Sandro Leal-Santiesteban, Violin

Opus 503, “Rosenblith” Strad, 2003

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."

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Sandro Leal-Santiestban and Cox Violin #428, the "Guad"

Sandro Leal-Santiestban and Cox Violin #428, the "Guad"

Marissa Licata, Violin

Opus 441 ~ 1713 "Rosenblith" Stradivarius, 2001

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. 


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Marissa Licata

Marissa Licata

Michelle Liechti, Violinist, teacher, gardener

Opus 277, 1790 Storioni, 2006, & Opus 865, 1610 Maggini, 2014

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.

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Photo © Chris Triebert, Rock River Studio, South Newfane, Vermont
Courtesy Brattleboro Music Center

Photo © Chris Triebert, Rock River Studio, South Newfane, Vermont Courtesy Brattleboro Music Center

Dr. Helen Liu ~ Member - Waitiki 7 Exotica Band, Teacher

Opus 465, 1713 “Rosenblith” Strad, 2002

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.

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Photo by Cathy Clicks Photography |

Photo by Cathy Clicks Photography |

Ayman Mobarak Software Engineer, Science Geek, violin

Opus 659, “Lord Wilton” Guarneri del Gesù, 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 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.

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Ayman Mobarak

Ayman Mobarak

Jamecyn Morey, Violin

Opus #508, "Leduc" ~ 2003

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.

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Jamecyn Morey

Jamecyn Morey

Katianna Nardone ~ Violinist & Composer

Opus 652, 1779 Guadagnini, 2009

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.  

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Katianna Nardone

Katianna Nardone

Chloe Ross, Violin

Opus 462, "Vieuxtemps" Guarneri 2002

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. 

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Chloe Ross

Chloe Ross

Marta Rymer ~ violinist, dancer, singer, actress

Opus 327, “Kreisler” Guarneri, 1997

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.

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Marta Rymer

Marta Rymer

Joel Schut, violin, conductor, educator

Opus 392, “Rosenblith” Strad, 1999

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.

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Joel Schut

Joel Schut

Claire Thaler, violin

Opus 908, “Nachez” 1716 Strad, 2016

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.

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Claire Thaler

Claire Thaler

Daniel Vega-Albela ~ violinist with La Catrina Quartet

Opus 345, “Rosenblith” 1713 Grand Pattern Stradivarius

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.

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Photo © Sweet William Photography

Photo © Sweet William Photography

Ariana Watson ~ violinist, traveler, humanist

Opus 125, A&H Amati 1610, 1988

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.

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Ariana Watson, photographed at a wedding on Cape Cod in 2010.

Ariana Watson, photographed at a wedding on Cape Cod in 2010.

T.J. Wiggins, Violin

Opus 590, “Vieuxtemps” Guarneri, 2007

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.    

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Photos © Nathan Saliwonchyk, 2012

Photos © Nathan Saliwonchyk, 2012

Melissa Wilmot, Violin

Opus 592, “Koff” Vuillaume Guarneri, 2007

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.

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Melissa Wilmot

Melissa Wilmot

Matthew Woodard ~ violin, viola, composer, conductor

Opus 796, Storioni 1790

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.

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Matthew Woodard

Matthew Woodard

Quan Yuan, Metropolitan Opera Violin

Opus 710, Storioni 1795

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,, Music  Weekly, Beijing Evening Newspaper, Global Chinese Times, Chinese News  Weekly Guangming Daily,, 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.

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Photo © Liang Dong

Photo © Liang Dong