It is my sad duty to report the passing of our good friend John Connolly Jr. this past weekend. Although the average string player may not have known his name, we all owe Mr. Connolly a debt of gratitude. He was a man whose strategic vision, ingenuity, business acumen, and commitment to excellence changed the world of bowed strings. And he was not above being kind and helpful to me when I opened my shop in 1983.
He founded the Connolly Music Company in 1969 and soon after approached the Thomastik-Infeld company about distributing their products in the U.S. They had just developed the world’s first synthetic-core string called Dominant.
This little, upstart brand received mixed reviews when first introduced and John Connolly took a significant risk in backing this revolutionary change. He convinced two young Juilliard graduates to endorse the Dominant string, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zuckerman. A few years ago Mr. Perlman told me "When I found the A string wouldn't squeak in the Tschaikovsky Concerto, I was sold."
You can see John Connolly remembering the early days in this interview: https://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/john-connolly
Connolly Music, now owned by John's son Jake, is one of the last music companies left on Long Island, which once hosted many instrument importers and distributors. We are grateful for their continued commitment to our local community and the world of strings.
Rest in peace, and rise in glory, John Connolly.