When trying out some of Mr. Cox’s violins I felt I wasn’t educated enough to choose the right one. But when I played his Guadagnini copy, it sounded like I was playing an old instrument. It was a really good feeling. Having an instrument like this gives me confidence technically and musically, and inspires me. -- Sandro Leal-Santiesteban
From Havana, Cuba to the Carnegie-Mellon School of Fine Arts
As a young child, Sandro Leal-Santiesteban accompanied his mother, a pianist, to rehearsals and lessons. He heard the Franck sonata for violin and piano at one such rehearsal and fell in love with the violin. He started lessons at 7 years old.
In 1999, when Sandro was 16, Benjamin Zander went on tour to Cuba with the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic Orchestra to perform with his school orchestra in Havana. When Sandro saw the level of commitment in the American kids, he realized that he needed to leave Cuba and study in the US. It was a challenge on many levels, especially since relations between the US and Cuba are so poor; but he was lucky to be granted a visa in 2001, and he came to Boston to study with Marylou Speaker Churchill (1945-2009).
Before coming to the States, Sandro never had the chance to play a good violin. He had a poor instrument with no projection, and a bow held together with scotch tape.
It was through the generosity of the Douglas Cox Scholarship program and a family friend, the Hon. Patrick J. King (Ret.), that Sandro was able to purchase violin #428, a Guadagnini bench copy dated 2000. With that violin he did his bachelor's degree at Eastman School of Music; was sub-listed at the New World Symphony; was chosen as a semi-finalist at the Sphinx Competition; and received his master's degree from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Fine Arts. He says, "I don’t think I would have succeeded at these endeavors without the Guad."
However, his first two attempts at the Carnegie Mellon Concerto Competition were not successful. His teacher at Carnegie-Mellon, Mr. Cyrus Forough, suggested that he needed a more powerful instrument with more personality. He introduced Sandro to Douglas Cox's violin #503, a copy of Eric Rosenblith's Stradivarius. Paul and Lynda Becker at Carl Becker and Son, Ltd. kindly allowed Sandro to use #503 in when he entered the concerto competition for the third time. He played the Ranjbaran Violin Concerto, a contemporary piece that required a lot of tone projection, and this time won first prize. Paul Becker then helped to engineer the swap of #428, the Guadagnini model, for #503, the Rosenblith Strad model.
About his relationship with Marylou Churchill, Sandro writes, "Marylou Churchill gave me a different perspective to look through music. Every time I had a lesson with her she would say to me, “you have to love it [the violin, music]”, and I did. Marylou was a person with so much love to offer for everyone. Ever since I met this extraordinary human being it was like discovering the violin and music all over again. My career would not have been the same without her."
Sandro Leal-Santiestban and Cox Violin #428, the "Guad"
The violin does what I want. I have never been in a situation where it couldn’t express what I desired. I am now experimenting with percussive sounds and overtones, releasing the voice inside. I am bonded to this violin, my violin. -- Marissa Licata
Violinist Marissa Licata has a wide range of performance experience in diverse genres from Rock to Latin, Jewish Music (Klezmer), and Classical. In 2008, touring and recording with Rock legends such as Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Licata has gained much recognition for her technical and musical versatility. US tours with Jethro Tull in 2006 and 2007 have featured her as the first violinist of the Calliandra String Quartet, concertmistress for Ian Anderson’s “Orchestral Jethro Tull”, and taken Marissa to world-renowned venues throughout the North East and Midwest including New York City, Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis.
Mixing traditional Klezmer music with the new Latin beats of today, Ms. Licata has performed at several of Boston and New York’s well known Latin dance and Rock clubs including Club Lido, Sambuca Night Club, T.T. the Bear’s Place, and Makor. With a background as a classical violinist, Ms. Licata has crossed the bridge into the world of improvisation. In 2005, Marissa joined the Tami Machnai Ensemble (TME) based in Boston, improvising on arrangements of traditional folk songs from Israel, and originals by Ms. Machnai. With the TME, Ms. Licata has performed regularly at Ryles Jazz Club and Karun in the Boston area, and had the opportunity to travel, giving concerts at San Francisco’s Museum of Art for the Israeli Consulate, and in New York at Satala for the group’s album release in 2006.
