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Emily Grossman

From the Members of and Dimitri Musafia

May 21, 2011 at 6:51 AM

Ben noted, "It smells Italian."

I used my best fillet knife, so as to be extra careful.

Even the shredded paper was Italian.

Inside the box was an envelope with a certificate of authenticity and a description.

Lo and behold a bear-proof case!

Just what I always wanted!

Several months ago, on a whim, violin maker David Burgess spearheaded a campaign to raise funds to buy me a Musafia case.  It kinda came out of the blue at me, and caused me great embarrassment and disbelief.  Over a rather short period, contributions rolled in from all over the world, some from friends I know, some from people I don't know, and some from people who have chosen to remain anonymous.  Why?  I'd like to think it's because I'm super-awesome-special and deserve a super-awesome-special case. 

The truth is, I stumbled across this website seven years ago just like anyone else, because I had a question about martele, in the secret hopes that it wasn't too late to pursue my dreams on the violin.  Just like most other members here, I stayed up late at night reading insights from people in far off places, and this became my window into the world I fantasized about as a child.  Were it not for this window, I can honestly say I would not be the teacher and violinist I am today.  Because of the uniqueness of my location and lifestyle, nearly every musical dream that's come true for me in the past seven years would not have been possible had it not been fueled by the friendships I've formed through this website. 

And if this weren't enough, now you've gone and bought me a case!  And not just any case--a bear-proof case!  Mr. Musafia himself chose to contribute not only a third of the cost, but his own personal touch.  He wrote, 

A few words about its design. You'll recall the bear issue I'm sure.  As it was not possible to secure the services of a bear for the testing of the case, I have incorporated one into the case itself in order to better protect the violin. A sort of guard-bear...

Clearly, the animal references are stylized and somewhat abstract. You'll notice thus the recurring zig-zag theme, which metaphorically represent the bear's sharp claws and teeth! The lid in especially is a growling mouth, and you can see the red tongue too. It says, keep away from Emily's violin! It was made with a mosaic of 23 individual pieces cut to measure, lined with silk velvet, and glued into place.  The overall effect is also a result of maintaining a constant direction of the "grain" of the velvet, which otherwise would appear as a hodgepodge of different tonalities.

The zig-zag theme and a splash of red are present in the bottom of the case as well for aesthetic balance. Here the zig-zag is achieved by using an Ajous wood profile that was planed to a wedge section and then applied to create a louver (or clinker) effect and finally lined.

So there you have it, another dream come true.  What can I say?  I've been treated like royalty.  Thank you!  Thank you!  I love it.  I still can't believe it.

From Julian Stokes
Posted on May 21, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Your violin looks very happy in its new home.

From Emily Liz
Posted on May 21, 2011 at 3:29 PM

This is so fantastic. You deserve it, Emily! Enjoy your case! I'd be sleeping next to that thing lol. It looks lovely.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on May 21, 2011 at 6:28 PM

I sleep with it tucked under my arm at night...

From Andre A
Posted on May 21, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Congratulations Emily it look likes a very beautiful and sturdy case, something to envy, and certainly a heirloom.

Just a question. Why choose a triangular case when a square one can pack more accessories and seems to be the general world trend?

The top bow in the case has a frog with rounded corners, which is usually associated with a viola bow. Am I mistaken or is Emily also playing viola? 

From Emily Grossman
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 12:29 AM

Lighter, smaller cases are simply more mobile.  That's the main reason I went that direction.

The top bow is not rounded.  No viola bow.

From Michael Divino
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 6:50 AM

 You deserve it Emily!  :)

From Kenneth Choo
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Hey, congratulations Emily.  I wanted to write a note of "kudos" to David Burgess too...Wonderful reading about this.



From Emily Grossman
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Lothar, I wish I knew who you were.   Regardless, thanks for your unsigned generosity!

From Lothar Krepke
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 9:52 AM


Hello Emily,

Could you please say something more...?

(I had posted something, but then saw that it was not as intended, and deleted it moments later.) Perhaps you saw it.What was it that you describe as "unsigned?"



From Christian Vachon
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Hi Emily,

Congratulations!  This is fantastic; the case is beautiful and you totally deserve this!


From Susan Young
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Congratulations Emily!  It's a beautiful case!

From Lothar Krepke
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 2:09 PM



Hello Emily,

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever..."

But that should be in the plural, it seems:

Of course, there is the wonderful case. But I also include David's quirky spirit of generosity (and that extends far beyond this situation), Dimitri's kindness in helping to make it happen, the great folks who participated in all their many ways, and your willingness to play along, (pun intended.) Hey, on that last, I feel as if I got the best gift.

This whole thing has been great fun, and I thank you for that.

I wish you the very best,


From Michael Divino
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM

 Yes- it's much more than just a case, it's the people behind it. 

From Lothar Krepke
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 2:13 PM


Hello again Emily,

Hmmm... I may have been a bit hasty...

I spotted an issue that seems to necessitate that I take something up with Mr. Musafia directly. It is in one comment of his that you quoted:

"As it was not possible to secure the services of a bear for the testing of the case..."

This would seem to be some sort of insult to the wonderful, and I will add, fully available, Theodore, with whom I have had the pleasure to communicate frequently since this all began.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Mr. Musafia now frames the contribution of the bear as some sort of test of strength of the case when, in fact, the bear was to have provided a test of the integrity of Mr. Musafia himself...

The strengths of Musafia cases are known and respected world-wide... No, there is not any need to test them further.

I have just heard from Theodore that he is both ready, and willing. It only remains to learn if Mr. Musafia is up for the challenge.

All the best,


From Anthony Barletta
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Congratulations to Emily and to all who participated, including Ben, for his uncanny ability to recognize the scent of quality.

From elise stanley
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Lovely Emily.  I think everyone who contributed must have be bubbling over with vicarious pleasure in the outcome :)

Tell me though, when your violin comes out of its case, does it have a sort of a bass growl in the lower registers?


From David Burgess
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 9:19 PM

"I think everyone who contributed must have be bubbling over with vicarious pleasure in the outcome :) "

Interesting observation. Perhaps that's what it partly was for me.

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on May 22, 2011 at 10:00 PM


I suppose these are all `upper case letters....`



From Helen Harvey
Posted on May 23, 2011 at 1:51 AM


I'm all smiles as I look at your pictures of the case and read Dimitri's explanation of the symbolism.  Thank you so much for sharing your pictures, your anticipation, your joy, and "...great embarrassment and disbelief."   It made a vicariously fun journey for many of us.

And congrats on your new case!

From Tom Holzman
Posted on May 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Emily - from all of us who contributed, congratulations.  Your blogs are always such a treat for all of us.  The insights and inspiration you provide to those of us who follow your thoughts and adventures are priceless.  Enjoy the case!

Posted on May 23, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Dear Emily, what a beautiful case. I am really jealous! The co-concertmaster of my orchestra in Basel has one too by Musafia, it is so beautiful. One day, one time, I will get one too, maybe waterproof, for when Holland is under water from the melting northpole... ;-)

From Lisa Van Sickle
Posted on May 23, 2011 at 6:16 PM

One other question, Emily:  with your track record, is the case, especially the area around the bow spinners, fireproof?

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