National Music Museum Logo   National Music Museum  
Home Collections
Virtual Tour
Calendar Gift Shop FAQ Site Index Maker Index

 

The Meisel Family Violin Collection

Kurt Meisel, left, and his son, Lothar, represent the eighth and ninth generations of a long line of violin makers who began working in Klingenthal, The Vogtland (Germany), in the late 1600s.






Kurt and Lothar Meisel


Three generations of the Meisel family

Lothar Meisel...

The last of nine generations of violin makers who began working in The Vogtland in the late 1600s, Lothar Meisel escaped from East Germany in 1949, went to Birmingham, England, and brought his parents out a few years later. They lived first in Cleveland, Ohio, then settled in Owatonna, Minnesota, in 1957. An interview with Lothar Meisel and his father, Kurt, taped by Museum staff in 1994, documents the life stories of the eighth and ninth generations of this long line of violin makers.


Lothar Meisel stands in front of a display case featuring his two Tertis model violas in the Cutler Gallery at the NMM (2003). It was in 1952, while working in the violin shop of Sidney Cecil Evans in Birmingham, England, that Lothar was introduced to British violist, Lionel Tertis (1876-1975). Working from plans developed in 1937 by Arthur Richardson (1882-1956), a luthier from Crediton in Devonshire, Lothar made his first Tertis model viola before leaving England. Lothar's second and third Tertis model instruments (NMM 5620 and 5621) were made after the Meisel's settled in Lakewood, Ohio.

Lothar Meisel at NMM


Highlights of the Collection...

The Meisel Family Violin Collection consists of seventeen bowed stringed instruments made by eight generations of the Meisel family of The Vogtland (Germany) and the USA. Go to annotated checklist for complete details.

Two violas from the Meisel Collection are on display in the Cutler Gallery. The other instruments are available for examination by appointment (see access guidelines) in the Museum's study-storage areas.


Sources For Further Information...

Thomas James Wenberg, Violin and Bow Makers of Minnesota (St. Paul: The Schubert Club Museum, 1988), pp. 64-65.

André P. Larson, "A Salute to the Instrument Makers of the Vogtland, Including Nine Generations of the Meisel Family," The Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 23, No. 1 (October 1995) p. 6.

Russell Scott Smith, "The Last Waltz:  Owatonna Violinmaker Lothar Meisel Embodies 300 Years of Family Tradition—A Tradition that Will Soon Come to an End," Minnesota Monthly 30, No. 12 (December 1996), pp. 60-65, 137-138.

Prod. Julie Kucaj, "Lothar Meisel," Arts & Minds. Bravo! News Style Arts Channel, Toronto, 30-31 Jan. 2003.

Laurence Anderson, "From the Maker's Bench: The Quality of Wood," String Notes: Journal of the Minnesota String Teachers Asssociation 7, No. 2 (Winter 2004/2005), pp. 12, 27.

NAMM Oral History Interview Project:   Short video interview with Kurt Lothar Meisel (June 28, 2006).

The Meisel Family Violinmakers, Klingenthal, Vogtland, Saxony by K. Lothar Meisel (Ely, Minnesota: Singing River Publications, 2007).



Go to Collections Page Index

Go to Checklist of Bowed Stringed Instruments Made by Members of the Meisel Family

Go to Checklist of Bowed Stringed Instruments Made Before 1800

Go to Checklist of Violins Made Between 1800-1849

Go to Checklist of Violins Made Between 1875-1899

National Music Museum
The University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD   57069

©National Music Museum, 1996-2016
Most recent update:   May 14, 2016

The University of South Dakota
Return to Top of Page