Player Spotlight ~ Ayman Mobarak
Software Engineer, Science Geek, String Fanatic

Opus 659, “Lord Wilton” Guarneri del Gesù violin, 2009

“I reached the point where I was looking for a special instrument - one that I would build a relationship with over decades of playing. For nearly a year, I worked my way through a good fraction of the fine violins available for sale in the San Franciso Bay Area. I learned from direct experience and through my teacher's insights how to recognize an exceptional violin. In my search, I encountered three instruments that really stood apart, each of a distinct style and character. I did not know at first that they were of the same maker, but when I found out, it was clear that I had to go to Brattleboro to meet Douglas Cox.

When I got there I was delighted. Doug had a fantastic selection of instruments and was a great partner in helping me find the right one. We talked a bit about his violin making process and I was really impressed by his blend of art, science, and craftsmanship as well as his balance between tradition and experiment. Since then Opus 659 has become my good friend, one that I visit whenever I have a few moments to spare."

Ayman MobarakAyman Mobarak was fascinated with music and science as a child and never really got over it. After some early improvisational noodling on the keyboard, he took up the violin at age 9 and was inspired by Arpad Szabo, the one-man army who ran the orchestra program for the entire Yorktown Heights school district. At Horace Greeley High School, under H. Davis Knobloch he was an avid member of the orchestra, chamber orchestra, and the coffee house blues band. As a teenager, he became interested in jazz, rock, and electronica. Things got louder with a 5-string electric violin, electric guitar and bass, and he enjoyed recording and performing with his friends.

In his college years at Cornell University, a new focus emerged on Jazz music. He studied the bass guitar with Lyn Christie, took up the steel string acoustic guitar, and played in a variety of bands. His formal studies in physics and mathematics led him to a deep appreciation of acoustics, the complexity of vibrating systems, and the mathematics of audio signal processing.

After school, he moved to San Francisco where he was a founding member of the Broun Fellinis street jazz ensemble. He worked as a professional musician for 4 years then took a job as a software engineer at a semiconductor startup where he specialized in digital audio. After a family trip to Egypt, he became interested in Arabic music and studied the oud with Hamza El Din. While building his career as a software engineer, he refocused on the guitar, learned finger picking, and eventually found the courage to sing.

Ayman's most recent musical spark comes from his two sons, their outstanding teachers, and the Villa Sinfonia Orchestra directed by Roy and Lynn Oakley. Benjamin (13) studies the cello with Carol Rice, and Harrison (11) studies the violin with Omid Assadi. Ayman has come full circle and rededicated himself to classical violin studies under the direction of Mr. Assadi. All enjoy playing together at home and in the orchestra.

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