Luthier to the stars

Posted on: July 1, 2010

In Tuesday’s (6/29) Wall Street Journal, Matthew Rivera writes, “Before Samuel Zygmuntowicz begins building one of his famed instruments, he walks into his wood room and runs his hands over the many slabs, shingles and samples of lumber he’s been collecting since the 1970s. … He taps the wood to hear its resonance, and digs his fingers through the grain to test toughness. Mr. Zygmuntowicz is so meticulous because the instruments he builds are the tools of a profession known for absolute perfection. Isaac Stern, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell and the entire Emerson String Quartet all have played his violins, violas and cellos. Aaron Boyd, a violinist and concertmaster for the Tuscon Philharmonic, says that while other luthiers often charge for maintenance, or don’t want to be bothered with the many small fixes an instrument requires, Mr. Zygmuntowicz is known for being flexible and curious about how to make improvements for a particular player. … Mr. Zygmuntowicz, 53, works in a modest studio in a brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He began his career as a journeyman, fine-tuning famous fiddles dropped off at a repair shop that was ‘like a pit stop for violinists.’ ”

Posted July 1, 2010