Joseph Curtin, Violin-Maker

Over the past 35 years, Joseph Curtin has built violins for some of the most distinguished artists of our time, including Erick Friedman, Ilya Kaler, Cho-Liang Lin, Elmar Oliveira, Yehudi Menuhin, and Ruggiero Ricci. In 2005, Curtin was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2013, the “ex-Ricci” Curtin & Alf violin sold in auction for $132,000  a world record price for work by living makers.

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Blog

In 1704, the year that Stradivari built the violin now known as the “Betts,” Isaac Newton published his second book, Opticks. In it he explains the refraction of white light into its component colors by a prism. A century later, Keats famously lamented Newton’s explanation, which to his mind drained ...Read more

A few years ago a client of mine from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra came in for an adjustment and asked about a prototype electric violin she saw sitting on a cabinet. I told her about the Digital Violin, then went to my computer and played back a sample recording made ...Read more

Players and makers often talk about differences in tonal character between Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu violins. Here is Yehudi Menuhin on the subject: . . . my Khevenhüller Strad delivers a sweeter tone than my Soil Strad yet does not quite match the Soil’s power to ring out above ...Read more

There isn’t a shred of evidence suggesting he did.  Still, the idea comes around every few years, perhaps because it seems fitting that one of the great artists of all time created one of the most enduringly beautiful musical instrument designs. Leonardo did design a number of new instruments, and ...Read more