At age 18, Marissa’s classical music experience landed her a date as guest soloist with the National Orchestra of Honduras in 2003. She was an orchestral member of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas and the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at the New England Conservatory from 2001-2005, participating in four international tours with performances at Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall (Boston); in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center, in New York City at Lincoln Center, as well as world renowned venues throughout North, Central, and South America.
Marissa spent four years of undergraduate study at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, graduating in May 2007 with a Bachelor Degree in violin performance. In 2009 she completed her Masters degree in Contemporary Improvisation at NEC, and is a busy gigging musician, playing everything everywhere.
I played one of Doug’s violins when I first moved to the area as a poor starving musician and vowed to get one as soon as I could. My first Cox is a beautiful Storioni copy (his first). Then along came a 3/4 that I was to give to one of my students to break in and I fell in love with it. I am 4’8’’ and have always struggled with my fiddle size-wise. To play a smaller fiddle with a full-size sound and a “big heart” was like a miracle and has been a huge inspiration for me.
The thing I like the most about Doug’s instruments is that they seem to be alive and each has a unique essence. The two instruments that I play spoke to me the very moment I put a bow to their strings. -- Michelle Liechti
Michelle Liechti teaches violin to students of all levels and ages at the Brattleboro Music Center and to high-school students at Northfield Mount Hermon School. She is a member of Arcadia Players, and plays free-lance gigs both near and far.
The product of a very successful Public School Suzuki program, Michelle spent a year at the San Francisco Conservatory before receiving a Bachelor of Music from Mills College. She studied with David Abel at at both institutions, and developed her love for baroque music with Lorette Goldberg at SFC and Susan Summerfield at Mills.
Kato Havas played a huge role in Liechti’s development as a teacher and as a player. She has worked with Kato Havas from the age of 16, attending numerous workshops both in Brattleboro VT and Angwin CA. She studied with her as an undergraduate in a study abroad program while at Mills,and as a graduate as an independent study. Last January she returned to Oxford for a refresher course and was deeply inspired by the 89-year-old Kato, who is as wise and insightful as ever.
She moved to Brattleboro in 1989 as an au-pair and ended up falling in love with Southern Vermont, and has been thriving here since. She lives with her Swiss husband Nicolas on a mini-farm called Half Acre Farm where they raise rabbits and chickens. Their garden fills the freezer and occupies a large chunk of their time, along with flower-gardening and knitting. She is discovering late Beethoven Quartets with her colleagues at the BMC, is an aspiring amateur cellist and plays regularly in a piano trio and a cello quartet.
Photo © Chris Triebert, Rock River Studio, South Newfane, Vermont Courtesy Brattleboro Music Center
My violin has accompanied me everywhere from Asia to Europe to Hawaii, experiencing many different climates. I'm very impressed with Doug's craftsmanship that makes it so hardy and durable, yet sensitive to my temperament and so easy to play. I love its robust and dark lower range that supports the powerful projection of the higher end which inspires me to develop my own voice. It is a simply beautiful instrument that I hope to keep for a very long time. -- Dr. Helen Liu
Violinist Helen Liu, a native of Potomac, MD, began studying the violin at age six and is an active performer and educator in solo, chamber and orchestral settings. She currently performs with the new Hawaii Symphony and is a performer with Ebb and Flow Arts concert series in Maui. Dr. Liu is also committed to the role of music in education and has taught students at the elementary, secondary, and collegiate levels.
