The Makers of Woodwinds in Slovenia and Their Heritage


  • Darja Koter



In Slovenia we have not long been dedicating ourselves to the development of instrument making, and even in »foreign« literature this subject is rarely mentioned. Up till now organ and violin making have been the most comprehensively examined, but research on the history and development of other crafts connected with the making of instruments has been conducted for only a short time. Therefore, this contribution is apparently the first historical survey of the making of woodwind instruments in Slovenia as well as of preserved instruments with the signatures of native masters; it is based on archival sources and preserved historical instruments. Although it has been ascertained that turners were working in Ljubljana by the second half of the 15th century, proof of the first turner, a maker of the wind instruments, comes as late as the end of the 18th century. We know of two of them from Ljubljana by name. The sources mention a W. Leutgeb, who worked at the end of the 18th century, and whose one-keyed flute has been preserved in a private collection of the unknown owner. The other maker, Simon Unglerth (1778-1854), whose preserved instruments indicate that he was a skilled maker who modelled himself after the masters of the Vienna school, was known to be a successful maker of windwinds in Ljubljana. A flute, a clarinet, parts of a flageolet, a basset horn, and a walking-stick flute, all with the stamp of his workshop, are preserved in museums in Ptuj (Slovenia), Copenhagen, and New York. Michael Pöhm, who came from a well-known family of craftsmen with a long tradition, worked in Ptuj at the turn of the 19th century, but only two of his transverse flutes are preserved, which were made in accord with the requirements of a brass band characteristic of the beginning of the last century. In Maribor wind instruments were made by a certain Poje, whose flute, dated from the middle of the last century, is kept in the Ptuj museum. For the time being, we link him to a man named Poje from Graz. The modest heritage of woodwinds made by native masters and the archival material indicate that the making of wind instruments was not widespread in Slovenia. The need for wind instruments was most likely not such that a larger number of the craftsmen would have been able to make a living from it. The heritage in museums suggests that the musicians were buying their instruments elsewhere, mostly in Graz and Vienna, which were renown for their excellent makers of wind instruments as also other instruments from the end of the 18th century to the turn of the 20th century.


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How to Cite

Koter, D. (1999). The Makers of Woodwinds in Slovenia and Their Heritage. Musicological Annual, 35(1), 147–165.