This instrument is featured as part of our 2023 Contemporary American Makers Exhibition and Sale
16 3/8” (416 mm) Viola 60.08/2020
My Viola was inspired by Giacomo Gennaro’s Alto Viola (about 16”; 405 mm). Gennaro was a pupil of Nicolo Amati. His forms and proportions are related to those of Amati. The outline (model) for my viola was geometrically designed, increasing the length to 416 mm and slightly modifying the proportions. I designed the shape and height of the archings, height of ribs, size and placement of the FF holes and the string length and Mensure (Stop) of about 375 mm/223 mm respectively, to blend the desired characteristics of both Cremonese and Brescian violas. My design choices aim at tailoring the tone, power/projection and playability for the modern, contemporary viola expanding repertoire and increasingly demanding playing techniques.
I have been passionate about violins for over 70 years, starting with violin lessons at the age of nine, later including three years of training at the George Enescu School of Music, Bucharest. However, with a Ph.D. degree from Yale University, Engineering & Applied Science, I embarked on a successful R&D engineering career, as I continued playing the violin in amateur community orchestras.
I made my first violin in early 1980’s, prompted by work on violin acoustics by Carleen Hutchins. A fortunate string of events brought me in contact with Ed Campbell’s Chimneys Violin Workshops, which I attended from 1989 to 1991 to learn the practical application of acoustics in violin making. My mentor and teacher, Vahakn Nigogosian (Nigo), the founder of the VSA Oberlin Workshop, invited me to join in 1992. I have attended all the 31 annual Oberlin Violin Making workshops under Nigo, and then Chris Germain, to date (2022). At these workshops I expanded my knowledge and expertise by studying and extensively test-playing a number of classical violin masterpieces, as well as by open sharing of ideas, techniques and data with my many international colleagues and friends. Thus, I learned to apply in my work the key elements of the Italian making traditions, style, character and tonal qualities.
I make violins and violas intended for professional musicians, advanced students and passionate amateur players. The tonal and artistic qualities of these instruments result from the melding of both traditional Italian violin making methods and principles, and modern day research on the acoustics of violins. My violins and a viola were awarded the Tone Silver Medal and Violin Tone Certificate at the VSA International Competitions in 2002, 2012 and 2022, respectively. My instruments have also been awarded a number of trophies, medals and certificates at the VMAAI Competitions.
My ASR Violin Studio is in Kingwood (i.e., Houston, Texas)