Player Spotlight ~ Maria Benotti, baroque & modern violin

Opus 371, Gagliano violin, 1793

Opus 637, “Leduc” Guarneri Baroque Violin

“I met Doug in the 1970's when he worked for J. Bradley Taylor in Boston. Doug was someone I came to rely on for work on my instrument at that time. I received a card from him inviting me to visit his shop, then in Watertown. I went, and when I saw a violin hanging "in the white", I quipped, "I want that one!" Doug, being very serious, explained that that particular instrument was destined to be a Baroque violin. At that, I asked for a first option, and I did purchase that violin, his number 29, and play on it happily until I returned it to Doug last year as I purchased my current Baroque violin, "Leduc" Guarneri copy numbered 637. In the mid-1980's, my future husband Peter and I visited Doug in his shop at the Putney School, where Peter commissioned viola #61, and I purchased one of Doug's modern violins. I have since commissioned a copy of my 1793 Joseph Gagliano, and then acquired the second copy that was made, which I own and enjoy now, #371.

I have a long history of respectful friendship with Doug. One of the most active components of this friendship is a working together to find instruments for my students. I have found him to be a patient, kind and dedicated teacher as students explore the world of more refined and powerful instruments. They learn so much from working with him that they are able to make good choices, and I have always benefited from having my students finding beautiful responsive instruments which continue to teach them as they develop higher levels of skills. A fine instrument teaches as well as a good teacher, rewarding a student's good skills with beauty and showing where improvement is needed. The process of learning to ask and bring out the best from a fine instrument is a powerful teaching tool.

Doug continues to care for my Gagliano and the rest of our family's family of Cox instruments. I am grateful to have such a wise friend with great skills and dedication. And I always enjoy talking about farming and issues of living on the land!”

Maria Benotti, violinViolinist Maria Benotti founded Music at Eden’s Edge, the North Shore’s own resident chamber music ensemble, in 1982. As its Artistic Director, she has shaped its programs and artistic vision while performing for 30 seasons. Active in Boston’s vibrant musical scene, she is a member of the faculty of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, where she has taught violin, chamber music and Sonata Duo class since 1977, as well as having offered a course in string pedagogy in the School for Continuing Education.

Maria Benotti's Cox InstrumentsMs. Benotti has performed in recitals and chamber concerts throughout New England, including a Jordan Hall solo recital and numerous faculty recitals at New England Conservatory, the Enchanted Circle Series at Jordan Hall, the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival, the Monadnock Music Festival and the Music at Noon Series at Northeastern University. She is a founding member of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston. She appeared for years as concertmaster and chamber performer on modern violin with the St. John’s Concert Series in Beverly Farms and performed for many years on early violin with the Handel and Haydn Society. She has recorded for Friedrich von Huene and composer Howard Rovics, and she has served as a competition judge for New England Conservatory, The Boston Guitarfest, the Longy School of Music and Tufts University. She was recently named “Friend of the Arts” by the Boston Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota.

A graduate of Oberlin College and New England Conservatory of Music, Ms. Benotti studied with Eric Rosenblith, Dorothy DeLay, Masuko Ushioda and Valeria Kuchment. Her chamber music studies included such master teachers as Josef Gingold, Eric Rosenblith, Donald Weilerstein, David Wells, and Michael Schnitzler in Vienna. She studied with Günter Pichler while a special student at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria.

Ms. Benotti lives on a working farm in Essex, MA and enjoys the interplay of a well-grounded connection with the earth and the artistic demands of teaching and playing the violin.

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