Ethan Ford Heath

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About Ethan Ford Heath

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  1. Ethan Ford Heath

    Maestronet is a Wonderful Resource

    Great! Thank you very, very much. I look forward to learning lots from your drawing thread.
  2. Ethan Ford Heath

    Maestronet is a Wonderful Resource

    I don't suppose there is any way you would be willing to share the design information you put together for that Guadagnini viola, is there? Please? I am willing to beg. David Rattray told me that viola is really something, and that modern interpretations can work very well. I would not like to misrepresent his views out of ignorance, but I got the impression he prefers it to the ubiquitous violas inspired by or copies of Andrea Guarneri. I am still trying to decide what model to use for my first viola, and would really like it to be that one.
  3. Ethan Ford Heath

    25 Classical Violas

    I was thinking of Antonio Mariani, who studied with Maggini in Brescia, rather than his son Ludovico. Again, just to recognize that the community of makers in Brescia was bigger than just da Salo and Maggini. I just thought of someone else who should really be represented, as having used a particularly successful viola model: Giacomo Gennaro. I respectfully continue to disagree with your rejection of cutdown violas. As a player, I care mostly how instruments work, including size and geometry. Also, I tend to prefer Brescian-style instruments, although not exclusively. Since most of the originals are too large for most people, including me (now, sigh) at 6' 2-1/2" and middle age, the cut-down models are of great interest, if they are found through experience to work very well. I think makers sometimes, occasionally, make a fetish of Cremonese-style aesthetic purity and authenticity. For violas in particular, some of the older, beat-up, odd-looking models can work particularly well, and not just because they are old. By that logic, del Gesu violin copies by Curtin, Szygmuntovich, Hargrave, Bellin, van Baer, etc. would be rubbish until they were 200 years old, which is manifestly not the case.
  4. Ethan Ford Heath

    25 Classical Violas

    Good list. I have been wanting to write (or rather get someone actually qualified to write) this book for 30 years, but will never be able to travel around the world convincing people to let me study their instruments. So get moving, Derek! There are so many books, posters, monographs, etc. on violins, and info about great violas seems so thin on the ground. Perhaps a comprehensive book could be group-funded by obsessed viola fanatics. Get Roger Hargrave to helm it, with contributions from various other experts! Hey, I'm dreaming. It would be great if the book included not only full size photos (again, dreaming) and graduation charts, but CT arching shots and some internal photos. And why limit to an arbitrary number like 25?! It would be useful to include some noteworthy instruments by other names, e.g. Schotten's Linerol; Lawrence Power's viola would be nice to include (Antonio Brensi), and the ex-Tree and/or Bruno Giurana Busan(s). The 16-1/8" Camillus Camilli of Roberto Diaz should really be in there. And perhaps a Mariani, for Brescian historical completeism? I don't know who made it, but the principal of Philly has an old Tyrolean viola that would be interesting, and Steven Ansell, principal of BSO, has a magnificent viola if memory serves. I don't know what that one is, either: Returning to famous-name makers, cut-down Da Salos like Amihai Grosz's and the "Edwards" in the R.A.M. collection; no reason to be puritanical. They are great sounding, great playing instruments. Also the Hill-modified GB Guadangnini the "Cummings", Milan, 1757, which is a bit bigger than the ones you name, and apparently works very well indeed, at least according to David Rattray and Sean Bishop. And how about in addition to museum pieces, more instruments that are actually played by major players, like the Amatis of Kashkashian and Imai; Bashmet's Testore; the Montagnana (or whatever it is) of Tertis. The recently retired principal viola of Dallas has a Gaspar, and James Dunham's magnificent Da Salo has to be in the book. The principal of one of the Korean orchestras, currently on trial for NYPhil, has a lovely Da Salo. The ex-Trampler Amati: <> (And so on). If you want to pick a Storioni, I would suggest Martha Katz's (founding violist of Cleveland Quartet), but there is also one at Reuning for right now for example. The John Graham 18.5" Bros. Amati could be nice to include, although... If the book is to be a resource for makers, rather than just a historical document, and if there are limits to the number of instruments to be included, I would focus on instruments in the 15-7/8 to 16-7/8 range, especially 16-16.5. That's the best range for most people, IMO. Tarisio is selling a 16" Mantegazza right now: < >
  5. Ethan Ford Heath

