Maria Benotti, baroque and modern violin

Violin 371, Gagliano, 1793 and Baroque Violin 637 “Leduc” Guarneri

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 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. 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.  — Maria Benotti

Violinist 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.

Ms.  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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Maria Benotti

Maria Benotti

John Bergin, violin

Opus #551, “Koff” Vuillaume ~ 2006

John Bergin plays on Cox violin #551, patterned after a  violin by J. B. Vuillaume which was in turn a copy of a violin by  Joseph Guarneri "del Gesù", formerly owned and played by Robert Koff.

John  is the youngest of 5 in a family that appreciates music.  His dad is a  violist and a microtonal composer, his mom a pianist. John started  Suzuki lessons at age 5 on a 1/10 size violin.

John plays in both  NEC's Youth Repertory Orchestra and the  Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. He went to Interlochen Arts Camp for 5  summers, studying violin and playing in the orchestras and chamber  groups. In 2010 he went to England on tour with the BYSO. 

John is on a local swim team, swimming breaststroke and  butterfly. He is teaching himself guitar and has sung with friends in  local acoustic performances as well as in youth group at church. He is a  Boy Scout, working on badges to get ready to go for his Eagle Scout  rank.    

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John Bergin

John Bergin

Lucy Bignall, violin

Opus 258, “Ginn” Stradivarius, 1994

I'm always very proud of my Cox violin which I call Pippin, partly for obvious reasons, and partly because it has a golden, crunchy, juicy sound like the apple. I am still loving  this violin you made.

I was born in Zambia to British parents and raised in Africa and the  Middle East, where I was self-taught on the violin. At the age of  eighteen I gained a place at the Royal College of Music and so returned  to England, where I was fortunate enough to study with John Ludlow  (violin) and Andrew Manze (baroque violin), both of whom were incredibly  inspiring teachers. Though it is now sixteen years since I graduated, I  still feel I am learning from what they both taught me.

In my final year at college I took a trip to the US as part of a  Morris Dancing tour and it was there that I was introduced to Doug Cox.  He had three violins for sale in his studio at the time and I tried them  all and fell  in love with one in particular - a copy of Stradivarius'  Ginn violin. Doug very kindly allowed me to take it back to England to  show to my teacher and I bought it forthwith and have never regretted it  for a minute!

In 2000 I emigrated to Australia with my husband and baby to live  in Brisbane. I'm afraid the violin - which I christened “Pippin”  because of it's beautiful orange-golden sound - and because it is a Cox  - remained in its case for a few years while I concentrated on my  family and settling into a new country. When my three children began to  get older and less demanding I started playing again and I now freelance  here in Brisbane. I get to play a huge variety of music and feel very  lucky. 

I  play regularly with the Queensland Pops orchestra, which might mean  anything from performing Gilbert and Sullivan with Opera Australia to  performing in the City Botanical Garden with Australia's biggest pop and  country stars and live tiger cubs! I have also done a bit of casual  work with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, playing for the Paris Opera  Ballet and the Nacional Ballet de Cuba. In May, I did a short tour of  outback Victoria with my piano trio, Wine and Olives, (Delena  Gaffney, piano; Lucy Bignall, violin and Chris Patrick, cello). It was  an amazing experience, playing in village halls and a lovely old  Bishop's Lodge which looked like an old English manor house - but was  made from pressed tin. I am also concertmaster of a community orchestra  which is great fun - we have people as young as fourteen and as old as  eighty, from all walks of life - students, army musicians,  ex-professionals, doctors, lawyers and a  Supreme Court Judge!

When not playing Pippin, I get to do my most important job, being  mother/cook/chauffeur. I am also trying to break into the world of the  published author, with two books and numerous short stories. Am planning  a book about the world of string quartet “gigging,” which should be  fun!

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Lucy Bignall, with "Pippin"

Lucy Bignall, with "Pippin"

Celeste Carruth, Violinist & Physicist

Opus 745, "Laredo" 1723 Montagnana, 2011

I met Douglas Cox and my first Cox violin back in 2006  while on a family trip to the east coast. It was a great instrument and I  thought I might keep it for the rest of my life, but in March 2013, I  happened to be visiting Boston on the same day as Doug's monthly trip,  and made arrangements to try out some of his newer instruments. I wasn't  really in the market for a new violin, especially since I was heading  to graduate school in physics, but as soon as I played a few notes on  Opus 745, a copy of Jamie Laredo's Montagnana, I immediately knew I  wanted it to be a part of my life. 