She is currently on the violin and chamber music faculty at Punahou School, Iolani School, BYU-Hawaii, and serves as a string clinician at Hawaii Youth Symphony’s Pacific Music Institute since the summer of 2006. Dr. Liu holds degrees in violin performance from Stony Brook University (D.M.A.), New England Conservatory (M.M. and G.D. with Concentration in Music-in-Education), and University of Maryland – College Park (B.M.) where her principal teachers include Pamela Frank, Philip Setzer, James Buswell, and Daniel Heifetz. Her chamber music experience was molded by members of world-renowned ensembles such as the Mendelssohn, Cleveland, Guarneri, Borromeo and Emerson String Quartets. She has also spent many summers with the Aspen Music Festival (CO), Castleton Festival (VA), Longy International Baroque Institute (MA), National Repertory Orchestra (CO), National Orchestral Institute (MD), Boston University Tanglewood Institute (MA), and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Prior to settling in Honolulu in late 2011, Dr. Liu devoted much of her time in Boston and New York, teaching and freelancing with various professional orchestras including Portland Symphony, Orchestra of Indian Hill, New Bedford Symphony, and the Harvard Baroque Chamber Ensemble.
In addition to her classical and baroque performances, she is a founding player with The WAITIKI 7, a critically- and popularly-acclaimed modern exotica ensemble, with whom she has recorded the albums Adventures in Paradise and New Sounds of Exotica. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and discovering new tastes in food and drink with her husband and double-bassist, Randy Wong.
Photo by Cathy Clicks Photography | www.cathyclicks.com
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 Mobarak
Ayman 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.
I found my Cox violin at Carl Becker's shop after searching in Chicago for a few months. I knew as soon as I played on the instrument that it really matched the sound I was looking for; it felt like my own voice right away. I have been happy with it since thenand it has played hundreds of concerts in that time! -- Jamecyn Morey
Jamecyn Morey, violinist, is an active orchestral and chamber musician. Jamecyn studied Violin Performance at the Interlochen Arts Academy High School, and received degrees from Indiana University and Roosevelt University in Chicago. While in Chicago, she was a member of the Civic Orchestra, and participated in a chamber music community engagement residency program with the Chicago City Colleges and Chicago Public Elementary Schools. She spent next three years as a fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL. In Miami, Jamecyn served as Violin Faculty at the New World School of the Arts and the Miami-Dade Community College, and was a member of the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra.
Jamecyn lives in Albany, NY and performs in a Violin/Cello Duo, “The Copernicus Duo”, with her husband. They were featured as part of the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts “National Showcase” in January 2009, and will perform as soloists in Lincoln Center in NYC in Spring 2010. Jamecyn is a member of the Miami Music Project String Quartet, and performs often with the Sarasota Orchestra, Glens Falls Symphony, and the Albany Symphony.
Douglas Cox’s violin is amazing to play! When I first picked it up it reminded me of when Harry Potter first rides his Firebolt broomstick in The Prisoner of Azkaban - he is amazed how it responds to his every subtle touch. This violin has a beautiful sound and looks beautiful too. Its quality and personality make it a joy to play on. -- Katianna Nardone
As a four-year-old, Katianna had wanted to study violin, but was physically too small for the instrument. She was convinced instead to study piano for a year as a substitute. At the age of five she insisted on being allowed to study violin, and thus began exploring her passion for the instrument. Katianna has studied violin under the instruction of Cathy Hall-Schor and Lilo Glick, and currently studies with Joana Genova of the Manchester Music Festival and Williams College. Katianna is concertmistress in the Green Mountain Youth Orchestra.
Along with her passion for the violin, Katianna plays first chair trumpet in her high school band. She previously sang in the Bennington Children’s Chorus for 9 years. Katianna is self-taught on guitar, and uses it to back up her vocals for pleasure and occasional performances.
In addition to playing instruments, Katianna also has a love of composing classical music. When she was in eighth grade, she composed her first music composition as part of an independent study using Sibelius software. This orchestral piece was performed during the summer of 2010 at The Green Mountain Orchestra Camp. At the age of fifteen she composed her next two pieces, Annabel’s Waltz (string section) and An Epic Journey (full orchestra). Both of these were performed by The Sage City Symphony as part of a Young Composers Project in March of 2013.
