Rebecca Wolf leads the Leibniz-research group "Materiality of Musical Instruments: New Approaches to a Cultural History of Organology" at the Deutsches Museum and teaches musicology in Munich, Stuttgart, and Zurich. She was Fellow at the Harvard Music Department and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. Her first book, “Friedrich Kaufmanns Trompeterautomat. Ein musikalisches Experiment um 1810” won the Award of Excellence of the Austrian Ministry for Science and Research. She has published on instruments made of glass, musical automata, music in peace and war, cultural history and organology. In her current book project, she explores concepts of sound and knowledge of craft from 1800 to 1950.
Leon Chisholm was a member of the "Materiality of Musical Instruments" research team from 2016-19. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Collaborative Research Center 980, "Episteme in Motion. Transfer of Knowledge from the Ancient World to the Early Modern Period," based at the Free University in Berlin. He has taught musicology and media studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University, and Humboldt University, Berlin. He has also held research fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Italian Academy of Columbia University. His publications, on topics ranging from the establishment of basso continuo as a printed part to the circulation of Corelli’s music in Scottish fiddle manuscripts, reflect his broad historical interest in the relationship between musical instrument playing, cognition, and stylistic change.
Katharina Preller became member of the research group after completing her MA in musicology at LMU Munich. At Deutsches Museum she is working on her PhD thesis, in which she examines the impact of acoustic research on piano making during the 19th century. A central case study is the investigation of Hermann von Helmholtz’s "On the Sensations of Tone" and his exchange with Steinway and Sons, especially regarding their invention of the duplex scale. Her research interests include the history of acoustics and the technical history of piano making. Since December 2019 she is a research assistant in the DFG-funded project "urban music culture in Upper German free and imperial cities, 1500-1800" at the University of Augsburg.
Charlotte Holzer joined the research group "Materiality of Musical Instruments" at the very end of the project in 2019/2020, with a three-months investigation of glass instruments from the Deutsches Museum. She has a MA in textile conservation from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and finished her PhD at the Technical University of Munich in 2018. During her PhD about the technology and preservation of a late 19th century glass fibre dress, she gained experience in the analysis of historic glasses. Charlotte was Scholar-in-Residence at the Deutsches Museum in 2015 and 2016 and received the Rakow Grant for Glass Research 2016.
Since May 2017, Julin Lee has been assisting the research group "Materiality of Musical Instruments" as its student researcher. After graduating from the University of Cambridge in 2014 where she studied Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences, she has actively cultivated her research interests at the intersection of science and music. Following on from her Bachelor’s thesis in Musicology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), she has published on Oskar Sala, the Trautonium and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and also presented her research at international conferences and workshops in Istanbul, Berlin, Mataró, Maynooth and Munich. She is interested in the study of twentieth century music, including film music and electronic musical instruments. Currently, she is writing her Master’s thesis on the music of the HBO series Westworld.
Stephanie Probst has accompanied the project "Materiality of Musical Instruments" from summer 2016 as an associate researcher. From July-December 2018, she was Scholar-in-Residence at the Deutsches Museum, conducting research on annotated piano rolls and the Metrostyle Pianola with the Museum’s collection of music rolls for player pianos and piano players (https://digital.deutsches-museum.de/projekte/notenrollen/). She completed her PhD in May 2018 from Harvard University, and has since held Postdocs in the ERC-funded research group "Sound and Materialism in the 19th Century" at the University of Cambridge, and currently at the University of Potsdam. Her research investigates music in relation to developments in science and technology, psychology, and the visual arts in the late 19th through the 20th century. Articles are forthcoming on SMT-V and Music Theory Online.
Michael Zahnweh was a student intern of the "Materiality of Musical Instruments" group at the Deutsches Museum during the summer of 2018. He gained insights into various projects at the museum, which included the recording sessions of the museum's glass musical instruments. Michael assisted the organ builder and visiting fellow Walter Chinaglia in building parts of an organ, recreated via historically informed methods. Furthermore, he assisted Dr. Panagiotis Poulopoulos in researching and transcribing sources for his project "A Creative Triangle of Mechanics, Acoustics and Aesthetics: The Early Pedal Harp (1780-1830) as a Symbol of Innovative Transformation". Michael holds a B.A. in musicology, art history and sociology from TU Dresden. Currently, he is pursuing his Master’s degree in musicology at LMU Munich. His research interests include music theory and its historical development, jazz and popular music, as well as the music and instruments of Northern India.
Fellows and cooperation partners
Claudio Albrecht joined the research group "Materiality of Musical Instruments" twice as a Research Scholar in August 2018 and June–July 2019, investigating the sound of glass instruments held at the Deutsches Museum and preparing a sample library together with Prof. Christoph Reuter. He obtained his M.A. in Musicology at the University of Vienna, where he specialised in the interdisciplinary approach to historical and acoustical topics under Prof. Reuter, such as investigating musical instruments and historical venues for musical performances. After completing his Master's degree in Vienna, he moved to Berlin to study Audio Communication and Technology at the TU Berlin.
In summer 2018, during 2019 and spring 2020, Walter Chinaglia participated as research fellow in the project "Building of a new organo di legno" within the research group "Materiality of Musical Instruments". After obtaining his degree in Physics in 1996 and five years of research in non-linear optics at University of Insubria, Como, Walter Chinaglia started his workshop Organa in 2001. He drafts, designs, builds and restores pipe organs, harpsichords and claviorgans using traditional materials, tools and techniques. Driven by his spirit of research, he conceives every single instrument based on the study of numerous historical sources. He is well known for his re-creations of Medieval and Renaissance organs. Chinaglia received the affiliation to the Centre for Cultural Heritage Studies, University of Insubria, Como.
Hanna Kirst joined the research team as a freelance conservator, looking after the fragile glass instruments. She made sure all instruments were in the condition to be played, monitored them during recording, checked their condition once more after and conducted a thorough cleaning. Hanna Kirst completed her MA in Conservation-Restoration, Art Technology and Conservation Science at the Technical University of Munich, specialising in paintings, polychrome sculptures and folkloristic objects made out of a variety of different materials such as glass, wood, metal, wax, textile etc. Currently she is part of a BMBF project researching the painting technique of German expressionist Emil Nolde while also working as a freelance conservator-restorer.
Niko Plath joined the research group "Materiality of Musical Instruments" in 2017, with a three-month investigation on the acoustic behavior of the "Steinway-Helmholtz-Piano". Niko Plath received an MA in Systematic Musicology from the University of Hamburg in 2014. Since then, he participated in a DFG funded research project in cooperation with the piano building company Steinway & Sons and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher on fiber-reinforced composite materials for musical instruments at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. His academic interests include acoustics and organology of stringed instruments, measurement methods in musical acoustics, 3D imaging techniques and signal processing.
Christoph Reuter initiated and conducted the recording of the glass musical instruments. He subsequently prepared the analysis results and the instruments for their virtual presentation in this exhibition. He is professor for Systematic Musicology at the Musicological Department of the University of Vienna (since 2016 head of institute). His research focuses on timbre and noise perception/analysis, musical instruments, musical acoustics, room acoustics and psychoacoustics, music psychology as well as music-related internet and software projects.
Maximilian Reimann coordinates and maintains the technical aspects of the exhibit. He completed his MA in Modern History at LMU Munich and is currently finishing his PhD thesis on the history of geography.