Thanks to Doug for being flexible for a few months  while I figured out how to pay for it, The Montagnana has a clear, big, and bright sound  and is even easier to play than my first, a Strad model. It inspires me  to practice harder and play more beautifully since I can tell its  capabilities are far above my own. I'm  excited about the music  I'll be able to make with it over the next several years, and am  grateful for the profound influence my Cox violins have had on my  musical development.  — Celeste Carruth

Celeste Carruth began studying violin at the age of five, and  recently graduated with degrees in physics and violin performance from  the University of Michigan. Although her childhood dream was to become a  professional violinist, she is now a physics PhD student at the  University of California Berkeley and aspires to work on physics  research during the day and make music in her free time.

As a high school student, Celeste studied with Gerald Elias for a  few years but then moved from Utah to Boston to study with Marylou  Churchill and participate in New England Conservatory's preparatory  division, where she also studied chamber music and composition and was a  member of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. She has spent summers  studying music at the Heifetz International Music Festival, the Eastern  Music Festival, and the Chautauqua Institution, where she performed as  principal second and concertmaster of the Music School Festival  Orchestra.  

As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, she performed  in the University Symphony Orchestra and also held positions in the  Dearborn Symphony and the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, and performed in  the premier of a new musical, "Placebo." Her undergraduate  physics research was based on the K0TO experiment, a high energy  particle physics experiment, which gave her the opportunity to spend two  summers working at a proton accelerator in Japan. In addition to  teaching physics, taking physics classes, and working on ALPHA, an  antihydrogen experiment located at CERN, Celeste also enjoys playing in  UC Berkeley's Symphony Orchestra and studying composition.  

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Celeste Carruth, busking in San Francisco. Photo by Ayman Mobarak

Celeste Carruth, busking in San Francisco. Photo by Ayman Mobarak

Helen Chesworth, Chemical Engineer, Chamber Musician

Opus 405, “Leduc” Guarneri del Gesù, 1999

I like the clarity of sound and the tone it produces. Buying the violin  inspired me to take my playing to the next level and I started taking  lessons again. -- Helen Chesworth

I started learning piano when I was maybe 4 or 5 and shortly  afterwards I started learning violin. My parents encouraged us (my  brother is also musical) in music and started taking us to orchestra  concerts at an early age. 

I always said I wanted to play the violin, although I no longer  remember why. My great-grandfather was an amateur violinist so maybe  it's in the genes!!

I have been a member of Holyoke Civic Symphony Orchestra since I moved to Western MA in 2000. I heard about  The Chamber Music Network (ACMP)  when I moved to the area and contacted some names in the directory — at  which point my love of chamber music started! I  play in a regular  quartet and  with other ad hoc groups at every opportunity, and also  participate in several workshops during the year. I also play viola with  Old Post Road Orchestra in my town of Wilbraham, MA.

I am a Chemical Engineer by training and work for a chemical  company called Solutia (we make the interlayer that goes into car  windshields to stop them shattering). In 2006, as Continuous Improvement  Team Leader for the site I performed a key role in a project to improve  the cost position and culture for the site. For this I was awarded the  Chairman's Operational Excellence Award which was presented by the CEO.  This award was some money to purchase a new violin! I contacted Stacey Styles, a violin restoration expert based near me, and she suggested I contact Doug. I guess the rest is history!

 I moved to the US for my job. I grew up in a town called  Wrexham in North Wales and was very fortunate to be exposed to a large  amount of music, particularly Youth Orchestras. My high point was  playing in the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. I have 2 cats and  practice Ashtanga Yoga. 

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Bob McGuigan, Helen Chesworth, Gennifer Sussman and Arnold Mazie, with their five Cox instruments

Bob McGuigan, Helen Chesworth, Gennifer Sussman and Arnold Mazie, with their five Cox instruments

Abina Cohen, violin

Opus 778, Gaspar da Salò, 2012

When I decided to major in music I decided that it was time to start  looking at instruments again. I already had tremendous faith in Doug Cox's instruments and made my way to his workshop in Vermont to try some  new ones. Finding Violin Opus #778 was like finding a wand in the world  of Harry Potter. I knew immediately by the feel and beautiful tone that  I wanted to continue my studies on this instrument.  — Abina Cohen

Abina Cohen has been playing the violin since age 8. She started in Burlington, Vermont studying with Laura Markowitz and playing in the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association.  She moved to Massachusetts at age 13 and studied under Jennifer Sterling and Sophie Vilker at New England Conservatory in Boston.


