Early instrument maker has died

Early instrument maker has died


norman lebrecht

May 11, 2016

We have reports of the death of Friedrich von Huene, founder of the Early Music Shop of New England and a pioneer in reproducing 18th century recorders.

von huehne

Joel Cohen of the Boston Camerata writes:

from the Music Director Emeritus

We render deepest homage to the great Friedrich von Huene, who died peacefully last Sunday near his wife Ingeborg, their children, and grandchild.

You will be reading elsewhere about Friedrich’s enormous contribution to the early instrument revival, his pioneering studies of historic wind instruments, his success in creating an independent business, and his profound influence on a younger generation of craftsmen/instrument makers.

But what I want to evoke right now, so gratefully, is Friedrich’s wonderful presence in, and enthusiasm for, the art of early music. He and Inge were charter members of the Camerata of the Museum of Fine Arts (now the Boston Camerata), and their skill on a range of instruments, and evident love for the repertoires, made a deep and lasting impression on the youngster I was in 1963, performing for the first time with the ensemble. Friedrich loved to play. He had a rich and personal sound on recorders and flute, and his forward-looking energy imparted vitality and focus to what was at that early point a sometimes-tentative mix of professionals and amateurs.

Friedrich continued to perform with Camerata for several seasons after its change in directorship, and co-founded, with me, the Cambridge Consort. He and Inge remained connected for many years with the world of Boston performance, encouraging young musicians and mentoring so many of us with good advice and friendship. Friedrich and Inge, it must not be forgotten, were co-founders of the Boston Early Music Festival; their vision for our field lives happily on, and continues to inspire us.

I and the Boston Camerata are honored to have known Friedrich von Huene as colleague, mentor, and friend. At this time of sadness, but also of consoling memory of a life well lived, we send loving condolences to his wife and family.

Joel Cohen 5/11/2016


  • Doug says:

    I only knew him briefly as a young student and he made a lasting impression on me then. In retrospect I regret not pursuing the option of an apprenticeship with him. The following quote comes to mind about him: “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” -Francis of Assisi

  • Robert King says:

    Friedrich von Huene was one of the very greatest of that pioneering generation of instrument makers in the latter part of the twentieth century who made faithful copies of instruments from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to such a high standard that performance levels, and performers, were able to take huge steps forwards.

    The period instrument world is so indebted to these great craftsmen: they have made our work as performers possible. Today we celebrate, we salute, we gratefully thank, and we mourn, one of the finest of that remarkable generation. Requiescat in pace.