Founded in 1979, by local musicians Jean F. Wilmouth (1938 – 2007) and his wife Rita S. Wilmouth (1940 – 2012), Musik Innovations began as a modest mail order business out of their home. Today, Musik Innovations is one of the largest music stores in western Pennsylvania. Musik Innovations is now owned by their daughters Gretchen Wilmouth (Business Manager) and Danièle Wilmouth (Creative Director). Much of our success over the past 36 years can be attributed to our knowledgeable staff, many of who have been with us for over 20 years, as well as our thriving School of Music community. We would also like to thank our many loyal customers (churches, schools & music teachers) for all their support over the years. Musik Innovations will continue to serve the music communities of Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania and the nation until it closes on December 31st, 2015.
Jean F. Wilmouth Jr. (1938-2007)
Jean was an internationally known musician, educator and retailer who taught the Orff and Dalcroze methods of music education throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Jean grew up in the Beechview neighborhood of Pittsburgh. He graduated from South Hills High School and studied music at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). He met his wife, Rita, when they were both performing for the Wilkinsburg Symphony Orchestra. They became sweethearts when she also enrolled at Carnegie Institute of Technology to study voice. They married in 1963, when Jean was starting the elementary instrumental music program in Fox Chapel School District. Jean left Fox Chapel, and eventually became the Vice President of Volkwein Bros. Music Store. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, and taught percussion/Orff methods at both Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon Universities. In 1967, Jean founded the Gateway to Music Percussion Ensemble, which performed concerts for school children, prison inmates and retirement communities throughout the Pittsburgh area for almost 30 years. Jean performed regularly with the Butler Symphony Orchestra, and the Mister Rogers band. He helped to start the Pittsburgh chapter of Orff-Schulwerk and hosted both the 1975 and the 1980 American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA) conferences. In 2003, Jean was awarded the AOSA Industry Service Award.
Rita Sue Wilmouth (1940-2012)
Rita had an early love of music & entertained her elementary classmates by singing Hoagy Carmichael tunes at her one room schoolhouse near Emlenton, PA. She continued singing throughout her high school years, performing solo, with her school choir, and together with her cousins Faye & Mary Lou, she formed the award winning Hickman Trio. In 1963, Rita earned her bachelor’s degree at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University), majoring in voice and music education. She was a choir member in various churches throughout the Pittsburgh area. Then in 1959, she performed in ‘The Golden Crucible’, Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial Pageant, and went on to become a chorus member in the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Rita taught elementary classroom music, as well as private voice. In 1966, together with her husband Jean F. Wilmouth Jr., Rita started a family & raised two daughters - Gretchen and Danièle. In 1979, she co-founded Musik Innovations with Jean. She was on the board of the Pittsburgh Concert Society and the Pittsburgh Youth Concert Orchestra (PYCO).
Vintage Musik Innovations TV commercial from 1989 in our original location!