Abina was a student at Project STEP  whose mission is to identify and train minority students who did not have ready access to the best available training. While in Project STEP  she played a master class with Mark O'Connor, the Inauguration of  Massachusetts governor Duval Patrick and the 5th and 6th annual Martin  Luther King, Jr. concert featuring guest artist Cindy Blackman-Santana  and which was broadcasted nationally on Channel 5.

Abina studies Music and Spanish at Lake Forest College.

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Abina Cohen, violin

Abina Cohen, violin

Karen Ximena Cueva, violin

Opus #598, "Leduc" Guarneri "del Gesù"

Violinist Karen Ximena Cueva graduated from Walnut Hill School for  the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts, where she was a student of Dr. James  Buswell at New England Conservatory's Preparatory School. She was a  member of the NEC Youth Philharmonic Orchestra under Maestro Benjamin  Zander. 

Studying violin from age four, she has won competitions and  awards, including a Certificate Commendation from the US Marine Corps  for her service of musical contribution to the veterans of the armed  forces at the Navy Hospital and Veterans Medical Center, and for  devoting her extra time to the senior citizens of the Fairfax County  community in Virginia.

In 2006, Karen was accepted as a member of the National Symphony  Orchestra's Youth Fellowship Program where she studied under NSO  violinist Linda Schroeder. During the summers of 2007 and 2008, Karen  attended the National Symphony Orchestra's Summer Music Institute on  full scholarship. Karen has been a member of the American Youth  Philharmonic, the Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra and NSO's Youth  Orchestra. She has studied with Dr. James Buswell, Peter Zazofsky, Linda  Schroeder and Leonid Sushansky, among others.

Karen has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts,  the Millennium Stage, the Strathmore Center for the Arts, the D.A.R.  Constitution Hall, Jordan Hall, Carnegie Hall and before the U.S.  Congress on Capital Hill under the direction of Maestros Benjamin  Zander, Emil de Cou, Elizabeth Schulz and Norman Scribner.

In 2009, Karen became a recipient of the Jack Kent Cook Young  Artist Award, one of the largest and most competitive scholarship  programs for young musicians in the nation. She joined the Boston Crew,  the newest From The Top's reach out program, connecting with new  audiences and visiting inner-city schools in Boston. She continues her  studies at The Juilliard School, where she is working toward a degree in  Violin Performance.

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Karen Ximena Cueva, violin

Karen Ximena Cueva, violin

Brendon Elliott, violin

Opus 731, “Rosenblith” 1713 Strad, 2011

 I am honored to be play on an instrument which sings the brightest of passages, and also the darker timbres, with ease. More colors are simply waiting to be discovered. -- Brendon Elliott

Brendon Elliott has been described as an accomplished performer who “plays with substantial sound and a lovely feeling of warmth, with a not especially youthful self-possession” (The Richmond Times Dispatch). A Virginia Native, he attends the Curtis Institute of Music where he studies with Pamela Frank and Joseph Silverstein. He began his violin studies under his mother’s tutelage at the age of three.

Brendon made his debut as a soloist when he was 10 years old, performing a concerto with the Hampton University Orchestra. Since then, he has been a soloist with several professional and community orchestras such as The York River Symphony Orchestra, The Peninsula Youth Orchestra, The Richmond Symphony Orchestra, The Symphony of the Mountains, the Hampton University Orchestra, and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

At the age of thirteen, Brendon appeared on From the Top on NPR, a nationally syndicated radio broadcast featuring America’s talented young musicians. His’s stunning performance of William Grant Still's Mother and Child was broadcast on WMRA radio. He has also enjoyed the honor of performing the National Anthem for a Washington Nationals Baseball game in the summer of 2011 and 2012. During the 2011/2012 season, he was a guest soloist with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra for five special Young Peoples Concerts, “Songs for a Dreamer” concert, and an 9/11 Memorial Concert. As a three-time concerto competition winner, Brendon was also a guest soloist with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra on their masterworks series in April 2012, and he will tour with the Virginia Symphony in 2014 performing the Hailstork Violin Concerto.

Brendon’s orchestral experience includes serving as concertmaster of the Peninsula Youth Orchestra for six consecutive years. He also served as concertmaster for Virginia's Southeastern Regional Orchestra in 2010 and 2008, and concertmaster for the 2011 Virginia All State Orchestra.

