the 1993 bankruptcy of Integrated Resources, Selmer was sold to the investment firm Kirkland and Messina and reorganized as Selmer Industries, Inc., with The Selmer Company name used for its instrument manufacturing operations.

Recent history[edit]

With the backing of Kirkland and Messina, Selmer Industries acquired the Steinway Musical Properties company, the parent company of piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons, in 1995 and changed their own name to Steinway Musical Instruments. The domestically-produced Bundy brand was discontinued at that time, replaced with student wind instruments sourced from Asia and sold as Selmer (USA) woodwinds and Bach brasswinds. In 2000 Steinway acquired United Musical Instruments (owners of Artley, Armstrong, Benge, C.G. Conn, King) then merged it with The Selmer Company to form Conn-Selmer in 2003.[3] Some products were dropped to minimize overlap between Selmer and former UMI products. In 2004 Conn-Selmer acquired the Leblanc Company, gaining their exclusive distribution rights for Yanagisawa saxophones in the USA and Canada. Conn-Selmer kept Leblanc in production of clarinets but ended their brasswind production in 2007, discontinuing their Martin brand and moving production of their Holton brand to Elkhart, Indiana. Conn-Selmer retains the importation and distribution rights for Selmer (Paris) and Yanagisawa wind instruments formerly held by H&A Selmer and Leblanc, respectively. Conn-Selmer is the largest manufacturer of band and orchestral instruments in the United States. It manufactures instruments in approximately five facilities since 2002. It has been heavily involved in outsourcing manufacturing of brands formerly associated with American manufacturers, including Ludwig drums, Glaesel, Scherl & Roth, and Wm. Lewis and Sons stringed instruments to China and Selmer (USA) wind instruments to various Asian sources.

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]

In 2013 the Paulson & Co.. investment firm acquired Steinway Musical Instruments.[7]

Products[edit]

Current products[edit]

Discontinued products[edit]

  • Avanti (flutes)
  • Artley (clarinets, flutes)
  • Benge (trumpets, piccolo trumpets, trombones)
  • Cleveland (brass instruments)
  • Emerson (flutes, piccolos)
  • Galway Spirit Flutes (flutes)
    • Hermann Beyer
    • Otto Bruckner
  • King saxophones
  • Martin (trumpets and trombones)
  • Noblet (clarinets)
  • UMI (mouthpieces and accessories)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Priestly, Brian, Bacon, tony anmd Trynka, Paul, Selmer (Paris), The Sax and Brass Book, Backbeat Books, 1998, p.100–113
  2. ^ "Ludwig". Our Brands. Conn-Selmer, Inc. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  3. ^ "Steinway & Sons". Steinwaymusical.com. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  4. ^ "Elkhart Truth". Etruth.com. 2014-01-24. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  5. ^ "Steinway & Sons" (PDF). Steinwaymusical.com. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  6. ^ "Steinway & Sons" (PDF). Steinwaymusical.com. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  7. ^ "Paulson & Co. Announces Completion of Acquisition of Steinway Musical Instruments". 

External links[edit]