Who are the "must-try" contemporary makers?
I'm attending the Reed-Yeboah Contemporary Maker's Exhibition in NYC this weekend: LINK
Any thoughts on the violin and bow-makers there?
And anyone else going to be there?
Wanted to go but not sure if I can yet.
Their exhibition page seems to be down right now. Here are the makers submitting this year:
I would add Don Leister (Richmond VA) and Patrick Toole (Roanoke VA). I have played their violins and was impressed. My friend Daniel Foster (Blacksburg VA) has retired so unfortunately I don't think he can be considered contemporary any more, but he made nice violins, violas, and cellos. He made a poplar cello, late in his career, that was beautiful.
Personally, I wouldn't mind test-driving a violin by Ada Quaranta and/or a bow by Matt Wehling, if I ever had the chance. Have fun! It sounds like a great event.
Burgess, Zygmuntowicz, and Curtin are amongst the best contemporaries I have played.
I have the indefinite use of a Kuttner violin and a Raguse bow, and I really enjoy them both.
Lydia - IMHO, must tries:
Try a bunch out and see what you like. I know there's a gazillion choices, but you can randomly pick a few and see what's you fave.
Sounds fun! Enjoy your visit there
@ Mary Ellen -- How did you select the Raguse bow? He is one contemporary maker I would like to try, but have not.
Douglas--I didn't select it. I was teaching an adult beginner--a dentist--who very suddenly and sadly passed away. He owned the Kuttner and Raguse; the family member who is the recipient of those instruments does not currently have the time to keep them played, so I am the caretaker at the request of the family.
I have to say I second the Raguse. He is just incredible as I own his bow as well.
I own a Raguse bow already. :-)
Jesse Maschmeyer, Shahram & Saeid Rezvani and Cody Kowalski (Bow)
since this is about
I attended the exhibition today. I spent about two hours there, and I tried every violin, as well as every violin bow. I arrived right at the beginning when it was relatively quiet. (I was bemused to see that the players that arrived were nigh universally Asian women.)
Thanks Lydia! Fascinating and well organized report.
Thanks Lydia! You've made me really wanna go Monday, if there's anything left, though I assume they leave the instruments until the end of the show even when sold.
You should totally go. I imagine it'll be quieter on Monday too. :-)
Oh, a note on strings: The strings of choice seemed to be mostly Vision Titanium Solo or Evah Pirazzi Gold, but also some regular EPs, Peter Infelds (with the platinum E), and Dominants. I'm not sure that I saw any other string brands.
It's been a long time since I tried all those nice old and modern fiddles and I don't know how much I trust my memory. Would you say, based on your experience, you've still not come across a newer fiddle as warm as your Vuillaume?
I haven't. But I also haven't played another violin that I think is as good in its price class, period.
The question of warmth stands out because a friend recently bought a 19C German (can never remember the maker's name) and has sworn off newer fiddles for their presumed lack of warmth. It's such a fuzzy notion but I think all players have a conception, or preconceptions, about it. He made me want a warmer fiddle :) whatever that means (though I don't find his fiddle particularly warm.)
@ Lydia Leong & Jeewon Kim
In the latest Cremona exhibition I went to, the instruments were generally bright and responsive, but didn't have a very interesting sound. As if someone had taken the tonal concept popular in a student instrument, and given it faster response and more volume.
@Lydia: thanks for sharing it generously! Great report & experience!
Thank you Lydia! That's a most helpful report and I'm sure it will be reviewed in future again and again.
It bodes well for the future that new instruments can impress fresh off the bench. Imagine how good these instruments will sound in 100 years when they have matured!
@ Lydia Leong
Thanks Lydia, nice writeup, and a nice supplement to the concurrent MONSTER THREAD. :-)
Is "focus and punch" the same thing as projection?
Thank you Lydia.
Paul, not exactly, at least not in my mind, but I think there's some overlap.
Thanks Davide and David!
In the Monster Thread Don mentioned physical changes to wood, hemicellulose degradation. I'd heard of the phenomenon before, but as it was explained to me, it is the cause of the 'mature sound', claimed by more than one dealer (reputable, highly experienced dealers and a respected restorer/dealer,) especially past the 100 year mark.
Thanks Lydia, an amazing and useful thread/post! Would love to read more from anyone else that have gone and played the instruments. 2 quick questions
Sorry, Paul, I'll take another stab at answering your question.
None of my violins are really old" one made in 1951, 2 from the early 1970s, and one from 1996 - I bought them all when they were either new or no more than 2 years old. But the most "mature sounding" violin I owned was made in 1990* and it had that mature characteristic when the maker showed up with it right after the varnish dried at one of our orchestra rehearsals and I was in the back of the hall when some of the younger violinists were trying it on stage during our break. It blew me away! And i tried it and reinforced that opinion. One of the young violinists (who later that year went to college and earned a degree in violin performance) had it for a couple of weeks and I feared she would buy it - but her teacher advised purchasing an old French fiddle instead - so i ended up with it. So I had it for about 10 years until my granddaughter chose it as her violin when I offered her my choice of any of mine. I paid the maker (a personal friend) $1,400 for it - but I felt it held its own against any $30,000 violin I later tried. I also had opportunities to play violins "in the white" this man made and later the same violins after they were varnished. We would try these instruments in his shop and later in the large space of the church he attended. Although these violins did not meet the standard of the Stradivarius I had played 30 years earlier, they were very good (although none quite as good as the one he sold me in 1990*).
Lydia -- glad you enjoyed yourself and thanks for the great details about the violins. Any more bow details?
@ Marc Marschall
Davide: Ciaccio's violin had a sound I liked but did not distinguish itself sufficiently from the other fine makers present. The Levaggi was one that I put down almost immediately; if I recall correctly I didn't find it to have much color, and I tried it towards the end, when it was noisy. I don't remember a Rosenblum -- he might have had a non-violin instrument there instead.
Jorge: I didn't ask about the price of the Curtin. It had effectively already been sold. There were less-expensive violins there. Yann Poulain's, for instance, was $15k, and I think a very nice violin compared to others I've played at that price point. One of the makers, Jeffrey Haas, is an amateur; he said the violin on display was the eighth one he's made, and I imagine that he would have been selling it for considerably less than most of the other makers present.
Thanks Lydia, probably Rosenblum have a viola family instrument, if I recall correctly she is more focused on those instrument than violins.
@ Lydia -- Interesting. I've tried a few Begin bows. One in particular pulled an amazing and refined tone with superb on-string control. It refused to sautille or bounce well. Similar to your experience.
I own a Bégin bow -- light and nimble, refined tone, and quite the contrary to what has been said above, it has a very lively response for sautillé strokes. I tried three or four different Bégin bows before settling on this one, but they all performed extremely well for off-the-string strokes. Bright articulation and clarity made it a perfect match for my instrument (a Guy Harrison 2011 Del Gesu model).
Sibelius is one of the concertos that I don't know. There was another player in the room for whom it was their initial test on every violin, though. It's quite revealing in terms of a violin's ability to project, heard that way.