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Perhaps I was meant to be a craftsman. I was born to a family of artisans. My father was a photographer, artist and cabinetmaker who came here from Russia. My mother was a photographer, portrait painter and a music lover. They filled our home with beauty and my young life with the joys of music, art and crafts. In turn I was a creative child. I drew, painted and worked with wood. At age six my mother took me to painting classes. At age ten I began violin lessons.  By the end of my childhood music had captured my heart but my soul belonged to the crafts.

As a violinist my interest in bowmaking began in college where I attempted to make a  " Bach" bow to play his Unaccompanied Violin Sonatas and Partitas. I continued to pursue violin performance in graduate school where I was a student of artists Ruth Posselt and Richard Burgin. It was then that I had discovered my true calling. With a fascination for bows and only a modest talent for the violin, I decided to become a bowmaker. My studies were redirected and I set up 'shop' in my apartment closet. In 1975 I completed my first bow.

After receiving my masterís degree I accepted a job as bowmaker with Emile Baran Instruments in Decatur, Georgia. In 1980 I rented a studio in the Artist's Space of Nexus Inc. where I independently made, repaired and studied bows. During this time I also worked closely with the concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, William Steck, for critiques and advice. When Mr. Steck became concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra, he and others asked me to relocate to the Washington, D.C. area to further my career. In 1983 I opened my shop in the Torpedo Factory Art Center of Alexandria, Virginia. In 2001 I moved to commercial district of Old Town Alexandria and worked in association with violin maker Michael Weller. In 2017 I retired by public business to set up a home-based studio.

Today I continue to develop my craft. My goal is to be a master practitioner of my craft and to be an integral part of the musical community. I try to achieve that in the following ways by creating bows of high level artistry and functionality, by maintaining them through the preservation of their originality and enhancement of their usability, by increasing my professional skills and knowledge, by diversifying my creative output, by giving accurate and reliable appraisals and opinions on bows  and by selling my work and services through the operation of a sound business.

For the past three decades I have offered to bowmaking my intelligence, dedication and skills. And in the service of music I hope to continue for many years to come.

 

Of Distinction

  • Gold mounted 'COHEN' violin bow accepted into the permanent  collection of  the Smithsonian Musical Instrument collection, December, 2011.
  • U.S. Premiere of Cello Concerto No. 2 by Krzystof Penderdki, performed by Mstislav Rostropovich with the National Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Krzystof Pendereki. November, 1983.  Instruments used in performance: 'STRAD' cello, 'COHEN' bow.
  • Many world premieres of contemporary music performed by  Anna-Sophie Mutter with her 'STRAD' violin and 'COHEN' bows    since 1983.

Exhibitions and Awards

  • " Certificate of Eminent Playability" Fifth International Competition  and Exhibition of The Violin Society of America. November, 1983. Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • " A Regional Exhibition of Contemporary Crafts" Atlanta, GA, 1981  Juried, cataloged exhibition.
  • The High Museum of Art, " Artists of Georgia, 1980." Juried,    cataloged  exhibition.

Inventions

  • "The Hair Bender"  A compound clamp for precission bow rehairing. Patent pending.

Publications

  • THE RED BOOK, Auction Price Guide of Authentic Stringed Instruments and Bows, 2006, 2009 and 2012 Editions.

Public Speaker

  • Guest speaker at Smithsonian's National Museum of American  History to introduce the art of bow making and the " Jano  Shultz"   bow   collection to museum patrons. 1995.
  • Interviewed on NBC's " Sunday Today" with Al Roker, 1991.

Copyright (c) 2008-2017 Donald M. Cohen, LLC. All rights reserved.