The Elliott Family String QuartetAs a three-time National Sphinx Competition semi-finalist, Brendon earned the National Sphinx Competition Achievement Award in 2012. He was a Finalist in the 2011 American String Teacher’s Association National Solo Competition. He has earned scholarships to several summer institutes including The Eastern Music Festival, The Aspen Music Festival, and The Heifetz International Music Institute.

Brendon's family is also very musical; he is the first violinist in his family's ensemble, The Elliott Family String Quartet, which includes his mother Dannielle Weems-Elliott (viola), and his brother and sister, Sterling (cello) and Justine (violin).

Brendon plays on violin Opus 731, made by Douglas Cox, violin maker in Brattleborro, Vermont, through a Sphinx Music Organization loan.

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Brendon Elliott

Brendon Elliott

Sue Engle ~ Violinist, Teacher, Dog Lover

Opus 623, Gaspar da Salò, 2008

I play on Cox violin #623, patterned after the work of Gasparo da Salò  around the year 1580.  'Gaspar' is an amazing instrument!  I am  fascinated every day with its powerful, yet expressive dark tone.  I  never tire of exploring the many colors  this violin unlocks. -- Sue Engle

Growing up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Sue began her musical  studies at age five - first  piano and later clarinet and organ.  Over  the years she has performed in countless musical groups and has been  fascinated by how music is put together.  She attained a Master's degree  from Indiana University, where she focused on theory, composition and  piano.  Further studies in Hungary in solfege and music education led to  her career as a Kodaly specialist.  Working with all ages from nursery  school through graduate level college, she taught music for 33 years.   Her classes were among those featured in the Ford Foundation film,  "Music Lessons."    Most recently she taught theory and music education  at Hartt School of Music, Hartford, CT., and instrumental/vocal music in  West Hartford Public Schools, CT., where she was named Teacher of the  Year.

Though Sue had longed from childhood to study violin, she was not  able to begin that dream until she was 32 years old.  Since retiring to  Vermont in 2001, she has studied with both Peggy Spencer and Kathy  Andrew at the Brattleboro Music Center.  Recent pieces have included the  Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Monti Csardas,  Beethoven "Spring" Sonata,  Bartok Sonatina, Bach E-Major Concerto and Bach Solo Sonata No. 1.  She  also plays in the Windham Orchestra and does summer chamber music.   With Peggy Spencer, Sue  co-authored and published transcriptions for  string instruments from Bach's keyboard music -  Duets for Two Violins  (or Two Violas or Two Cellos), available through

Sue's other passion in life are her dogs.  With Larkspur, a  Boxer-Mastiff mix, and Magic, a Ridgeback-Lab mix,  she has taken  classes in Obedience, Rally, Agility, Tracking and Free Style (dog  dancing).  She  shows Magic in American Kennel Club rally trials.  In  the summer Sue spends time on Cape Cod, MA, walking and swimming with  the dogs, biking, kayaking or exploring book stores and antique shops.   She also enjoys photography and is looking forward to making movies with  her new camcorder.

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Sue Engle with Larkspur and Magic at home in Vermont

Sue Engle with Larkspur and Magic at home in Vermont

Heather Ensley ~ Violinist, Teacher

Opus 585, Golden Period Strad, 2007

I have loved the sound of my violin from the first bow stroke. The  quality of its tone and craftsmanship are exceptional by any standard.  My violin is my most prized possession, my trusted friend, and my  constant companion. I am very proud to own it. -- Heather Ensley

Heather Ensley, a New England native, is currently pursuing a Master  of Music in Performance and Literature at Brandon University where she  studies with Kerry DuWors. Heather has held Graduate Teaching  Assitantships in music theory and aural skills at BU and serves as  concertmaster of the Brandon University Symphony Orchestra. Heather  earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Canadian University College as a  student of Naomi Delafield and Jennifer Penner, and was privileged to  tour throughout the U.S. and Canada as concertmaster and soloist with  the Canadian University College Chamber Orchestra.

Other mentors include Andrea Neumann, Liesl Schoenberger, Mimi Bravar, and Robert Eschbach.

An avid performer, Heather has presented a number of solo recitals  and performances, and enjoys playing chamber music and participating in  music festivals.

Heather is a passionate music educator and maintains a busy violin  studio in her home. She has studied violin pedagogy with Naomi Delafield  and Kerry DuWors, and has participated in pedagogy workshops given by  renowned pedagogues such as Laurie Hill, Rebecca Henry, and Elayne Ras.  Heather continues to develop her craft by attending pedagogy workshops  on a yearly basis.