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    Only to judge from the little slice I see at work, Yo-Yo Ma played his Moes and Moes with us, (which sounded really good), Ning Feng has played on a Greiner and a Zygmuntovich (as well as a Strad), and Sol Gabetta I *think* may have been playing her Fasser at least one of the times she played with us. Kim Kashkashian also has a Greiner, and plays it in public... according to Greiner. I suppose there are more, but we don't find out about every soloist's instrument.
  6. Ethan Ford Heath

    Factory instruments reworked, sold as new artist instruments

    You might want to have a look at these articles, regarding the Chinese "coming to Cremona": Went to Cremona in 1983. Cremona turns up in most of those mini-bios. Off the top of my head, I know of one young Chinese maker, Su Qi, currently working for Francesco Bissolotti. She is making instruments under her own name, as well.
  7. Ethan Ford Heath

    Help me choose a viola, Please!

    What? We use the C string all the time! Was that supposed to be a joke?
  8. Ethan Ford Heath

    Warped one-piece back wood

    Thank you all very much for your suggestions. Does anyone have a favourite wood-water-content tester to recommend? (And yes, I was talking about slab-cut blanks, not finished backs).
  9. Ethan Ford Heath

    Warped one-piece back wood

    I am sorry if this has been covered before, but I haven't been able to find any answers by searching. What is the best way to deal with one-piece backs that have a bit of warping going on? A local luthier suggested weighting them down until flat, but wouldn't they just warp again when you took the weight off? Or is planing the warpage away just likely to release tensions that causes new warping? Thanks in advance for any answers.
  10. Ethan Ford Heath

    Help me choose a viola, Please!

    Unless you are really tall, I suggest the smaller one. At your age, development of (particularly left hand) advanced technique and repertoire is vital, and will be more easily obtained on the smaller viola, all else being equal (although that is not a given...) Learn to get everything out of the smaller viola by experimenting carefully and methodically with the balance of bow contact point, speed, and weight, (and articulations, and artistically varied vibrato...) and your bow arm will be able to adapt to a bigger viola someday, if you choose to go that direction. I speak from experience; I played a fat 17" viola from age 13-20, and a 17-3/8" da Salo-model for the next 25 years. Looking back, I wish I had had a more standard 16 to 16-3/8" viola during my training. FWIW I am 6' 2-1/2" tall.
  11. Ethan Ford Heath

    CT Scans - Costs, Crowdfunding, etc

    And Yitzhak Schotten's Linerol viola, converted from Viola da Braccia. That would be an interesting resource for adventurous viola makers.
  12. Ethan Ford Heath

    CT Scans - Costs, Crowdfunding, etc

    How about the Ex-Michael Tree Dominicus Busan? Does anyone happen to know who is playing on it now?
  13. Ethan Ford Heath

    CT Scans - Costs, Crowdfunding, etc

    So could the plates be laser scanned to generate a 3D printer file or CNC file to be shared? I like this idea, but especially if some of the most important violas could be scanned. E.g. Amihai Grosz's Da Salo, the Primrose Andrea Guarneri, the Mahler Strad (specifically), the "Duport" Maggini, the "Edwards" Da Salo and the 1757 Guadagnini in the collection of the Royal Academy of Music in London; James Dunham's Da Salo... Just the beginnings of a wish list!
  14. Ethan Ford Heath

    reivew of 'Gone' by Min Kym, book about stolen Strad

    I don't disagree with any of the preceding comments about prodigies and soloists sometimes perhaps having a limited view of the potential of new instruments. However, it is not invariably like this. A quite well-known violin soloist and international competition winner has played with my orchestra quite a few times over the years. The first couple of times he came to us he was playing on a Greiner, and sounded great. A few years later he came back and was playing on a Strad. He sounded great. A few years later he returned, playing on a Szygmuntovich. He sounded great. In fact, although memory can be a tricky thing, I think the Szygmuntovich was my favorite... so far. I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure this individual is in a position to have the loan of something very expensive if he wanted to and found something to his liking. I can also think of two well-known cellists who have played with us in recent years on modern cellos, by Moes and Moes, and Filippo Fasser. Just an observation.
  15. Ethan Ford Heath

    Wood porn

    If you wanted to copy a viola that has quite possibly never been copied before, how about the ex-Michael Tree c. 1750 Domenicus Busan? Yes, it is 17", but there are still violists out there happy to play such things. The sound he got from it was one of my inspirations for becoming a professional violist. Or the Busan played by Bruno Giuranna; I don't know anything about that one, but would not be surprised if no one has ever copied it.