The Montana Musician Project public
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Michael Certalic is a violinist who lives in Bozeman, Montana, where he heads up the strings program at a local high school. In this podcast, he tells the story of a violin he asked a luthier to make that would contain elements of Montana, a state he dearly loves and that serves as the source of his inspiration as a musician and teacher.…
 
I interviewed James Kelly at the National Folklore Festival in 2015 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Kelly was born and grew up in Ireland and is now living in the United States. His father was the renowned fiddle and concertina player John Kelly. James talks about growing up in a musical family and how traditional Irish music moved from Ireland …
 
The interviews I conducted with musicians, luthiers, museum curators, tone wood experts and others for the Rosin the Bow project took place before the Covid 19 pandemic upended all our lives. The impact of the pandemic upon the livelihood of working musicians has been devastating and know one knows when conditions with improve for them. Well, I rec…
 
Penny Brill is an accomplished violist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She has also led an effort to bring the healing power of music to hospitals and other medical organizations in the greater Pittsburgh area. I interviewed Ms. Brill at her home in the fall of 2015. In these troubling times of the corona virus outbreak, Ms. Brill offers va…
 
Hans Johannsson is a violin maker from Iceland. David Fulton is a noted collector of old Italian violins, violas, and cellos. I met and interviewed Hans when he came to David's house in Bellevue, Washington, to examine his collection of rare instruments. It was conversation that covered many subjects related to violin making and the role the arts p…
 
Anyone familiar with what is called "old-time" music knows the name Bruce Molsky. As a fiddler, singer, and guitar and banjo player, he has helped keep traditional American folk music alive and well for the better part of fifty years. I interviewed Bruce at the Oly Old-Time Music Festival in Olympia, Washington, in 2016.…
 
Lyris is the former head of marketing for orchestral strings for the D'Addario Musical Strings Company. She is also an accomplished violinist who plays with the popular musical group Indigo Girls. She also has her own rock band named Hung. I interviewed Lyris in 2016 at the Wintergrass Music Festival in Bellevue, Washington.…
 
This is the second part of my conversation with Winifred Horan, fiddler with the Irish musical group Solas, during which she talks about her Jonathan Cooper violin and her decision to return to traditional Irish music after many years of training as a classical violinist.By Rosin the Bow with Joe McHugh
 
I interviewed Winifred Horan when she came to perform with the Irish musical group Solas at the Wintergrass Music Festival in Bellevue, Washington, in 2016. This is part one of that conversation in which she talks about her Irish-born parents, her involvement with traditional Irish dancing, and her extensive classical violin training in New York Ci…
 
In part two of my conversation with Gregg Alf, we talk about the day to day life of the violin maker, including the harvesting of tone wood, and what it takes to sell violins in today's world. We also discuss the differences between handmade violins and factory-made violins and Gregg finishes with an unusual story about an antique table and the mak…
 
In 2015, Paula and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by visiting the city of Venice. While there, we had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Gregg Alf, one of the most highly respected violin makers in the world today. Steeped in the history of the violin and possessing remarkable violin making skills, Gregg also brings to his work a s…
 
Tom Barr was one of the first people I interviewed for the Rosin the Bow project. He grew up in Grayson County in the mountains of southwestern Virginia where he now makes violins and banjos and runs a music store in the town of Galax with his son Stevie. Tom learned the art of violin making from Albert Hash who taught many violin makers in that pa…
 
Stuart Canin is one of the most respected violinists in the world today. I interviewed the 91 year old Mr. Canin at his home in Berkeley, California. Having served as concert master for the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Opera, and numerous film score composers such as John Williams and Randy Newman, Mr. Canin, with a $2 violin, also playe…
 
Chris Haddox is a fiddler, luthier, and professor of environmental studies and West Virginia University. He is also the owner of a violin made in the mountains of West Virginia the early part of the 20th century by a blind violin maker named Tommy Doolittle. Here Chris tells the story about the fiddle and his own experiences being an old-time fiddl…
 
In the spring of 2015, Paula and I visited Florence, Italy, to interview a family of violin makers. Paolo Vettori is the patriarch of the family who learned to make violins from his father Dario Vettori. Three of his grown children now also make violins with him in his shop. In this podcast I feature my conversation with Paolo and his son Dario II …
 
In 2016 I visited Greensboro, North Carolina, to interview Russian-born violinist and conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky and attend a special concert featuring Mr. Sitkovetsky and violinist Pinchas Zukerman and his wife, cellist Amanda Forsyth. He talked about his famous musical parents, his musical training in the former Soviet Union, his Stradivari vio…
 
In part 2 of my interview with Fan Tao, head of research and development for the D'Addario Musical String Company, Fan talks about how his family came to the United States from Taiwan. He also talks about the history of the D'Addario family who came to the United States from Italy at the turn of the 20th century. The interview ends with Fan giving …
 
Fan Tao is head of research and development for the D'Addario Musical Strings Company based in Farmingdale, New York. He is also past president of the Violin Society of America. I interviewed Fan at the D'Addario factory in June, 2015, to learn as much as I could about the history and technology of strings for the violin family of instruments. Here…
 
Clay Jenkinson is an acclaimed humanities scholar with a deep knowledge about the life and work of Thomas Jefferson, a paragon of the enlightenment whose many interests and passions included playing the violin. Along with offering a unique perspective on this fascinating part of Jefferson's life, Clay weighs in the cultural and political changes ta…
 
In part two of my interview with Irish fiddler Kevin Burke, we explore the relationship between the violin and the electric guitar. He also talks about how he acquired his violin and his bow, the latter a gift from his brother Noel Burke, a renowned violin maker living in Ireland who I later interviewed. He also reflects on the demands made upon th…
 
