The Derscheid Initiative


The importance of the modern lyre, both in its use as a concert instrument and as an ideal instrument for music therapy, is intimately connected with anthroposophical work in the realm of music. An anthroposophical music therapy training such as the Dorion School, for instance, cultivates the playing of the lyre as the primary instrument. The lyre’s purity of tone and its hygienic appeal to the human soul is unsurpassed. Yet the modern lyre, unlike traditional concert instruments, is an instrument in 'becoming.' Its development is still unfolding in accordance with the new understanding of tone and musicality emerging in our times, especially through anthroposophical insight and musicianship. Among those responsible for refining the modern lyre is Heinz Michael Derscheid, an accomplished and highly respected German lyre builder, who for many decades worked alone, without an apprentice, developing a style of lyre that became treasured for its warmth and clarity of tone. As reported in a previous Lyre Notes, Herr Derscheid crossed the threshold of death suddenly in the summer of 2008.

Lyrists are now concerned that his lyre building impulse not be lost. Channa Seidenberg, the primary contact for orders of the Derscheid lyres by those living in America over the last 15 years, placed dozens of these instruments. Now she is working toward continuing this impulse. With her encouragement and that of others, Alan Thewless, an instrument builder, curative educator, and student of anthroposophical music therapy, traveled to Stuttgart to visit Frau Derscheid, tour the workshop, and discuss with her the possibility of purchasing the rights to the Derscheid design and the materials left in the German workshop, so that he could begin to build these lyres in America. Alan has a small workshop on his premises and also builds instruments with young adults at Camphill Soltane. Recently, he has made an extensive study of the Derscheid lyre, creating several successful copies of the instrument.

The LANA board has formed a core group committed to helping the workshop come to America and to supporting Alan’s efforts, recognizing the importance of this step in promoting the lyre on this continent. This group has an agreement with Frau Derscheid to transfer the business to the U.S. We welcome your suggestions, support, ideas, and encouragement. You may contact Alan Thewless at 1432 Temple Road, Pottstown PA 19465; 610-970-3047 /