Along with her musical interests, Heather enjoys hiking and camping  in the Canadian Rockies, literature, and vegetarian cooking. She resides  in Alberta with her husband Josh, a cellist, and their two cats.

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Heather Ensley, © Josh Flynn

Heather Ensley, © Josh Flynn

Arturo Estrella, Economist, mathematician, philosopher

Opus 630, “Leduc” Guarneri del Gesù, 2009

ὸ δὲ κινούμενον κινουμένῳ γινώσκεσθαι -- Ἡράκλειτος
The moving world can only be known by what is in motion – Heraclitus

Arturo is  a member of the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra  (violin, viola), the Siena Chamber Orchestra (principal viola), and the  Siena Community String Quartet (violin, viola). He has also played with  the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra  (double bass, violin, viola) and the String Ensemble of Rockland  (violin). He studied violin with Guillermo Figueroa-Sanabia, violin and  viola with Barbara Long, and double bass with Linda McKnight. As an  undergraduate philosophy major, he took the music theory curriculum at  Columbia University.

Born  in Puerto Rico, Arturo holds advanced degrees in Mathematics, Applied  Mathematics, and Economics from University of Puerto Rico, University of  Michigan and Harvard University. He makes his home in Troy, New York,  where he is Professor of Economics and Head of the Economics Department  at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

Arturo has published extensively in various fields within  economics, including macroeconomic theory, empirical macroeconomics,  monetary policy, financial regulation, econometric theory, applied  econometrics, and financial markets, instruments, and institutions. In  1988-89, he developed (with Gikas Hardouvelis) a probit model of the  probability of a future recession. Since then, the model has correctly  forecasted the last three U.S. recessions in real time with a lead time  of about one year and no false positives.

He has also written extensively about financial regulation,  proposing in 1995 an innovative system for bank capital regulation that  has the potential to prevent systemic problems arising from the failure  of large financial institutions. From 1991 to 2001, he represented the  Federal Reserve Bank of New York in international negotiations on bank  regulation under the auspices of the Basel Committee on Banking  Supervision.

In econometrics, Arturo derived a pseudo R-squared for  dichotomous dependent variable models that outperforms other  alternatives, including the classic McFadden measure. The measure has  become part of the standard output in many widely-used econometric  packages. He has also provided exact critical and probability values for  use in time-series breakpoint tests in connection with generalized  method of moments estimates.

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Arturo Estrella

Arturo Estrella

Susan Faux, violin

Opus 607, “Doyen” Guarneri del Gesù, 2008

I had a modern Italian violin for several years and  it was so fussy... like a fancy car or a thoroughbred... it needed to be  adjusted about every 5 weeks. It was incredibly loud, but not in a good  way, and was becoming a huge problem  — I did not enjoy playing or  practicing, and I was having to make constant trips to the luthier for  adjustments. 

I had known a lot of people with Cox violins over the years,  from Hartt,  NEC and Yellow Barn, and really liked the instruments. They  are easy and enjoyable to play on and have an even and warm tone. When I  contacted Doug about trying instruments, he asked what kind of playing I  do, as well as what size instrument I wanted…a good question since I  have big hands but a short 4th finger.

When I had narrowed down the options to the violin I would  eventually end up buying, I played it for a few friends and they tried  it as well. In unison, they all said, “so, what are you waiting for? -- Sue Faux

Violinist  Susan Faux received a BM from Hartt School of Music and a MM from New  England Conservatory. She has studied with Eric Rosenblith, Ben Sayevich  and Charles Treger and chamber music with members of the Emerson  Quartet.

Sue has performed with the Boston Pops Espalanade Orchestra, the  Albany, Vermont, Nashua, Newfoundland, Greenville, SC, Portland, ME,  Richmond, Jacksonville and Springfield, MA symphony orchestras as well  as Rhode Island Philharmonic, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Ballet  Florida, the Chamber Orchestra of the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum,  Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theater, New England String  Orchestra, Orchestra of Indian Hill, Mendelssohn Players of Berlin,  Germany, and Boston Philharmonic. She is also a member of the Sarasota  Opera and plays frequently in the National Lyric and Boston Lyric  Operas.

Ms Faux has participated in numerous summer festivals including  New Hampshire Music Festival, Bellingham, Washington; Aspen;  Hampden-Sydney,  Virginia; the Conductor's Institute at Hartt and Musik  Festival Davos, Switzerland.  She is also a member of the orchestra for  the North American tour of “Star Wars in Concert.”

