Player Spotlight ~ Bob McGuigan ~ Violinist, Violist, Mathematics Professor

Viola Opus 154, Own Style after Maggini, 1989

Violin Opus 557, copy of Stradivari's 1693 “Harrison” violin, 2005

Bob McGuigan with his Cox Violin and Viola“My Cox instruments are so rewarding to play. I've had many compliments on their sound and appearance.  I'm constantly finding inspiring new things I'm able to do and relishing how I'm growing as a musician through their use. They are also beautiful objects in themselves and I often find myself admiring the carving or the varnish during long rests.”Opus 557, "Harrison" Strad

Bob is an amateur violinist and violist.  He is a (semi) retired mathematics professor, having taught for over 40 years in the Massachusetts public higher education system.  His life as a musician started with violin lessons at age nine with the Chicago-area violin pedagogue Samuel Barbakoff.  He quit at age 13 for reasons now unknown, but came back to playing 30 years later.  In 1992, at age 50, having experienced the joy of playing chamber music and wanting to expand his opportunities, he decided to  give himself a viola as a birthday present.  A conversation with James Buswell at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival sent him to Doug Cox with the result that Bob became the proud owner of a Cox viola, Opus 154, a 16.5” personal model inspired by Maggini.  When Bob reached age 65, retired from full time teaching, he fulfilled a dream and acquired  a Cox violin, Opus 557, a copy of the 1693 “Harrison” Stradivarius violin. 

Bob is very active in the amateur music scene in the Connecticut Valley.  He plays regularly in the Friends of Music at Guilford Labor Day Festival Orchestra, is a 20 year veteran member of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, currently in the viola section, and was for many years in the Valley Light Opera Orchestra in Amherst.   He plays violin or viola in three different string quartets and is a  frequent participant in the annual string quartet conference led by the Manhattan String Quartet at Colgate University.

Bob lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts with his wife, the pianist Julia Bady, who writes:

My husband purchased a violin from Doug Cox 3 years ago. Thank you, Doug! Bob has been practicing more than ever before and my ears and heart are happy. This instrument inspires Bob to play more because it gives so much back. I have been enjoying it's beautiful and vibrant tone. And it gives me great pleasure to hear my husband joyfully making music.

Julia Bady,
concert pianist
Certified Taubman Instructor and Adjunct Faculty member of the Golandsky Piano Institute

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