In the summer of 2013 she attended Interlochen Arts Camp as a composition major and studied under Dr. Robert Deemer. The six-week program allowed her to experience inspiring teachers, professional recording sessions, and a passionate environment. For her work at Interlochen, Katianna was awarded an Interlochen Fine Arts Award for Composition. Katianna’s Interlochen works included Dance of the Misty Elves (string quartet), Moosilauke (saxophone quartet) and Disappearing (art song, vocal with piano, done in collaboration with the creative writing program). These were performed at camp by Interlochen students, and several of these works have been or are scheduled to be performed by The Manchester Music Festival. In 2014, Katianna received the Vermont All State Scholarship Award for Composition, with her submission of Dance of the Misty Elves. This is scheduled to be performed at the 2014 Vermont All State Music Festival.
Katianna likes listening to every kind of music but she especially enjoys indie rock and folk. She holds a special place in her heart for Broadway shows. She draws inspiration for her compositions from movie scores by composers such as Hans Zimmer, John Powell, John Williams, and Howard Shore.
I love playing my violin for students, and showing them how even their small pieces can be played with rich tone and brilliance. The look in their eyes when they hear my violin's sound is priceless, and inspires them to play their own instruments better. In my own playing, my violin continues to amaze me with its depth and I find myself unlocking new areas of sound and clarity daily. It truly is a joy to play Doug's violin and I will be a life long supporter of his work.-- Chloe Ross
Chloe began studying violin at the age of three in Seattle, Washington under the tutelage of Kathleen Boyer, second violinist with The Seattle Symphony. Chloe started learning the Suzuki method and attended the advanced Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute for several years. Along with her Suzuki studies, Chloe took part in the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra program.
When she reached age 11, her family moved across the country and Chloe continued violin studies at The Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. At Longy, she studied music theory, music composition and music history. She was a featured violinist in many masterclasses and solo performances, as well as a member of many chamber music ensembles and was the youngest ever admitted member of The Longy Youth Chamber Orchestra. She became the concert master after only a short time with the orchestra and traveled to Canada, Germany and the Czech Republic on tour, performing city to city. She has also journeyed to Colima, Mexico playing chamber music with students of the Universidad de Colima.
Chloe continued at Longy to receive her Certificate of Violin Performance and has competed in many competitions, preforming some of the world's most iconic violin repertoire. While at Longy, Chloe studied in the studios of Clayton Hoener, principle second violinist of The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra as well as main study with the late Janet Packer- former Longy School of Music String Department Chair who first introduced her to Cox Violins.
After moving back to Seattle, Chloe became a member The Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Adam Stern.
Chloe has since relocated to the Bay Area and now teaches violin full time at her own studio, The Studio Violin. Her students have successfully auditioned for orchestra positions of their own, and range from complete beginners (of all ages) to more advanced high schoolers.
My violin has been with me through many trials, as well as many wonderful occasions. She has responded so well, even to being played outdoors often, and after months of neglect. She always comes to life and responds beautifully to me. I can't imagine being where I am now with another instrument. -- Marta Rymer
My parents met in the Symphony of Dominican Republic, where my mother played bassoon as part of her stint with the Peace Corps, and my father, a Dominican, played bass. They married and moved back to the United States, to Massachusetts, where my brother and I were born. We were raised in Dorchester, a tough part of Boston, where my mother has taught piano for 34 years. We were home schooled and raised to be good musicians, so music is in my blood.
I attended the Longy School of Music, in Cambridge, from the age of 4, and studied with Janet Packer, Lisa Lederer, George Ogata and others, and where I won the preparatory division concerto competition in 1999 and 2001. I was also a member of the honors string quartet, under Robert Koff.
I also grew up, musically, in Project STEP (string training for students of color) which nurtured me for the better part of twelve years. I was a member of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at New England Conservatory when I decided to take a break from violin and study what really interested me at the time, musical theater.
After completing a two-year program at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, I came back to Boston and began working on the renaissance festival circuit. I performed at King Richard's Faire, singing, dancing, acting, and playing violin as a gypsy, wench, sorceress, and vampire countess. What fun! That led to work at other festivals as a choreographer and performer. I got to travel to exotic and exciting places such as St Louis, Missouri, Deerfield Beach in Florida, and Battle Creek, Michigan.
It was at King Richard's Faire that I met Grace Morrison, a local singer/songwriter. I now work with her on a regular basis in our group Grace Morrison and the RSO, a folk/rock band. (A word I still find strange to say.) I'm learning to improvise, which has always been difficult for me. I'm starting to get used to playing into a mic, but I still don't get the concept of people having conversations in bars while musicians are performing.
