Obituary: Violin maker Carleen Hutchins, 98

Posted on: August 10, 2009

In Sunday’s (8/9) New York Times , Margalit Fox writes, “In the mid-20th century, when Carleen Hutchins was at the height of her career, it was unusual enough for a woman to make violins. It was even more unusual for a violin maker to conduct hands-on acoustic research, harnessing technology so that modern hands might build instruments to rival the work of 17th- and 18-century masters. But Mrs. Hutchins did something more unusual still. Working intently and noisily in her home in Montclair, N.J., she helped reimagine the idea of what a violin could be. In the process she designed and built an entire family of violins, eight instruments proportional in size and pitch known collectively as the new violin family or the violin octet. … Mrs. Hutchins died on Friday at 98. The death, at her home in Wolfeboro, N.H., where she had lived recently, was confirmed by her daughter, Cassie Coons. Internationally known for her work in violin acoustics, Mrs. Hutchins received a Guggenheim Fellowship and was often in the news. The cellist Yo-Yo Ma recorded Bartok’s Viola Concerto using one of Mrs. Hutchins’s alto violins.”

Posted August 10, 2009