Sue is a former member of the faculty of the Community Music  Schools of Manchester and Concord, New Hampshire, and Winchester  Massachusetts, as well as the coaching staff of Boston Youth Symphony  Orchestras and New England Conservatory Preparatory Division.

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Susan Faux, photo © Susan Wilson

Susan Faux, photo © Susan Wilson

Lisa Ferrigno, Brevard Symphony and Disney World Orchestras

Opus 707, “Leduc” Guarneri del Gesù, 2010

When I first tried Opus 707, "Leduc" Guarneri del Gesù, I was struck not  only by its rich, silvery tone but by how it just felt right for me.  Its size, weight, and tactile smoothness make it a perfect fit for me,  but more importantly, it responds instantly and beautifully to the touch  of my bow. I never have to struggle to make a gorgeous sound on this  violin. I've been playing it for over a year, and every day it becomes  more open and more lush. I'm always happy to open my case and see it  waiting for me, my new partner in music! -- Lisa Ferrigno

Lisa Ferrigno doesn't remember a time when she did not love the  violin. She grew up in a house filled with music. Her mother is a  flutist who played Heifetz LP's on the hi-fi. Her father is a jazz  pianist and long-time friend of the late violinist William dePasquale,  of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

An older cousin gave Lisa her 3/4 size violin when she outgrew  it, but Lisa was too little for it, and had to wait to grow into it, at  age 9, before she started lessons. For years, she regularly snuck into  the closet where the violin was kept to see if she was big enough yet.

Lisa studied with Robert Eshbach and Eric Rosenblith at New  England Conservatory Prep from 1979 - 1984. She holds degrees from the  Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Zvi Zeitlin, Sylvia  Rosenberg and Charles Castleman and from Florida State University, where  she studied with Eliot Chapo. 

As a student at NEC, Lisa knew of Cox instruments for many years,  but it was not until 2008, when she moved to Brattleboro part time,  that she had an opportunity to try them. She became one of the numerous  local players who “play in” new instruments as they are set up, to  evaluate and test drive them before they are ready to show, and she  gradually became more and more taken with their sound. In 2010, Lisa was  the violinist who played the 5 instruments showed at the first Wine and  Violin Tasting event at Next Stage Arts in Putney Vermont. She had  already settled on the #707 Leduc.

In addition to her passion for music of all kinds, Lisa loves  dachsunds, cats, kayaking, movies, scuba diving, hiking, and recently acquired a  looper and began experimenting with improvisation. Lisa loves to travel, and spent 7 years soloing with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Trujillo and the Orquesta Camara del Festival Internacional Bach in Perú during the summers. Her favorite city is Paris, and she loves New York too.

Lisa is the concertmaster of the Brevard Symphony Orchestra in  Melbourne, Florida and of the Walt Disney World Orchestra in Orlando, as  well as solo violinist at Disney. She is an avid chamber musician, performing chamber music recitals  throughout the year with colleagues in both regions. Lisa is enthusiastic about new music. 

Lisa maintains a teaching studio in Florida, and presents workshops to young people. She is a veteran of  commercial classical, pop, and jazz studio recording sessions. If that  wasn't enough, she is also  a contractor of music ensembles large and  small for private, church, and corporate events. She has subbed  with the Boston Pops and plays gigs of all kinds, including puppet shows  and weddings.

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Lisa Ferrigno

Lisa Ferrigno

Robert Garbarz, Violinist, Conductor

Opus 680, Strad “Vieuxtemps” 1710, 2010

I played a concerto composed by a friend and conducted a few other  pieces. That was my first solo performance with this violin and it was  great. It hasn't failed to deliver anything that I've asked of it, and  the sound seems to grow each day. -- Robert Garbarz

Robert Garbarz is a violinist studying at the University of North  Carolina at Chapel Hill with Richard Luby. He has performed with many  orchestras in the Raleigh area, including the Triangle Youth Symphony  and Philharmonic, the Garner Sinfonia, and several regional orchestra  festivals. He currently plays in the UNC Symphony Orchestra, directed by  Tonu Kalam.

In addition to modern violin, he studies and performs regularly  on the baroque violin. First introduced to period performance practice  at Oberlin Conservatory's Baroque Performance Institute, he now plays in  the UNC Baroque Ensemble under the direction of Brent Wissick. He also  plays in smaller baroque chamber ensembles alongside Professor Wissick  and fellow classmates.

Recently, he has begun studying conducting. In the summer of  2012, Robert co-founded and conducted the inaugural peformance of the  Raleigh Festival Orchestra, an ensemble comprised of high school and  college students from schools throughout North Carolina. He also  appeared as a soloist, performing the debut of a violin concerto  composed by one of the orchestra members.

