(This series is devoted to profiling companies that manufaefure clarinets, clarinet accessories and other clarinet-related products. It is intended to be informational and non-commercial in nature, and focuses on the historical and research aspecs of each company's products. Ed.)
For the first time in the history of the ft I.C.A ClarinelFess, a German clarinet maker was an exhibitor at the 1997 Lubbock conference. The company was Herbert WurliIzer of Neustadt an der Aisch - a maker that for the past few decades has set a standard of quality fo their German-system clarinets that has attracted the majority of professional German clarinetists, including such internationally known artists as Karl Leister and Sabine Meyer in Germany, and Michele Zukovsky in the U.S. Also, their Reform-Bochm clarinets, developed more than 50years ago by Fritz Wurlitzer have found a following throughout the world, but especially in Holland, Japan and Korea. (See also Lee Gibson's "Claranalysis" article in the Summer 1982 issue of The Clarinet, "The Herbert Wurlitzer Boehm-System CIarinets.")
Woodwind instruments have been made by the Wurlitzer family since Johann Friedrich Wurlitzer (1801-1878) began making fifes in Wernitzgriin in 1820. For a complete history of the company see Enrico Weller's excellent three-part series, 'Die Wurlitzers,'in the German woodwind magaznne, 'rohrblatt (March 1995, June 1995 and September 1995).
Today the company employs 25 workers, all of whom lean each part of the assembly process, but later usually specialize on cerain steps in the procedure. There are two specialists in repair, who find themselves particularly busy during the summer months when professional players normally send in their instruments for overhauls and repairs. In some cases, the cost of repair for orchestral players' instruments is paid by their respective orchestras.
Each clarinet is made as a unit, with the keywork made especially for a particular instrument. Thus, when instruments are sent in for repair or overhaul, disassembled keys, springs and rods are carefully labeled with the owner's name to ensure their return to the original clarinet. New clarinet orders take six to 18 months to fill, and no clarinets are made until orders are received. Quality control is maintained by Professor Ulrich Wurlitzer, a former member of the Berlin Philharmonic and current professor of clarinet at the Hochschule fur Musik in Wurzburg.
Wurlitzer makes a complete family of clarinets in both German and Reform-Boehm systems: B, Bb and A, basset hom and bass in Refonn-Boehm, and a some what more complete line of German-system instruments, including, D, Eb, Bb and A, C, basset horn, basset clarinet, alto clarinet and bass. The price list for 1997 indicates that a pair (Bb Ind A) of Reform-Boehm clarinets start at $9,000 (16,000 DM) and a pair of German-system instruments costs $10,200 (18,000 DM). The No. 90 German system is $2,500. (Prices based on $1.00U.S. = 1.82 DM as of January 15, 1998).
For more information about the Herbert Wurlitzer company and its instruments, contact
Berod A. Wurlitzer, Ruckerstrasse 20,
D-91413 Neustadt a. d. Aisch, Germany.
Phone:49 (9161) 2625; Fax.49 (9161)7457.