My violin teacher, Janet Packer, was a huge supporter of Doug Cox. She brought me to him in 1999 to pick out my lovely violin.
As much as I love music and playing my violin, it certainly isn't all that I do. I'm a trained ballet dancer, singer, and actress. I still spend a lot of time doing various shows and performances around New England.
When I was looking for a professional level violin, I kept hearing people talk about Cox instruments. After a long search, I called Mr. Cox and was playing one of his violins the next week. While I was immediately taken by its warm and focused sound, I knew it was the right instrument when I never wanted to set it down. Equally suited for solo, chamber, and orchestral playing, my Cox violin has taken me to four continents and continues to both challenge and inspire me as a musician. -- Joel Schut
Fascinated by music’s ability to connect people, places, ideas and communities, Joel Schut is active as a conductor, educator and violinist. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, he began his training on piano and quickly developed a passion for making music. Joel is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance where he was awarded the Albert A. Stanley Medal, the school’s highest honor. He is currently a master’s candidate in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Colorado-Boulder studying with Maestro Gary Lewis.
As a violinist, Joel is a former member of the Flint Symphony Orchestra and a semi-finalist for the New World Symphony. He has performed with the Aspen Music Festival, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria. Additionally, he toured Mexico and China as a member of the YOA Orchestra of the Americas, and has performed in Carnegie Hall with the New York String Orchestra Seminar and the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra.
As a conductor, Joel has served as Music Director of the Livingston Symphony Orchestra from 2007-2010 as well as founding director of the Detroit Medical Orchestra. He currently assists and conducts the CU Symphony, Chamber, and Campus Orchestras as part of the CU-Boulder Orchestra program.
A passionate advocate for music education, Joel served as Orchestra Director at Saline High School in Michigan teaching a vibrant string program of over 160 students. He has worked as a mentor with the Detroit Civic Orchestra and the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestra and has conducted orchestras for Boulder Suzuki Strings. As an advocate for cultural diplomacy through music, Joel served as an American Music Ambassador on a 2010 Cultures in Harmony project in Tunisia as well as conductor and violin faculty for the 2012 inaugural Campamento Sinfónico Juvenil de Honduras.
I cannot thank you enough for helping me on my journey to finding the right violin! I am so impressed with the power and sweetness of my new violin, as well as the beautiful craftsmanship. I could not ask for a better companion for my upcoming college auditions. -- Claire Thaler
Claire Thaler, 18, began playing violin at age four. She is seeking a violin performance degree at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University where she studies with Dr. Carolyn Huebl. Claire has performed in the Florida State University Philharmonia and the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra (concertmaster). She is a former student of Professor Corinne Stillwell and Dr. Valerie Arsenault.
Claire was selected to perform with the FMEA All-State Orchestras for five consecutive years, and she served as Associate Concertmaster of the FMEA All-State Symphonic Orchestra in 2017. Claire was invited to perform in the annual side-by-side concerts with the New World Symphony in Miami in 2016 & 2017, and she performed with the NAfME National Honors Symphony Orchestra in 2016. She was a finalist for the Tallahassee Bach Parley concert "Kids Go for B’roque” for five years, and she received 1st place in the 2017 Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and the 2016 BBCO Young Artist Concerto Competition.
Summer study opportunities include Madeline Island Chamber Music, Castleman Quartet Program, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and the Florida State University College of Music. Claire has performed in master classes for Almita and Roland Vamos, Rachel Barton Pine, Jennifer Koh, Jennifer Frautschi, and the Carpe Diem String Quartet.
Claire was recently chosen as the recipient of an Education Grant from the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation. She is a recipient of a Douglas C. Cox violin scholarship and plays on the beautiful Opus 908 “Nachez” 1716 Strad model made in 2016.