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Robert Garbarz

Robert Garbarz

Fredi Gerling, Violinist, Conductor, Educator, Author

Opus 562, “Leduc” Guarneri del Gesù, 2005

It has been very gratifying to play on this very fine instrument.  Fellow violinists are always very impressed that it is a new instrument  because of its distinctive and mature sound.

I came to Boston to visit Marylou Speaker Churchill. I had  asked Doug to bring a violin for me to try; when I was about to leave  Marylou remembered that Doug had sent 5 violins for me to try. Doug had  forgotten to tell me about it so I thought that he had not sent any  violins! I stayed a little longer playing the violins while Marylou went  out. When she came back she heard  me play all the violins and both she  and Cristina, my wife, fell in love with how the violin sounded. 

I could not sleep that night thinking about the violin. The  next morning I called Doug and we found a way to make it happen. On my  way to the airport I stopped by  Marylou's house and picked up the  violin and brought it to  Brazil. I have so far played a Beethoven  sonatas cycle and several recitals with Doug's violin.  -- Fredi Gerling      

Fredi Gerling received his doctoral degree in violin performance and  pedagogy at the University of Iowa where he studied with Leopold  LaFosse.  His doctoral essay is titled “Performance Analysis and Analysis for Performance:  A Study of Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasilieras No. 9.”

Mr. Gerling is a conductor, educator, award winner, and has  published several articles.  His extensive background in chamber music  comes from his former training at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA  where he studied violin with Eric Rosemblith, as well as his many years  as an active performer with chamber music groups in the east coast of  the United States and Brazil. 

From 1989 to 1995, Mr. Gerling led the “Orquestra de Câmara  Theatro São Pedro”  string orchestra for seven very successful concert  seasons.  During his tenure the orchestra produced recordings, toured  the three Americas and Europe and collaborated with many international  soloists.  While in Iowa City, He was a visiting professor of violin at  the University of Iowa Music School  as well as conductor of the Preucil  School String Orchestra.  He was guest conductor for the Des Moine  Middle School Festival for five years.  Upon his return to Brazil, he  resumed his activities as violin and chamber music Professor at the  Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in the city of Porto Alegre.

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Fredi Gerling and Douglas Cox

Fredi Gerling and Douglas Cox

Michelle Kaczowka, Violinist

Opus 91, “Koff Vuillaume,” 1987

 I first got my Douglas Cox violin while a student in high  school.  At the time, I was in need of a new violin, I learned of an  instrument that I could try, and through luck, that instrument happened  to be one made by Mr. Cox.  The decision to choose that violin was more  than just the right decision; it was the beginning of an important part  of my musical journey.  

As a high school student, I was very involved with musical  studies.  I would spend Saturdays taking lessons, participating in  orchestra, and playing chamber music.  As an undergraduate, I decided to  major in science, but I still played violin.  Not long after finishing  graduate school in education, I realized that I could still continue  playing violin more than just occasionally.  I increased my practice  time and became even more involved with musical activities. Today, I’m  happy to say that I’m still playing my Douglas Cox violin.

Many  of the positive experiences that I’ve had with my instrument may be  summed up in terms of two major characteristics:  the violin’s sound  quality and its versatility.  In recent performances of the second  movement of the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, the violin delivered.  Not  only did it produce a big sound which carried well in the performance  spaces, but it was also capable of being subtle when it needed to  be--particularly during passages which required less intensity.  Besides  being effective during concerto solos or concertmaster solos, I’ve  found that the instrument is also well suited for other musical  experiences.  I appreciate the overall singing quality--whether playing  Strauss waltzes, big band arrangements, or even pop music, for example.   I highly recommend a Douglas Cox violin to anyone who is looking to  find that special instrument."   

Michelle Kaczowka started playing the violin at age eight and continued  her musical studies at New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School,  where she participated in the Certificate Program, and was a member of  the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.  A former student of Maria Benotti,  Nancy Cirillo, Barbara Fayroian, and Dana Mazurkevich, Michelle has  performed as part of WCRB Classical Concerts at the Hatch Shell, and has  served as concertmaster of the Boston Bar Association Orchestra.  She  currently serves as concertmaster of the Lowell Philharmonic and this  past winter, returned as concertmaster for Tremont Temple Baptist  Church’s production of G. F. Handel’s Messiah.  Michelle is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Michelle Kaczowka

Michelle Kaczowka

Shamus Rahman Khan Sociology Professor, Violinist, Violist

Opus 226, 1699 “Castlebarco” Stradivarius, 1993

The violin is very much a simple material thing --  only a few ingredients. But under Doug's hands, these pieces of wood  become something so much more. In fact, I think of my violin as one of  my oldest, best friends! 

