Who is Evah Pirazzi? Mystery solved!

February 2, 2018, 12:24 PM · I always wondered about that mysterious green goddess who appears on the package of Evah Pirazzi violin, viola and cello strings. Who is she? Is her name really Evah Pirazzi? Is it actually possible that someone has a name that cool?

Evah Pirazzi

"That is a drawing my father made of my mother," said Annette Müller-Zierach, answering my long-burning question. Annette is Managing Director of Pirastro GmbH, the Germany-based string company that makes Evah Pirazzis, Obligatos, Pirastro Gold Label and much more. I met her while she was in Los Angeles for the 2018 NAMM Show.

"I don't know that it looks exactly like her..."

Her mother is Eva Pirazzi!?! I couldn't believe it. I truly felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity. I asked for a picture.

Annette and Laurie
Pirastro's Annette Müller-Zierach and Violinist.com editor Laurie Niles.

If my husband drew a picture like that and said, "This is you, my dear," I must say, I'd feel quite happy and well-adored, whether it really looked like me or not.

Eva's maiden name was Pirazzi -- her husband is Volker Müller-Zierach, and so now her name is actually Eva Müller-Zierach. Since the early '90s Eva and Volker have run Pirastro GmbH, along with their children Annette (whom I was meeting) and Henning Müller-Zierach.

Also, her name is "Eva," not "Evah." What's up with that? There are two explanations, one having to do with the family, and one a bit more market-oriented. The letters "E-V-A-H" include every member of their family: E = Eva; V = Volker; A = Annette (and also Anny, Eva's mother); H = Henning (and also Hermann, Eva's father). For marketing, the letters stand for qualities of the string: E = Extra; V = Value; A = Added; H = Hypersonic.

Eva and Volker
Left to right: Volker Müller-Zierach, with Eva seated in front of him; Annette to his side. The man in the suit on the right is Adrian Müller, Pirastro Technical Director and the inventor of the Evah Pirazzi string, as well as other Pirastro employees.

String-making has run in their blood for centuries, I discovered. Their family goes back to Giorgio Pirazzi (born in 1766), who learned the craft of string-making at age 14, apprenticing with string makers in both Naples and Rome. Giorgio founded the original string company in 1798, which is the year he established the factory in Offenbach, Germany, just south of Frankfurt, where it remains today. Around the turn of the 20th century, the company became "Pirastro" when Giorgio's grandson, Gustav Pirazzi, teamed up with Theodor Strobel, thus "Pira-Stro."

Eventually the company went from father Gustav to son, Hermann, and then in 1992 Eva and Volker took the helm, paving the way for the innovations that the company embraced in the 21st century, with the introduction of new synthetic-core string lines: Obligatos in 2000, designed to produce a warm orchestra sound; Evah Pirazzis in 2002, designed as soloist strings; and Evah Golds in 2014, designed blend the power of Evahs with the warmth of Obligatos.

It was not surprising to learn that her father, Volker, is also an artist. His art work, concepts and even handwriting appear not just on the Evah Pirazzi label but in much of Pirastro's materials - for example, on the packaging for Obligato and Violino strings.

Who knew that so much history and family lore went into the making of a violin string?


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Replies

February 2, 2018 at 10:34 PM · Congrats, this is some of the most interesting trivia to appear on the site, especially since I use their strings. I was prompted to check the Obligato packaging to more closely review Volker's art work on that brand. The EP label is more impressive than the simple Obligato red dot, but I'll stick with the warmer strings.

February 2, 2018 at 11:54 PM · What a fantastic story about a wonderful product that is so important to our lives as string players.

February 3, 2018 at 01:53 AM · This is so interesting! Thank you. I use their strings exclusively on both my violins.

February 3, 2018 at 04:13 AM · Great article!

I am a long time Evah Pirazzi string set lover. As an active violinist and private teacher, I have needed to try out many different brands and versions.

I lucked out when I was trying out my current (and beloved) violin made by Arthur Toman (RIP). It had the most vibrant tone I had ever played. Before that. They also have very high volume. Thanks for the story, and cheers to the whole family of Pirazzis and in-laws. :)

- Hana Asazuma-Cheng, in MA

February 3, 2018 at 05:24 AM · Well, I think they have a lot to be proud of. I've been using Pirastro strings since the 1950s. Not all the time on every one of my 9 instruments, but always on at least some of the strings on some of my 9 instruments. Keep up the good work!

February 3, 2018 at 12:39 PM · Very interesting article. Though I was familiar with the origins of the Pirastro brand, I was delighted to learn the identity of the model for the drawing on Evah Pirazzis, which I had assumed was from some classical Italian painting.

I'm definitely an Evah Pirazzi user—green with a gold E.

February 3, 2018 at 01:40 PM · Thank you for this article, Laurie! I have wondered this for a long time and thought until now that it was the one piece of information that the internet did not know the answer to.

February 3, 2018 at 05:49 PM · Beautiful! Thanks Laurie.

February 3, 2018 at 06:51 PM · Thanks for this interesting and informative article, Laurie! I have used Pirastro strings on my violin(s) since the 1970's and love their tone. Although Evah's are not my first choice for my current violin, they sounded pretty good on it, and they are the choice of a number of my colleagues, and at least one of my students. My current favorite string is the Pirastro Passione label - the warmth of gut but with more pitch stability. Initially pricey, but they last long enough that over the life of the string (at least 9 months with ~3-4 hours a day use), they are actually a good deal pricewise. So thanks again for this article about the Pirazzis!

February 4, 2018 at 06:59 AM · Such a neat article, thank you for writing it!

February 7, 2018 at 06:03 PM · What a cool story! Thanks. As an Obligato user on both my violin and viola, in addition to the story about the naming of strings, I am fascinated to find out who, in effect, Mr. and Mrs. Pirastro are.

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