Welcome to Zither US

Here you will find information pertaining to the concert zither, an instrument with Alpine origins commonly associated with the German-speaking lands of Europe. The concert zither has an incredibly rich history here in the US. By providing a venue to share its history and music, it's hoped that interest will be renewed and new players will be encouraged to take up this wonderful instrument.

To grow as a resource, Zither US is seeking your contributions. Did you have an ancestor who played the concert zither? Do you play, or have you attended a recent performance? If so, consider sharing your experiences and knowledge with the community. For more information on how to become a contributor, contact us.

For the enjoyment of the zither community, hundreds of vintage zither arrangements and compositions have been digitized and published. Visit the page of the Vintage Zither Music Project to browse the current collection.

Zither Societies in America

In Handbuch der Zither, Dr. Josef Brandlmeier provides a brief account of the zither in the US, beginning with the formation of the first zither club in Detroit in 1877. Zither newsletters, additional clubs and personalities emerged shortly thereafter. This translation from the original German text has been kindly provided by Dr. Jane Curtis.

Franz Waldecker & Co.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, numerous domestic zither manufacturers emerged in the United States. In Missouri, Franz Schwarzer was producing award winning zithers. Chicago based Lyon & Healy and Hartmann Bros. & Reinard, of New York City, also sold and manufactured zithers. In our Nation's Capitol, on 1417 Sixth Street, NW, zithers and strings were also being manufactured to fulfill the demand of zither-playing Washingtonians.

Louisville Zither Club

This zither photo of the Louisville Zither Club, taken in 1907, was sent to us by The Filson Historical Society. Oscar Below is standing in the back row, second from the right. He was a machinist who worked for the L & N Railroad and lived in the neighborhood in which the German American Club of Louisville was first established. Although not yet confirmed, it is believed the man sitting front row and center is Joseph Hugh, former director of this club.

Photo Courtesy of The Filson Historical Society ©

Gina and the Zither

A discovery in the family's attic sparked the curiosity of a young musician. Gina Gerbasio is pursuing the concert zither, an instrument once played by her great-grandmother, Elizabeth Grob. Now, with hard work and weekly lessons, she is making great progress. In this article, Dr. William F. Kolb provides an update on his aspiring student and details how the zither has found expression in a new generation.

A Brief History of the American Zither Verband

Originally published in the newsletter The Zither, circa 1920, "A Brief History of the American Zither Verband and the United Zither Players Association of America" details the birth of the American Zither Verband and the productive congresses that followed. Permission for the republication of this article has been kindly extended by the Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia, Missouri.

Davenport Zither Ensemble

The following photograph of the Davenport Zither Ensemble was sent to us by Anne Prinz. With a stated goal of helping to foster and grow new zither players, twenty people have learned to play the zither in the ensemble since its formation in 2002. Led by Donald Ockelmann , the club's musical director, the ensemble meets weekly for practice sessions and performs 2-4 concerts per year.

Zitherist Rudolph Mueller

Welcome Summer! This zither photo was sent to us by Rudolph Mueller. His father, Rudolph Mueller Sr. (seated left), is shown enjoying the zither, Schlitz and the company of his friend, Paul Ederegger, on a sunny day in Carl Schurz Park, ca. 1950.

Ph. Louis Brachet

Originally from Prussia, Philip Louis Brachet immigrated to the United States in 1860 and settled in Philadelphia, PA. From his home, he gave music lessons, sold musical instruments and composed numerous pieces for the piano and zither. In this article we present what is known of Philip Louis Brachet, former music teacher, composer and zitherist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Thirty-Third Sterling Zither Seminar

Zither players from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey convened once again for the 33rd Sterling Zither Seminar. Jane Curtis, whose report follows, served as host for the event and led the zither enthusiasts through a well-structured seminar program, which spanned two days. The seminar was held at the Greenspring retirement community in Springfield, VA.

Martin Zither

This zither photo was sent to us by Dick Boak of the Martin Guitar Company. The concert zither, shown below, was made by C.F. Martin, Jr., circa 1882 and is currently on display in the Martin Museum.

Photo Courtesy of C. F. Martin Archives ©


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