Summer 2017 – in the US.

Posted on | June 10, 2017 | No Comments|

This June our workshop shall be closed from June 17th and opening again on June 27th.

My assistant is enjoying a summer holiday in Europe. Meanwhile I’m traveling to Oberlin College in Ohio for a violin making workshop.  The VSA/Oberlin Violinmaker’s Workshop is a two-week, intensive, graduate level program for professional makers.

www.oberlinviolinmakers.org

I look forward to catch up with our friends and colleagues in Oberlin!

The Strad – May issue

Posted on | May 31, 2017 | No Comments|

This month the English magazine ‘The Strad’ published an article on my workshop. In each issue they have a ‘my space’ section which shows the workshops of violin makers from around the world.  The main photo below is my main bench surrounded by the tools I use everyday. Also a small photo of our dusty machine room in the basement which most clients never see!

(click on the image above to read the article)

Exhibition in Toronto – follow up

Posted on | March 8, 2017 | No Comments|

The January exhibition of Canadian violin and bow makers in Toronto was a great success. With over 35 violin and bow makers from around Canada attending and showing their work. Some of the makers had never shown their instruments and bows in Toronto before. So it was a new opportunity for Toronto musicians to try a wider range of fine instruments made in Canada.

From the beginning of the day it was well attended by professional string players and students.  In the afternoon the fine violinist Kerson Leong performed a short passage on 24 new violins. He did a wonderful job adjusting to each violin quickly. It was interesting to hear the different sound qualities each instrument was capable of in the larger space. Overall I felt there was a high standard of sound and worksmanhip among my colleagues work. It was special to be part of this exhibition.

Throughout the day I enjoyed hearing players try my violin and latest cello. After hearing them play, we often talked about what kind of instrument they were looking for and their thoughts on the instruments they had been trying.   After the exhibition my Stradivari model cello was sold to a wonderful student of  David Hetherington from the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.  Below is my cello being played at the exhibition.

 

Thank you to the organizers, Elizabeth Barbosa, Fany Fresard and Emanuel Euvrard, for their work with this exhibition and ‘Le Forum des Fabricants’.

 

 

Via Rail – now for cellos as well!

Posted on | February 6, 2017 | No Comments|

 

 

While traveling around Canada for business I sometimes travel by train which I enjoy very much. It’s relaxed and comfortable and I usually finish some paperwork or write a blogpost on the train! But if I need to bring a cello with me, I’m unable bring it on board under the luggage restrictions with certain Via Rail trains. A cello case is too large for the trains between Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. So my only other option has been to drive by car, take a bus or fly. None of which I particularly enjoy.

Last year I wrote to Via Rail’s, President and Chief Executive Officer,  Yves Desjardins-Siciliano about this cello issue and recently received good news that cellos will be allowed on the trains beginning in the fall of 2017!

The trains used on the routes between Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal are being modified to allow tall, larger items to be safely brought on board!

Below is a photo of the new space that the trains will have for cellos and other larger items.

So next time when I need to deliver one of my cellos to a customer I will take the train!                                               The modified trains should also be useful for music students, professional cellists and amateur musicians traveling between the large cities of Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

The changes to the trains should be complete by the fall of this year.

Toronto Exhibition! ~~~ Jan.14th ~~~

Posted on | December 30, 2016 | No Comments|

On Saturday, January 14th, I will be visiting Toronto for an exhibition of Canadian violins, violas, cellos and bows!  This is a great chance for string players in Toronto to try instruments and bows from the best award winning Canadian violin and bow makers.

The event will take place at Koerner Hall Lobby at the Royal Conservatory at 273 Bloor St. W, Toronto. (Link for more information)

At 2pm the wonderful Canadian violinist Kerson Leong will be playing various violins from the exhibition. At 3pm there will be a chamber music concert with the Concertmaster and principal players from the Toronto  Symphony Orchestra.

I will present a Guarneri model violin and my medal winning Stradivari model cello at the exhibition. All string players are welcome to try instruments and I look forward to meet you!

Happy Holidays!

Posted on | December 22, 2016 | No Comments|

Happy Holidays to all our clients, colleagues and friends!

Thank you to all our customers for your support! My assistant, Charline Dequincey, and I greatly appreciate it.

This year we finished a number of new instruments including a new model of 16″ viola. Charline finished and sold her fine sounding Francesco Ruggeri model cello as well.

In the new year we look forward to visit Toronto in January for an exhibition of new Canadian instruments and meeting up with musicians, friends and colleagues. We will be presenting both cellos and violins at the exhibition.

(for more information on the Toronto exhibition click here and here)

The workshop is closed over the holiday period. We open again on Tuesday January 3rd, 2017.

From our workshop – all the best for 2017!

The photos above are from one of my trips to the US in 2016 – at the bench carving scrolls with colleagues and then relaxing with colleagues!

Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal

Posted on | December 17, 2016 | No Comments|

In November I finished a violin for Ramsey Husser (2nd Assistant Concertmaster) of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. It was modelled after my usual Guarneri model,  the ‘Lord Wilton/Menuhin’  Guarneri violin of 1742.  As I have become accustomed to this model, I’ve incorporated elements from other Guarneri violins, including the ‘Duskin/Zukerman’ Guarneri violin of the same year.

The ‘Dushkin’ Guarneri violin is a more robust violin than the ‘Menuhin’  and it opens up possibilities when I combine elements of design from more than one violin. While I enjoy copying certain Cremonese violins as exactly as I can, it can quickly limit the possibilities to explore different playing characteristics.

For Mr. Husser’s violin I made the edges of the front and back a little stronger and brought the f’holes closer together, among other small adjustments. Though I did keep the arching very close to the original ‘Lord Wilton/Menuhin’  Guarneri violin.  Overall for this violin I was looking for a slightly less dark sound and with more focus.

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Above are photos of Ramsey Husser’s violin.  I quickly took these photos at my bench, just before Mr. Husser arrived to collect his new violin!

 

Canada Customs – Ottawa Airport

Posted on | November 27, 2016 | No Comments|

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This year I traveled twice to the US with instruments (violin & cello) to present for conferences and a competition. Similar to a touring musician, I planned to bring my instruments back to Canada with me.

On my return and without proper documentation,  Canada Border Services Agency could assume I had purchased the instruments in the US and charge me sales tax and duties.  Just like any importation which might cost thousands of dollars in taxes.

So before leaving Canada on my flight, I did a couple of key steps to make the Canada Customs a simple process on my return.

1. I wrote a description of the violin, including measurements, photographs, wood species and the country of origin of each major wood part. Most violin dealers could write a similar certificate for a fee.

2. Before my flight, with the above paperwork in hand, I visited the Customs Office at the Ottawa Airport. The office is on the first floor (ground floor) at the NorthEast end, down a corridor and past the toilets. It was a little hard to find! Once in the office, I picked up the one black phone on an empty counter to call a customs agent. He arrived in a minute from some back room. Once I explained what I needed, he filled out the simple form below for my instruments and stamped the date on the back of my certificates. (he was very friendly!)

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Flying back home, if Canada Customs asked about my instruments,  I could present the papers to show I had left Canada with the described string instruments. So I correctly avoided paying any taxes or duties during my travels.

The process was simple and I would recommend all musicians to have the necessary papers when traveling with expensive instruments.

 

For more information, the phone number for the Ottawa Airport office of the Canada Border Services Agency is 613 998 3709.

Violin/Cello Making Competition – USA

Posted on | November 20, 2016 | No Comments|

Every two years, the Violin Society of America holds an international violin making competition. 205 Violins, 109 violas, 67 cellos, 9 basses and 68 bows were entered from around the world to compete in Cleveland, Ohio in November.

On Thursday evening, I was awarded silver medal for workmanship for my latest cello.  It was a Stradivari model cello that I have developed over many years. It was pleasing to win a medal for this cello. In the past I have won medals for my violin and viola making in competitions in Europe. And now my cello making has won an award from the highest international competition in the Untied States.

silver-medal

 

For the full list of results, click here.   Other fine Canadian violin makers won awards in the competition, including Fabienne Gauchet, Martin Heroux and bow makers Emmanuel Begin and Eric Gagne.

Strad Magazine article – Oberlin 2016.

Posted on | November 3, 2016 | No Comments|

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This November the British magazine, the Strad, published an article on the summer program at the VSA/Oberlin College Violin Makers Workshop.  I’ve attended this workshop in the United States, for a number of years, working alongside approximately fifty of my good colleagues. The program runs for two weeks each summer.

This year violin maker Hugh Withycomb and I varnished the violin made by the group last year. The vanishes (high resin/low oil) we used were developed over the past decade together with my assistant Charline Dequincey. Hugh and I showed our method of varnishing and completed varnishing the violin in about ten days! (shown below, photo by violin maker David Van Zandt.)

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Below is an excerpt from the Strad magazine about our varnish work.  The full magazine is available here and covers the various other projects from Oberlin this year –  including designing a new viola and copying the ‘Jackson’ 1714 Stradivari violin.

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Below is a photo from the Strad magazine article.  My colleagues, Martina Hawe & Gudrun Kremeier and I  are comparing the ‘Jackson’ Stradivari violin from 1714 to an unvarnished copy by Jeff Phillips and Antoine Nedelec.  Together we three are looking rather critical of their work but it was a beautifully made violin.  I look forward to see it varnished and playing it next year!

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Above photo credit: violin maker David Van Zandt.

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    About

    Guy Harrison Violin Maker
    792 Gladstone Avenue
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1R 6X9
    Tel: 613 569 4803

    1997 Silver medal for viola in the Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition, Germany.

    2010 Bronze medal for violin in the Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition, Germany.

    2014 Workmanship award for violin in the Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition, Germany.

    2016 Silver Workmanship medal for cello in the VSA Violin Making Competition, USA.

    Member of the American Federation of Violin & Bow Makers and Violin Society of America.

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