This instrument is part of our fourth annual Contemporary American Makers Exhibition.
Alkis Rappas has been passionate about violins for over 60 years. He started taking private violin lessons at the age of nine. Soon after, he received formal violin training at the George Enescu School of Music, Bucharest for three years with Mircea Vasilescu, a student of George Enescu.
Alkis completed his undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering at the Bucharest and the Athens Polytechnic Universities. After receiving his PhD from Yale University in Engineering and Applied Science, Alkis embarked on a successful career as an R&D engineer and inventor for the next 40 years.
Alkis established his parallel violin making career in early 1980’s, being prompted and excited by the work on the acoustics of violins by Carleen Hutchins. Early on he attended several of Ed Campbell’s Chimneys Violin Workshops to learn the practical applications of acoustic research in violin making. The late Vahakn Nigogosian (Nigo), the founder of the Violin Restoration workshop at Oberlin invited Alkis to join these workshops in 1992. Nigo became his mentor and teacher. After Nigo’s passing, Alkis continued his uninterrupted participation in all the annual Oberlin Violin Making workshops under Chris Germain’s new vision and direction for these workshops. For the last 28 years at Oberlin, Alkis expanded his knowledge and expertise by studying and extensively test-playing a number of classical violin masterpieces, as well as by open sharing of ideas, experiences, techniques and data with his many workshop colleagues and friends, which include some of the best makers worldwide. Thus, Alkis learned to appreciate and apply in his own making the key elements of the Italian making traditions, style, character and tonal qualities.
Alkis makes 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. His violin and a viola were awarded the VSA Silver Medal Tone in 2002 and 2012, respectively. His violas and violins have also been awarded a number of trophies, medals and certificates of merit at the VMAAI Competitions.
Alkis S. Rappas is a member of the Violin Society of America (VSA), and past member of the Catgut Acoustical Society. He is also a member of the Violin Makers Association of Arizona International (VMAAI) where he also served as a judge and on their Board of Directors in the late 1990s. His ASR Violin Studio is in Kingwood (i.e., Houston) Texas.