Ute Zahn ~ Violin Maker
Come to Quinn Violins and listen to, look at, or try out our locally-made, contemporary instruments and bows! Get to know your local luthiers, watch them in action and ask them questions! Have a refreshment or two (rumour has it there will be violin-themed cookies!). All musicians of any age or level are welcome!
Minneapolis luthier Frederik Bethke, bow maker Jesse Berndt, and myself recently cooked up the idea of showcasing our vibrant Twin Cities lutherie scene by hosting an exhibition of local violin and bow makers. Twelve Twin Cities makers will show their work at Quinn Violins.
All musicians are cordially invited to join us for an opening reception and concert on Friday, March 29th, 5pm-8pm; for tone and instrument making demonstrations on Saturday, March 30th from 10am-4pm, and for seminars and demonstrations on Sunday, March 31st, 12-4pm.
All instruments and bows will be available to be auditioned at Quinn Violins from April 2nd through 4th, and with individual makers subsequently.
I am very excited to see that my former colleague, Laura Vick Alaghbash, and her husband Fakhri, have launched their new enterprise making high-end fittings. Laura is a meticulous, experienced and highly skilled craftswoman. All the wood they are using is carefully sourced to ensure it comes from sustainable sources.
To start with, Laura and Fakhri have focused on making chinrests, but they will develop a line of pegs, end buttons, and tailpieces, too. Can't wait!!
First-time orders get 30% off. Go to www.alaghbashworkshop.com to find out more.
Another one of my creations goes on a trip -- I'll be accompanying my latest viola to New York, where we'll take part in the American Federation of Violin And Bow Makers' "Players meet Makers" event. Lincoln Center, here we come! I'm also looking forward to all other related events, such as a visit to the D'Addario string factory, and some (no doubt enlightening) talks on latest research into violin making and restoration.
I've embarked on a new adventure: Mould-less violin making. Most instruments are built around a form, or mould, which helps to accurately re-create the outline of a model you might be copying, or achieve something approaching predictable symmetry in the instrument design of your choice. My usual process, too, would involve using a drawing as a starting point to make some templates, from which I would make a mould. This time, I decided to skip the mould making and build the ribs directly on to the backs of the instruments.
Even though I pride myself somewhat on my rib bending skills, I found out immediately that the wood has ideas of its own. Newsflash: The wood won! A day after I had lovingly bent my ribs hewing closely to the pre-drawn lines, and glued them to the blocks, I came into the studio to find the outline magically changed.
The challenge now is to come up with an instrument which follows classical lines and looks harmonious, if not exactly as I planned ... Watch this space!
Stop by the studio any time between Monday and Thanksgiving and avail yourself of the special Fall Care Package for your instrument (to get it in shape for all your holiday gigs!). Get your fingerboard dressed and a new bridge and soundpost fitted and save 25%. (Higher savings if you are a cellist ...)
I am delighting the neighbourhood with my summer ritual: varnish cooking. What with six to seven months of winter and the summers generally dedicated to thunderstorms verging on tornadoes, there isn't much of a window. But I caught three clear days in a row, and now everyone around me gets to enjoy the smell of boiling rosin. Season's greetings!
We are trying to help our Trinidadian students come to the US this summer, where they have been offered the great opportunity to do two successive internships at Huthmaker Violins and Potters Violins respectively. Please consider helping them out with a small donation!