Monday, September 10, 2007

Geoffrey Allison, crafting violins in Iraq

This photo of Sgt. Allison is from the Cape Cod Times, Associated Press.

Today, the Cape Cod Times ran this story of U.S. Army Sgt. Geoffrey Allison, who crafts violins in his spare time. Now stationed in Huntsville, Alabama, he made 6 violins while on his 13-month tour of duty in Iraq, 30 since he began learning the craft. What an excellent use of downtime! I trust it also provided some stress-relief and spread the joy of music to others.

I particularly like this part of the story: "I've just been dying to make cellos. It's probably the most beautiful instrument, maybe even surpassing the violin. When you hear a cello play, you know it's a cello. It's got such a rich, deep sound."


cellodonna said...

Ahhh yes, I liked the cello quote too.
This story was in our local paper last week with a close-up b&w photo of Allison working on a violin. This colorful view of his work area is much more interesting. Thanks for posting. It's good to see this kind of topic getting publicity. (There was also a little blurb about him in a recent Strings Mag.)

On a related topic: I know I mentioned it before (but can't remember to whom) ... there's a really good book out called "The Violin Maker" by John Marchese. He follows a luthier through the process of making a violin for Emerson String Quartet member Eugene Drucker. And I recently saw in the current issue of Strings that now Drucker has written a novel called "The Savior"

Maricello said...

When I googled his name to find the article online (after reading it in the paper), I found Sgt. Allison all over the place: MSNBC, AOL, Yahoo, Newsweek, Woodworking Hobbyist, etc. I wondered if there was anyone who hadn't read the story. But I liked it and wanted to post it.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I haven't read that one (but saw your recommendation on CelloGeek's blog), and will look for it.

I have two other books (largely still unread by me) that you might be interested in:

Stradivari's Genius, by Toby Faber, about the construction and history of five violins and one cello made by Stadivari.

The Adventures of a Cello by Carlos Prieto, in which he traces the history of his own cello, also made by Stradivari.

Actually, I ordered Adventures of a Cello in a hurry on Amazon, after ordering something else. I think I thought it was a novel. :-)

So, I will look for Savior, though the subject matter sounds a little grim.

I have two cellos, one made in 1888 and one made in 2007. I should write (imagine, in the case of the 1888 instrument) their histories, even if they are not so glorious as the history of other instruments!

Anonymous said...

I bought a vilon from Geoffey for my wife who is a soloist. We have a pedrazzini and she was playing on a guarneri on loan from a trust. My wife Loves her "Allison" and we have been fortunate to visit his workshop and have become friends with Geoffery. He is such a mellow person and so passionate about his insruments.