Karl Burri's collection of wind instruments

Karl Burri's collection of wind instruments

The Klingendes Museum is based on the Burri collection of musical instruments. Karl Burri (1921–2003) was trained as a brass instrument maker. Since 1945 he ran his business of wind instrument's sale and repair in Bern. He received "old" instruments, and as a consequence began to collect systematically in 1964. Burri bought historical instruments from factories in Paris and elsewhere as well as from antiques dealers and brocantes. Further he also exchanged items with other collectors and received historical instruments from customers and musicians.

In 1970, Karl Burri established his own museum in the village of Zimmerwald. In five rooms he presented his approx. 700 instruments in thematic order as a study collection. He showed it to countless music societies, classes, private persons and specialists. Within 20 years, his collection had doubled in size!

Karl Burri in February 2003 with his baroque trombone
Karl Burri in February 2003 with his baroque trombone

After the death of Karl Burri in 2003, his two children continued his endeavors. In 2013 Adrian v. Steiger published his dissertation Die Instrumentensammlung Burri. Hintergründe und Herausforderungen (in German). In his book, he is presentuing the collection, its history and selected instruments as well as discussing the dilemma of playing vs. displaying of historical musical instruments.

In order to preserve this important cultural heritage in Bern, the Foundation Instrumentensammlung Burri took over Burri's collection in 2015. Further additions, made possible through donations or loans, will sharpen the profile of the museum's collection. A recent major donation is the collection of 70 instruments from the Swiss manufacturer Hirsbrunner, documenting the 200 years of that company in Sumiswald near Bern.