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Found 4 results

  1. Every year, for the last 6 years or so (one 'Rona cancellation) Metzler's in Glendale has presented 3 nights of Tonal comparisons of American (North and South American, i.e., New World instruments) played by some of the best professionals in the LA area. Though the Violas were third in order, behind Cellos and Violins - all on different nights, they are the easiest to describe, perhaps because tonal distinctions were somewhat evident. This year, the violas were played by someone new to Metzler's: A new professor of viola at the UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, award-winning violist Che-Yen Chen who is a founding member of the Formosa Quartet and First-Prize winner of the 2006 London International String Quartet Competition. He was awarded the First-Prize in the 2003 Primrose International Viola Competition. There were bows, too, played on all three of the nights, but for me the different bow sounds are very hard to distinguish from labout one minute of playing, though I always had a favorite or two, and of course, much also depends on the player and the instrument. One archetier of note: David Samuels submitted bows for cello, violin, and viola, and though the most expensive ("overpriced"), I thought his bows were consistently some of the best. In general, I thought the varnishing was largely better than the violins as a group, and the workmanship was generally good. There were only two violas I thought did not sound good. There were 2 or 3 exceptional samples, and the rest, though perhaps not as outstanding, were good, and some represented a bargain at the list price, IMHO. The pricing generally was less than prior years; though two were 40K plus, the others mostly ranged between $9,000. and $24,000. Professionally recorded streams should be up in a few days, courtesy of Metzler's, and I believe the facebook stream is now live for all 3 evenings. I will also try to post my videos later, but it's a lot of GBs, and I don't have a good editing suite. In terms of tonal comparisons, with 15 violas, versus the 35 violins, I was mostly able to concentrate and keep the samples separate in my mind and my notes. My favorites were by Grubaugh & Seifert, Theodore Skreko, and just a hair behind, Bill Scott and Helmut Keller (and son). Others that sounded good (to my ears): Frederik Bethke, Douglas Cox, Stephen Lohmann, and Christopher White. Some samples had a slightly different tone from my favorites, or I had trouble distinguishing in the short music sample time (2 minutes for violas), but overall were to my ears better than the ones not mentioned, were by: J. Michael Fischer, Jeffrey Robinson, and Sofia Vettori. Note that I don't play viola, and my seat was very near the front, a few feet to the side. Uniquely, Sofia provided a photographic book which shows pictures of that viola's construction. Below are three or so views of each of the 15 violas, along with the Bio, which I captured only to keep straight which viola is made by what maker. I put each maker's bio before that maker's instrument.
  2. Hello, first time poster here! To the best of my knowledge, my first 4/4 violin was made by a luthier named Diederik A Van Hamel. I know he made a few other instruments, mostly violins but some violas as well. I remember seeing a few throughout high school, but I am curious to know who else has one or has seen one. The defining characteristic is an upside down tulip just below the back button. I used to have more information regarding his instruments, but seeing as that was nearly 15 years ago and I was a teenager, I didn't really care about such things. Does anyone recognize/know anything about this maker/these instruments? Thanks! Excerpt from WikiTree: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Van_Hamel-24 Photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmNAnesF
  3. Is there a resource with the help of which one could determine what high-end violas passed through the Hills shop? I am trying to identify possible models for a Craske I am copying. Since he was an established copyist himself and had a close relationship with the shop, perhaps he used an instrument they had on hand as the model for the instrument I am copying. If I can identify candidates, then I can see what information on them is available in the public realm. I know, I know. "Why?" Indulge my obsessiveness, please. Thanks in advance --- for the indulgence AND any leads.
  4. Hi there, Is there perhaps a general rule regarding different viola shapes and sizes, and how that impacts the sound? There are 3 violas that I'm currently looking at, all different shape, and size. I'll attach the pictures. I'm specifically interested in the Double Bass shaped viola. Does anyone know how this shape changes the sound from the normal shaped violas? Thank you. In order, these are 16.25, 16.5 and 16.5inches
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