A colleague of mine recently had the good fortune of borrowing a 1785 Januarius Gagliano for an important audition. Of course, I did not want to pass up the opportunity to try it out myself, which I did in front of my quartet colleagues and one of the principal clarinetists of the Kansas City Symphony. It was their unanimous view that my Cox played circles around the Gagliano. How fortunate I am to have found this fantastic violin! It is my most valued possession. -- Jorge Vega-Albela
Born in Mexico City, Daniel Vega-Albela started studying violin with Yuriko Kuronuma. At fifteen, he won silver medal in the first National Violin Competition in Mexico City. At sixteen, he traveled to New York City, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the Mannes College of Music, under the guidance of Sally Thomas. He has played with many ensembles in the United States, such as the St. Cecilia Chamber Orchestra and the Western New York Chamber Players. He has toured Japan and Mexico, and has had many appearances as soloist with different orchestras throughout Mexico. He has also worked with several chamber and symphony orchestras in Mexico, such as the Orquesta de Cámara de Morelos, the Camerata de Torreón, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería.
From 1994 to 1997, he was instructor of violin at the Academia Yuriko Kuronuma in Mexico City, and in 1997, he joined the Conservatorio de las Rosas to teach violin
performance and to play with their new music ensemble, the Ensamble de las Rosas. From 2001 to 2003, he was violin Instructor at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. His devotion to teaching has already yielded some important results: he is featured in the 2004 and 2005 edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.
Mr. Vega-Albela holds a Master of violin performance degree from Western Michigan University, and a Master of chamber music degree from Kent State University, where he studied with Renata Artman Knific and Ivan Chan, respectively.
Photo © Sweet William Photography
I've had this violin by Doug for years... and it's gone on tour with me to Finland, Guatemala, and Panama, as well as on my stints living abroad. -- Ariana Watson
Ariana Watson started playing violin at age 2.5. She is the Principal Gifts Coordinator at Partners In Health, a nonprofit international development organization with a dedication to breaking the cycle of poverty and disease in marginalized rural communities around the world. She was formerly a data analyst at KublerWirka, Inc., a boutique strategy consulting firm, where she worked on management and fundraising strategy for large nonprofit clients in the education and arts sectors. Ariana earned her BA in International Relations from Wellesley College in 2008.
Ariana loves to travel and, in addition to the United States, has lived in Bolivia and Ecuador. She is fluent in Spanish, with basic skills in German, French, and Farsi. Her primary interests lie in international law and development. She also enjoys European history, playing tennis, and she has a passion for the arts, having played violin for most of her life. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Lexington Montessori School.
Ariana Watson, photographed at a wedding on Cape Cod in 2010.
Being able to explore and project a huge array of rich sounds, colors, and styles has been a dream come true. My Douglas Cox violin has been the perfect tool for showcasing my musicality and creativity as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. It allows me to connect with various audiences around the world through performances of music from different time periods and eclectic styles.
I am truly grateful to Doug for the opportunity to use such an amazingly mature-sounding young instrument. I look forward to seeing how much it continues to develop and surprise me in the years to come. -- T.J. Wiggins
Currently a member of the prestigious Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, violinist Teddy Wiggins appears regularly on some of the world’s finest stages. Often performing as Concertmaster or Principal Violin, Teddy can also be heard in the Royal Conservatory Orchestra in Toronto. An avid orchestral musician, his other experience includes the New England Conservatory’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and the Thunder Bay Symphony to name a few. In addition, he has performed under the baton of many leading conductors such as Mario Bernardi, Zubin Mehta, Charles Dutoit, Manfred Honeck, Gianandrea Noseda, and Valery Gergiev.
An active chamber musician, Teddy was a founding member of The Annex Quartet. In 2010, The Annex Quartet was invited to work beside the Kronos Quartet, making their Carnegie Hall debut. In addition, while involved in the group the quartet’s performances included Toronto’s Luminato Festival 2011, Stratford Music Festival 2011, Richard Bradshaw Amphitheater, Mazzoleni Hall and the Bloor Street United Church. Currently, Teddy is also proficient with duo, trio, and quintet repertoire. Chamber music tours have lead him to France, China, Canada, and performances in Boston’s Symphony Hall.