I miss my violin when I haven't played in a while. After a  few weeks away from one another, it takes a little time for us to warm  up together. But soon, we're back where we left off (almost -- with more  mistakes from me each time!). I have a hard time playing other  instruments. I don't know them as well, and they don't know me as well.  I've been the only real player of my instrument. And it's nearing two  decades that I've had it! It's not so much an object I own, as something  I'm in a kind of relationship with. I feel like I've imprinted myself  on it a bit -- and it's certainly become a part of me. -- Shamus Khan

I began playing the violin when I was about three or four, and  played  regularly until I was in my early 20's. These days, I play about  once a week with a group of chamber musicians in New York City. I spent  my early years  in New York,   studied at the New England Conservatory  of Music as a teenager, and then in Philadelphia when I went to college  at Haverford. My high school teacher, a young recent graduate from  Carnegie Mellon, Decky Gander, was perhaps the least well known of  anyone I studied with, but by far the most inspirational. She was tough  and caring at the same time. I'll play for the rest of my life because  of her. Mary Lou Speaker Churchill introduced me to Doug Cox's violins.  And Melba Sandberg got me started on the viola. She stopped me in the  halls one day at NEC, and said to me, “Khan! You have big hands. And  you're good at transcribing. Come to rehearsal at 3. I'll bring you a  viola.” Thus I learned a second instrument! My passion is new music, and  contemporary music. I'm also passionate about cooking — I worked  through school as a cook. And social justice work around inequality is a  passion.

My regular chamber group is me, a pianist/psychiastrist/psycho-analyst, a violinist/violist who works at Carnegie Hall, and a  cellist/fellow sociologist. We meet  and read through pieces once a  week, breaking periodically for some wine and dinner. We have played  together since 1996 when we first met in college. Occasionally we have  guests — recently we got to play through the Brahms G-minor piano  quartet (op. 25) with Richard Goode on the piano! But most of all I  think we all like the intimacy and lower pressure of a regular group  that just plays for ourselves. 

I'm a sociologist and writer. I teach at Columbia University, though during 2011-12 I was on leave to write a book at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers  at the New York Public Library. This allowed me to spend a year around  some great writers, working on a project and talking about writing. 

My professional work involves writing about inequality. But I  tend not to write about poverty. Instead, I spent my time studying the  rich. I look at the ways in which the income and wealth increases among  the richest of the rich are what drive inequality today. I recently  wrote a book about an elite boarding school, exploring what it teaches  its students, and what it can tell us about the changing nature of  American inequality. It's called Privilege.

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Professor Shamus Rahman Khan

Professor Shamus Rahman Khan

Chelsea Hyojung Kim, violin

Opus 555, Guadagnini 1779, 2005

Chelsea Kim was a student of  Donald Weilerstein’s at New England Conservatory Prep. She has also  studied with James Buswell, Peter Rovit and Robert Rozek. She has since gone on to study at Juilliard.

Chelsea has been selected as a 2013 Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist  Recipient of From the Top NPR radio show, which includes a cash prize  and a live performance on the popular show. She took 1st place in the  Wellesley Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, debuting with the  Orchestra in 2010. She has placed in several other competitions and  participated in masterclasses with Joshua Bell, Stefan Milenkovich and  Philip Setzer.

Chelsea has played with the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of New  England Conservatory under Benjamin Zander, where she was assistant  principal 2nd violin. She has been concertmaster of Philips Exeter  Academy’s Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, and is the 1st violinist of  the NEC Prep Division Quartet, coached by Natasha Brofsky.

Chelsea has attended Boston University Tanglewood Institute  Summer Festival where she was concertmaster in 2011 and she was a  participant on Yellow Barn Young Artist Program in 2012. She attended  Kinhaven Music School from 2009-2011 where she was also concertmaster.

If all these activities and honors, orchestras and festivals and  Phillips Exeter Academy were not enough, she has an active volunteer  life:

  • Music For Life, playing violin at retirement centers
  • Head of HFCC Violin Lessons
  • Windsor Music Festival, chamber series performance for retirement centers around Boston
  • Church volunteer- play violin in worship service every Sundays in adult orchestra

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Chelsea Hyojung Kim

Chelsea Hyojung Kim