Oral History -

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Paolo Fazioli heard a special piano sound in his head and yet was unable to find an instrument that was capable of producing the sound, so he built his own pianos. Beginning in 1978, he developed the techniques and use of special woods to craft one of the most revered sounds in the piano industry.

Lucien Wulsin’s grandfather was taught the piano business by D. W. Baldwin, the founder of the world-famous piano company. What he learned was passed down to his son, who, like his father, became president of the company. Lucien III carried on the family tradition and served as President of Baldwin Piano Company during the turbulent 1960s. The piano business needed to compete with the home organ products, which were on the rise.

BR Wexler was the president of Wexler Music Company, the leading manufacturer of symphonic batons. The company also produces a wide range of accessory products. Established by his father, David Wexler, the company pioneered the music store counter catalog and gained great respect for its fair business practices.

Parham Werlein followed in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather as president of Werlein’s For Music in New Orleans, Louisiana. Like his predecessors, Parham also served on the NAMM Board and was a great supporter of the American Music Conference (AMC).

Donald Waxman is a noted composer who served as editor at Galaxy Music Publishing Corp., as well as several positions on the ASCAP and MPA Boards over the years. He is best known for his contributions to piano pedagogy and educational method books for first time piano students.

Bernie Vance played the saxophone in a number of big bands during the swing era. He was drafted and served during World War II, only to come home and find that musical tastes had changed. The big band era was over so Bernie turned to what he knew best, his horn. If he couldn’t play it for a living, he would teach and sell. In 1946, the Vance Music Store opened in Bloomington, IN. However, the first year was a difficult one for the store (like so many others in his same situation). Bernie needed to learn about overhead and taxes, which he learned fast.

Fred Theriault recalls the first time he set foot in Long & McQuade’s Music Store. He was still a teen and bought a snare drum from Jack McQuade; ironically Fred later was hired and has spent nearly 50 years with the company. Jack Long hired Fred in the store and soon put him in charge of the newly established Yorkville Sound.

Eddy Shenker teamed up with Marty Golden in the mid 1970s to form JAM Industries. The distribution company has become one of the largest in Canada and introduced the market to a number of innovative products.

Dr. Wolf-Dieter Seiffert is the president of G. Henle Publishers, a noted publishing firm located in Germany. Dr. Seiffert is also a musicologist and historian, who took great pride in our interview to discuss the rich history of the company and that of its founder, Mr. Henle.

Earl Scruggs was the father of bluegrass and country banjo playing. His style and techniques have been both influential and inspiring for generations of banjo players around the world. His easy-going personality endured thousands of music students who would often receive a lesson when they approached him with a question.

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