PaintbrushPhotography

Karl Stobbe

A lover of all things violin, Karl Stobbe is at home in the violin world as both performer and craftsman. He completed a Master’s of Music at Indiana University in performance, with a minor in violin repair and construction. He spent 5 years living a double life as a violinist and a luthier before realizing he was a better player than builder, at which time he put his tools away to make room for practicing. Although occasional relapses still see him playing in the workshop, he has gone on to be one of Canada’s most accomplished violinists, working as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and concertmaster. His recording of Ysaÿe’s Solo Violin Sonatas was nominated for a JUNO award in 2014. His personal website is www.karlstobbe.com.

Karl’s passion for the construction and mechanics of the violin has continued to play an important role in his life, and he has frequent opportunities to see and play exceptional violins and bows. He has given multiple presentations on the history of the violin family, violin building and repair, and is often asked to give lectures and lecture recitals on rare, fine instruments at concert halls, art galleries, universities, and conservatories.

Karl was encouraged to co-create the Violin Addicts Anonymous website by his daughter, who, after watching her father and friend spend several days looking at a set of violins on the Internet, sarcastically suggested that we start a website to help violin addicts. After a minute where she watched our heads triple in size and explode, she looked back in resignation and said, “I’m not coding it for you!”

image

Jeremy Buzash

After my parents witnessed me playing “violin” with two plastic golf clubs at the age of 2, they decided it was a good idea to put me in violin lessons. I had always been interested in playing the violin since my uncle was a violinist, but I didn’t really become passionate about the instruments themselves until I began my own search for one.
 
If I had to choose the defining moment of the part of my life that is instruments, I would say it was in the summer of 2004 when I saw my first Stradivarius at the age of 17. I was taking lessons from the teacher of my teacher in Toronto and he advised me to get some work done on the instrument I had at the time. He sent me to the firm of George Heinl & Co. in downtown Toronto and while I was waiting for my violin to be finished, the head of sales asked me if I had ever seen a Stradivarius before; of course, my answer was an emphatic “no.” I remember him turning the corner with a gorgeous red violin in his hands. After having a blast playing on it for a half an hour in the store front, I quickly came to appreciate it’s gorgeous red varnish and its beautiful tone, pausing every few concerto passages just to look at it.
 
About five years later, I began my own search for a new instrument and I quickly became obsessed. I soon began to devour everything available online that I could. I began following every auction, reading forums, examining photos, and memorizing maker’s names, their styles, and general price ranges. Violins and bows more or less became like faces; I could recall most instrument forms I had seen and learned to identify new fiddles. It was when I met a violin collector in 2013 that my knack for identifying things finally became useful.
 
In the summer of 2013, I was invited to New York to meet with a violin collector, also a big violin geek, who very quickly became a great friend. We spent a week visiting as many violin shops as we could, carting around multimillion dollar fiddles, and playing chamber music with newfound friends. I was then invited out to his house in California for another week the day after I left New York, where we continued to visit shops and take trips to nearby cities. Seeing so many instruments and bows in such a short timespan was overwhelming, yet an excellent opportunity to increase my internal storage of instrument faces! Over the next few months, he continued to invite me on countless trips to see instruments and I would also receive a continuous stream of photographs via iMessage.
 
Since that time, I have had the opportunity through my friend to buy an important contemporary violin, a real gem of a fiddle that I love and will keep as long as I can. Suffice it to say, I find real beauty in fine stringed instruments and I continue to relish any opportunity to see and play more of them!