John Hird, 3rd year violist at Birmingham Conservatoire, writes on the exhibitions by Luthiers and other Viola related stands.
Throughout the Viola Day, Instrument makers, repairers as well as dealers and restorers set up stalls within the Conservatoire, displaying newly made and restored Violas, Violins as well as a Cello here and there. These wonderful instruments were made by the makers and restorers:
- Paul Ayres
- David Milward
- Tony Padday
- Kai-Thomas Roth
- Rod Ward
Instruments were available to be played and tested. It was also a great time for students and staff to talk to the Luthiers about the instruments as well as make contacts for future purchases and work. I myself tested a few violas throughout the day with a few of my friends. Although for me, “Window shopping” with instruments is a little like torture knowing being a student doesn’t exactly put me in the best financial situation to be looking at such high quality instruments, especially after just buying my first Viola. However it was amazing and also a pleasure to see and hear so many violas with such unique characters and voices.
I have to say for me it was a great learning experience. Being new to the Viola world it was great to learn about the subtleties that create such a diverse array of sounds and timbres such as string length. A great day for string players especially, those who I know are looking for new instruments.