Also an active soloist, Teddy has performed numerous recitals in cities such as Boston, St. Louis, and Toronto. His recent solo appearances include recitals at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto in December 2010 and in Mazzoleni Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music in May 2012.
Teddy is a recipient of the Rachel Barton Pine Education and Career Grant. He recently completed a Performance Diploma at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory under the guidance of Paul Kantor and Barry Shiffman. He looks forward to continuing his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Felicia Moye in the fall of 2012. An alumni and graduate of the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Boston, his principal teachers include Paul Kantor, Kelly Barr and Winifred Crock.
Photos © Nathan Saliwonchyk, 2012
It was the summer of 2009, and I was in residence at NEC in Boston as a member of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. I was at an interesting place instrument-wise. I'd been looking and looking for instruments, but to no avail (at least in terms of ones that could live up to my standards without requiring me to win the lottery), and I had been dealing with a revolving door of instruments on loan. A friend who had an instrument from Mr Cox let me know he'd be visiting NEC, so with a very good dose of pessimism I climbed the stairs to go meet Mr Cox and some of his instruments in a dark NEC practice room.
To my incredibly pleasant surprise, I found one of the most knowledgeable and genuine people I have met in the luthier business, and I also met a huge variety of his instruments all of which were unique and likable in their own way. Gradually after playing them, and working with Mr Cox who was graciously fine tuning them, a clear favourite emerged. YOA was just about to de-camp and take off on tour, but I could not leave the violin behind, I knew it was the one, and I haven't looked back.
Mr Cox's instrument has grown and developed extensively with me over the past four years, and is continuously garnering the interest and compliments of colleagues, many of whom have remarked how much it has developed, and have been surprised it's only a few years old. I am extremely grateful to Mr Cox for being so helpful, and for creating an instrument that is such a joy to play, and has served me so well in so many different settings. -- Melissa Wilmot
Canadian violinist Melissa Wilmot has performed extensively in Toronto both in recitals, and as a member of the National Ballet Orchestra, Sinfonia Toronto, the Esprit Orchestra. In 2010 she made her Carnegie Hall debut as a member of the only North American string quartet selected to participate in the Kronos Quartet’s professional training workshop. As an active recitalist, and participant in the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, Mannes Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance, Banff Masterclass and Festival Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific, Melissa has performed in cities ranging from Powell River, Kelowna and Banff, to NYC, Denver, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, and Washington DC.
Melissa is currently pursuing her Masters of Music degree at Rice University with Paul Kantor, having completed her Bachelor of Music degree with him in 2012 at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto. At the Glenn Gould School Melissa was a scholarship student, on the Dean’s List, a prize winner in the chamber music competition, and was featured frequently as concert master of the Royal Conservatory Orchestra under maestros Johannes Debus, Uri Mayer, Zubin Mehta, and Peter Oundjian. Melissa is the recipient of the 2012 Sir Edmund Walker Dorothy Isabella Webb Trust scholarship for graduating students from The Glenn Gould School as well as the 2011 Orford Quartet Scholarship from the Ontario Arts Council.
Born in Kelowna BC, she was member of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra from 2001-2008, was featured on numerous occasions as soloist with them, most recently in John Corigliano's Red Violin Chaconne. She also performed with Ballet Kelowna across British Columbia from 2006-2008, and as soloist with the Kelowna Canada Day Pops Orchestra in 2008. Melissa was the recipient of the 2007 City of Kelowna civic award for 'Teen Honour in the Arts', and in the same year was selected to be the strings representative for BC at the National Music Festival after winning Performing Arts BC.
Part of the pleasure of playing on my Cox violin is the relationship I've fostered with the instrument through the artist who built it. I certainly would not be the musician I am today if it weren't for Doug's violin, as well as his skill and generosity. -- Matthew Woodard
Matthew Woodard began his violin studies at the age of four under Amanda Provost. For a time, Matthew studied with Acadian fiddler Dona Hebert, who taught him both standard classical repertoire and French-Canadian fiddle tunes. He next studied under Linda Laderach, chair of the music department at Mount Holyoke College, who advised him to attend the New England Conservatory’s Preparatory Program. There, he studied for two years with Marylou Speaker Churchill, before her untimely death in 2009, and then with James Buswell.
