I play on a violin made in Wroclaw, Poland in 2002 by Jerzy Burban. I bought it on my first trip to Poland, after a very long absence there. I went to visit my mother because she didn’t want to travel any more and we couldn’t keep meeting in Greece as we used to. We always met in Athens and Naxos Island, to be with the rest of our family.
So in 2002 in Warsaw I revisited one of my favorite places – the Luthiers‘ Union on Krakowskie Przedmiescie. It was still just the same. They happened to have a big collection of violins that participated in the recent International Luthiers‘ Competition, which took place shortly before I arrived in Warsaw. There were ALL THESE VIOLINS at the luthiers‘ union and they let me try them out…
I love my old violin. I still play it. My mother bought it for me when I was 12. It is an old, dark brown, German violin with a tender, dark tone. But it needed a lot of work and I was looking for something more powerful. Here I had a chance not only to see, but to also play on all these violins! I asked my mother to come with me.
I should mention here that my Mom was a musician; she was a solo opera singer, mezzo-soprano. Amazing voice, my role model for tone quality. So we were there together and she was listening to the sound of these violins that I was playing for her to help me choose one of about thirty. Finally it was a choice between three violins. I loved them all. She just said: „This one projects! It doesn’t project next to your ear maybe, but the sound comes out and peaks in the space between you and me. You have to take this violin“.
So I got it. I wasn’t expecting to buy a violin, I was planning to rent it to play at the concert I was performing at, but it ended up coming home with me.
By the time I arrived in New York City and showed it to my favorite luthiers here, I learned that the violin had already appreciated a hundred percent of what I paid for it. Now, eleven years later its tone has opened up some and I love it even more. It is still a work in progress…
My new violin is so much more powerful than my old violin and it’s a healthy instrument. I had so many problems, especially with intonation playing the old violin, because the past repairs have not been done properly on it, places didn’t match up, imbalance of measurements, etc. This violin is clear, everything right there, under the fingers. It only needed to be played, because it wasn’t broken in yet. No one owned it before me. It has the deep tone quality that I so like, but it projects stronger. I always think about my Mom, how both of my violins came from her.
I am very happy with my Polish violin. I feel so lucky I got it. I just love it!