Kevin Burke has been a mainstay of the traditional Irish music scene since the early 1970s. He has performed with groups such as the Bothy Band, Patrick Street, Celtic Music Festival, and Open House. Born and raised in London, Kevin now lives in Portland, Oregon, where I interviewed him in 2017. In part one of this podcast, he talks about his eccen…
 
In 2015, Paula and I visited Cremona, Italy, the city where the great masters of violin making, Amati, Stradivari, and Guarneri, once lived and worked. Thanks to the establishment of a violin making school in Cremona in the 1930s, a hundred and fifty violin makers now call the city their home. Israeli-born Yael Rosenblum is one of the them. She is …
 
Vermont-born fiddler and songwriter Pete Sutherland has been a mainstay of the old-time music scene for many years. I first met Pete in the early 1980s when we both served on the faculty of the Augusta Heritage Program in Elkins, WV. I later caught up with him at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA, where we sat down for a ch…
 
In this second part of the conversation I had with Eric Funk, he talks about the inspiration and creative process behind his concerto A Violin Alone in which a solo violinist not only plays the part of the violin but uses his instrument to mimic all the other instruments in the orchestra. And there is more philosophy as well concerning the special …
 
While attending a wedding in Bozeman, Montana, I had the good fortune to interview Eric Funk, musician, conductor, and celebrated composer. Eric is also a professor of music at Montana State University and hosts an Emmy award-winning music and culture program for Montana Public Television.By Rosin the Bow with Joe McHugh
 
David Balakrishnan is a gifted violinist and founding member of the Turtle Island String Quartet. He is also a composer who draws upon a variety of musical traditions to create works that are both fresh and enduring. I recorded this interview at his home in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015.By Rosin the Bow with Joe McHugh
 
Aaron Allen is a professor of musicology and environmental studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In this podcast, he looks at the impact instrument making and cultural assumptions about music impact the natural world, the trees, animals, and minerals that make musical instruments possible.…
 
Eugene Friesen is a cellist who has performed as a member of the Paul Winter Consort for many years often exploring the musical possibilities of playing inside sacred spaces such as the Grand Canyon and the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine or accompanying animals such as whales and wolves. A four-time Grammy award-winner, he teaches at the Berkle…
 
Husband and wife duo Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are award-winning Canadian fiddle players. Natalie grew up on Cape Breton Island and Donnell grew up in Ontario. They have seven children and, when not out on tour, they work on their cattle ranch. I interviewed Natalie and Donnell when they came to perform at the Washington Center for the Ar…
 
Michael Cleveland was born blind but he fell in love with the violin as a young child when he heard a recording of the fiddle tune Orange Blossom Special. “I want to play that,” he told himself and, with the help of his parents and teachers at a school for the blind, that’s exactly what he did, and a whole bunch of other tunes as well. Named fiddle…
 
Fine violins and cellos are more than musical instruments; they are also visual works of art. They exist in the visual art world in other ways as well. In 2015, I visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where I was given a tour of the collection by Stephen Ackert, former curator of music, and Bruno Nasta, a jazz violinist who organiz…
 
Nadine Landry was born into a musical family in the province of Quebec in Canada. She is a member of the Foghorn Stringband and is married to the band’s fiddler, Stephen “Sammy” Lind. I interviewed Nadine when the band performed at the Oly Old-time Music Festival in Olympia, Washington, in 2015.By Rosin the Bow with Joe McHugh
 
The Rosin the Bow project got its start thanks in large part to bow maker and violin dealer and shop owner Robert Ray in Olympia, Washington. Bob’s fascination with the history of the violin and the art of bow making inspired me to go in search of stories about this remarkable family of instruments and the people who love them.…
 
Zoe Conway is a gifted young musician living in Ireland. Steeped in the traditional fiddle music of her native land, she is also an accomplished classical violinist. I interviewed Zoe while attending the Clifden Arts Festival that is held each September in a lovely seaside town in Connemara in the west of Ireland. Zoe’s performance of a composition…
 
This podcast features an interview with Bruno Crosignani, director of the office of the Paneveggio Forest that manages the harvesting of tonewood from the Val di Fiemme high up in the Italian Alps. Bruno explains in detail the process of growing, harvesting, and selecting spruce wood for the making of fine musical instruments. This is followed by a…
 
Piera Ciresa is the co-owner of the Ciresa Val di Fiemme, a tonewood company located in the small village of Tesero high up in the Italian Alps. The company provides spruce for violin instruments and piano sound boards that was harvested from the Val di Fiemme, the Valley of the Flame, where the great violin makers of old such as Stradivari, Guarna…
 
These are two of most highly regarded traditional Irish musicians performing and teaching today. Mick Moloney was born in Ireland and now lives in the United States. Along with being a singer and player of the 4-string banjo and mandolin, he holds a doctorate in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania and regularly takes groups to Ireland to e…
 
In this part 2 podcast, husband and wife luthiers Joseph Grubaugh and Sigrun Seifert talk about the importance of varnish in the making of violins and cellos. They also discuss the practice of “antiquing” newly-made instruments, how certain famous violins got their names, and how they came to own a set of chairs used in a Grammy-award-winning recor…
 
Joseph Grubaugh and Sigrun Seifert are violin makers living in Petaluma, California. They are also husband and wife and they make almost all of their instruments together. Many gifted musicians play their instruments or have them repair and adjust their instruments. They have also won numerous awards. Is that enough? Well, they also played a centra…
 
Alicia is a violinist, composer, and founding member of the Grammy- winning Klezmatics. She collaborated on musical projects with violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Kronos Quartet, playwrights Tony Kushner and Eve Ensler, the late poet Allen Ginsburg, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, among others. When it comes to the Jewish tradition of Kle…
 
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