Between the ages of 8 and 12, Matthew was in both the Mount Holyoke College Orchestra and Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestra (SYO), serving periodically as concertmaster.
At the New England Conservatory’s Preparatory Program (NEC Prep), Matthew was the principal violist of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.
An avid chamber musician, Matthew has attended numerous summer chamber music festivals, including Point Counterpoint, Greenwood Music Camp and Yellow Barn Young Artists’ Program. In May of 2011, Matthew appeared as soloist with the Holyoke Civic Symphony as the winner of their Concerto Competition. Matthew also studies composition with Howard Frazin at NEC, and his works have been performed on both From The Top, and From The Top Live! At Carnegie Hall. In February of 2011, Matthew conducted the premiere of his first work for chamber orchestra, “Music for a scene from The Death of Ivan Ilych”, with the Walnut Hill Chamber Orchestra, a group he started at the Walnut Hill School. Matthew also premiered the first movement of his “Viola Concerto” as soloist with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston in March of 2012. A recent graduate of the Walnut Hill School in Natick, Massachusetts, Matthew attended South Hadley public schools and the Academy Hill School in Springfield. When he is at home, Matthew lives with his parents and younger brother in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He attends Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, New York.
Mr. Cox's violins are extraordinary among the newly made instruments today, with a great tone, deep and colorful sound, and comfortable to play. To play his instruments is always an enjoyable experience. -- Quan Yuan
Quan Yuan has shown himself to be an accomplished and versatile young soloist. He is the winner of China International Young Artist Competition in 2006, winner of the 2006 Delaware Symphony Orchestra young artist competition, winner of the 2000 Denmark International Young Artist Competition, second prize winner of the 2001 China Classical Sonata Competition and the 2001 Central Conservatory of Music Violin Competition.
Mr. Yuan has performed as a soloist and chamber musician across the United States, Europe, and Asia. These venues includes: Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, Beijing Concert Hall, Merkin Hall, Sanders Theater, Town Hall of New York City, Calgary Leacock Hall, Field Concert Hall in Philadelphia, Chinese People’s Liberation Army Concert Hall, Beijing Century Theater, Concert Hall of the National Library of China and Xinzhuang Culture and Arts Center of Taipei. He has played concertos with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra, Bravura Philharmonic Orchestra, China Youth Chamber Orchestra, Taipei Youth Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Pro Musica, New England Conservatory Philharmonic Orchestra, NEC Wind Ensemble, NEC Bach Ensemble, and NEC Percussion Ensemble. As a chamber musician, his coaches have included members of the Borromeo, Guarneri, Emerson, Tokyo, Takacs, and Juilliard String Quartets. Mr. Yuan has given master classes in Taipei and Beijing in 2006 and he has been a judge of the “Golden Beijing” Violin Competition since 2012. He is a faculty member at Focal Chinese Music since 2012 in Boston.
Since 2012, Mr. Yuan has been a member of the prestigious Beijing Musician Association and he has over 80 commercially successful recordings including: Passion and Capriccio I-VIII: Solo Violin, Chamber Music Concert, Violin Masterpiece Explanations and Sample for Beginners and Intermediates, and Paganini 24 Caprices for Solo Violin: Wei Zhao and Students Concert, etc. His achievements have been reported on by major media including: Little Performer, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, ConcertoNet.com, Music Weekly, Beijing Evening Newspaper, Global Chinese Times, Chinese News Weekly Guangming Daily, Bostonese.com, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Born in Beijing, China, in 1984, Mr. Yuan began his violin studies at age 4 with Muyun Yang. At age 13, he studied with Wei Zhao in the Central Conservatory of Music. After graduating with special distinction, he traveled to the United States to become a student of Joseph Silverstein at the Curtis Institute of Music, then continued his studies with Donald Weilerstein at New England Conservatory from 2008 to 2015. In 2012, he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from NEC with academic honors and now working as Mr. Weilerstein's teaching assistant. Mr. Yuan joined the violins of the Metropolitan Opera of New York City in the fall of 2015.
Photo © Liang Dong