The Indianapolis Experiment

The Indianapolis Experiment

By Joseph Curtin, The Strad, November 2012

Two years before Guadagnini’s death in 1786, King Louis XVI of France appointed a committee directed by Benjamin Franklin to investigate Franz Mesmer’s claims for the healing powers of “animal magnetism,” then being used to treat Marie Antoinette.  “Mesmerists” were asked to identify trees, flasks of water, and other objects previously ...Read more


The Violinmaker’s Dilemma : antiquing reconsidered

By Joseph Curtin, The Strad, June 2010

One morning last winter, violist Yizhak Schotten left his Francesco Linarol viola at my shop for a few days for some routine maintenance. Originally built as a Lira da Braccia, the Linarol is one of those loosely built Old Italians, where all symmetries are aproximate, and each square inch is ...Read more


Future Shock

By Erin Shrader, Strings Magazine, April 2007

‘The traditional violin became obsolete in July 2005, ‘ wrote master luthier Joseph Curtin in the opening of an article for a recent Violin Society of America (VSA) newsletter. The unlikely catalyst for that pronouncement was a rather crude-looking instrument made of balsa strips slapped together with string and tape ...Read more


Review: Friedman and Back

By Tully Potter, The Strad, November 2000

This was a red-letter day for those who know about violin playing, as Erick Friedman hardly ever comes to London and is represented in the record catalogues only by a Tchaikovsky Concerto stemming from Eastern Europe. I found much of his playing – on a Joseph Curtin violin – absolutely ...Read more


Otto Erdesz Remembered

By Joseph Curtin, The Strad, November 2000

Late one afternoon in the summer of 1975, I cycled from the restaurant where I worked to an address in Toronto’s newly fashionable Yorkville area. A beautiful woman with an Israeli accent greeted me from the top of the stairs. She told me her name was Rivka, and that  Otto ...Read more


Innovation in Violinmaking

By Joseph Curtin, Proceedings, International Symposium of Musical Acoustics (ISMA), July 1998

Abstract: The violin is a cultural icon as well as a working tool, and departures from its traditional form have been variously regarded as impossible (it would no longer be a violin), unnecessary (the violin is already perfect), and unacceptable (players would not play it). Is it possible to change, ...Read more


The Strad CDs: Liszt

By Joseph Curtin, The Strad, January 1990.

If you have never thought of Liszt in terms of the violin or viola, these two discs will open your eyes and ears. I cannot promise you great music (apart from Harold in Italy) but you will have to go a long way to hear any of this material better ...Read more


Strad Copy Sets Sotheby’s Record

By Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail, Nov. 5, 1993

A copy of a Stradivarius created by a Canadian violinmaker and his U.S. business partner set an auction record in London, England, this week for a violin made by a living artisan. The violin made by Joseph Curtin and Gregg Alf sold for £22,000 (about $42,460 Cdn.), at an auction ...Read more


Csaba Erdélyi : An Hungarian Violist Appears on the American Scene

By Joseph Curtin, The Violexchange, Volume 4

Born in Budapest in 1946, violist Csaba Erdélyi, a relative newcomer to the American musical scene, studied with Pal Lukacs, Yehudi Menuhin, and Bruno Giuranna. Now teaching at Indiana University, Erdélyi brings valuable experience gained as principal viola of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, former violist of the Chilingirian String Quartet and ...Read more