In the News
October 10, 2018
A long-time dream of Joseph Curtin and his wife Jesse Richards recently came true when their newly-installed solar system came online. With arrays on the house, garage, and studio, the 11 kW system provides sufficient power for all their electrical needs. Designed and installed by John Wakeman of SUR Energy, the system has room for expansion, including battery backup and power for a plug-in electric car.
May 24, 2018
Congratulations to Milan Milisavljević, now Principal Viola of New York’s Metropolitan Opera Orchestra! Chosen from more than fifty candidates, Milan is just the fifth person to lead the Met’s viola section since the company’s founding in 1880. He previously served as Principal Viola of the Finnish Radio Symphony and as a member of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Milan performs internationally as a soloist and a chamber musician, and is conductor and founder of Music for the People, a New York-based ensemble dedicated to a new perspective on classical music. He has played a Joseph Curtin viola since 2012.
April 26, 2017
The Dextra Musica foundation recently added a Joseph Curtin violin to its collection of Old Italian and contemporary stringed instruments. On a recent visit to Julie Reed Yeboah Fine Violins in New York City, Professor Peter Herresthal of the Oslo Academy selected a 2012 Curtin violin. Herresthal is a violin soloist renowned for his interpretations of contemporary violin compositions. He regularly works with Dextra Musica to find contemporary instruments for their collection. Dextra Musica is a subsidiary of Sparebankstiftelsen BND, which since 2006 has been acquiring valuable instruments to be loaned to Norwegian musicians. Their collection includes violins by Antonio Stradivari, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu, Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, and Carlo Bergonzi.
March 27, 2017
Joseph Curtin visited Ithaca, NY, to deliver the first “Henley ‘Non-Spherical Cow’ lecture” at Cornell University’s Department of Physics. The talk covered recent developments in the science of the violin, and Curtin’s own work with blind-testing and measuring the sound radiation of new and Old Italian violins. Curtin was hosted by particle physicist Peter Wittich. Says Curtin, “I particularly enjoyed conversations with Peter and other faculty members, and hearing a little about their incredible research on everything from elementary particles to how dragonflies fly. Anyone whose sense of wonder needs a boost should spend a day there!”
March 22, 2017
The Perimeter Institute is a world-renowned center for research in foundational theoretical physics, dedicated to understanding the universe at the most fundamental level. Founded in 1999, it is housed in spectacular premises in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Joseph Curtin visited for a day to deliver a colloquium on the science of the violin. His host was Spanish physicist Jaume Gomis, one of the founding members of the Institute. Says Curtin, “It is so inspiring to spend time in an intellectually and architecturally exciting place and see creative people of all ages and nationalities working together to better understand our universe. And they gave me a unique gift– a coffee mug with a little chalkboard on it, complete with chalk to sketch out your latest ideas!”
July 14, 2016
The JACK Quartet has a new violinist: Austin Wulliman, former member of Chicago’s Ensemble Dal Niente and founding member of the Spektral Quartet. The JACK Quartet was founded in 2007, and according to the New York Times has become “an important ensemble with a reputation for adventurousness and for championing new work.” The quartet has performed music by such composers as John Luther Adams, Caroline Shaw, Steve Reich, Matthias Pintscher and John Zorn. Wulliman, who has played a Joseph Curtin violin since 2013, says he is eager to throw himself “headlong at JACK’s upcoming projects, which will bring a sharp focus to my mission of challenging musical constraints.” Also new to the quartet is cellist Jay Cambell.
February 3, 2015 Joseph Curtin was invited by Stanford biophysicist Steven Block to give the February 3, 2015 physics colloquium. Curtin’s talk, “Can Stradivari’s Sound be Measured?” explores recent developments in the search for objective parameters for violin sound quality.
May 16, 2014
NPR’s Lisa Pollak and David Kestenbaum deliver a remarkably balanced story about Stradivari instruments, the Stradivari ‘brand,’ and recent blind tests that question some basic assumptions about violins, old and new.
October 21, 2013
A Curtin & Alf copy of the c.1731 ‘Gibson-Huberman’ Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ violin has set a new world auction record for an instrument by a living maker. Built by Joseph Curtin and Gregg T. Alf in 1985 for Ruggiero Ricci, the violin sold at Tarisio in New York for $132,000 (including buyer’s premium). Ricci was living in Ann Arbor, MI, when Curtin & Alf set up shop there in 1985. He commissioned two more violins after the ‘Huberman’ copy, one being a copy of his Lorenzo Storioni, the second based on the ‘Haddock’ Guarneri del Gesu of 1734.
January 1, 2012
Can violinists tell the difference between a Stradivari and a new violin? Which would they choose for a concert tour? Film-maker Stefan Avalos documents a remarkable study led by scientist Claudia Fritz and violin-maker Joseph Curtin.