There is a book on the shelf of our Great Room, called “Resonance Boxes: The Art of the Violin Case”, which features the work of over fifty Israeli artists who decorated old, discarded violin cases, made of chipped wood, worn leather, and metal. Before the modern era of Musafia cases, velvet padding, silk blankets, temperature and humidity control, GPS tracking, and suspension technology, many cases of old were simply coffin-shaped boxes stuffed with rags to prevent rattling. Yet, as the curators of “Resonance Boxes” did, I still find that there is something mysterious, strange, and whimsical about those weathered, clunky wooden boxes.
At least once a week, someone will open our creaky door with one of these cases in hand, curious about the history of a beloved’s violin that has sat in the attic, mute for decades; they want to know about its maker, quality, and above all, the story behind it. Every day, I see this intense curiosity about how, when, where, or why music is made.
I find that sharing these stories is meaningful and crucial in the process of understanding musicians, navigating the complex landscape of being a musician or student in the digital age, and creating a community of shared understanding and curiosity about the ways music makes us feel more alive. A word from Founder and Director, Charles Rufino: “The study and sharing of music has been shown to increase intelligence and enrich lives in a way no other activity can match. Our passion for music is equaled only by our desire to share it with others.”
In this refreshed version of the LIVS blog, I aim to share my thoughts on the current landscape of classical and alternative styles of string music, feature musicians and special events in the Huntington, Long Island, and greater New York City community, and generally attempt to provide some fascinating content for musicians of all levels and ages. I will seek to address the many questions I receive at work, such as, How did we acquire that funny-looking 18th-century viola? Where and why was it made? What is the life cycle of an instrument? How does wood change the instrument with the passing seasons and years? How can musicians legally travel with fine instruments while also protecting African elephants? Where can I go to learn Scottish music in New York City?
This is a quirky and magical field, full of characters, collect ors, artists, supportive parents, family members, students, professionals, educators, and above all, lovers of music. I welcome engaging and thoughtful comments, and would love to receive feedback.
A little about myself: I am a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, lifelong music-lover, classical and traditional violinist, and conveniently, Office Manager of the Long Island Violin Shop. You can reach me at Amanda@liviolinshop.com. Cheers!