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Boosey & Hawkes

Boosey & Hawkes

Boosey & Hawkes, English music publishers. Thomas Boosey was a London bookseller and a continental traveler from 1792. He was often asked to handle music, and in 1816 founded a music publishing house on Holies Street. On the Continent he met eminent musicians of the time; he visited Vienna and negotiated about publication with Beethoven (who mentions Boosey’s name in one of his letters to the Phil. Soc. in London). Boosey’s main stock consisted of Italian and French operas. He owned copyrights of Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi (until 1854), and publ. inexpensive English eds. of standard European works. In the 1820s he put his son, Thomas, in charge of musical publications. In 1846 the firm of Boosey & Sons began publishing band music; in 1855 (in conjunction with the flutist R.S. Pratten) the manufacture of improved flutes was begun; in 1868 the firm acquired Henry Distin’s factory for musical instruments, and supplied band instruments for the British and Colonial armies. It was this development that eventually brought about the merger of Boosey and Hawkes. William Henry Hawkes was a trumpeter-in- ordinary to Queen Victoria. He established in 1865 a workshop of band instruments and an ed. of concert music for orch. and became a strong competitor of Boosey & Sons from 1885 on. Economic pressure forced the amalgamation of the 2 firms in 1930, combining valuable eds. covering a whole century of music. A branch of Boosey & Sons had been established in N.Y. (1892), discontinued in 1900, and reestablished in 1906; after the merger, Boosey & Hawkes opened offices in N.Y., Chicago, and Los Angeles. In Canada, the business was inaugurated in 1913; a Paris branch, the Editions Hawkes, was started in 1922; further affiliates were established in Australia (1933), India (1937), Argentina (1945), South Africa (1946), and Germany (1950). After World War II, the factories for the manufacture of band instruments in London were greatly expanded; quantity production of wind instruments, harmonicas, and drums enabled the firm to extend the market to all parts of the world. In 1927 the firm acquired the American rights of Enoch & Sons; in 1943 the catalogue of Adolph Fürstner, containing all the operas of Richard Strauss, was bought for certain territories; in 1947 the Koussevitzky catalogue (Édition Russe de Musique and Édition Gutheil) was purchased, including the major output of Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff. It also publ, works by Mahler, Bartók, Britten, Maxwell Davies et al. Carl Fischer obtained a controlling interest in the firm in 1986. Boosey & Hawkes merged with Bote & Bock in 1996.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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