Steffen Nowak, Maker of fine Violins, Violas and Cellos in baroque and modern style

 

Violin after Gasparo da Salo - the ex 'Kievman'

A viola after the smallest surviving intact and uncut Viola of the Brescian master, showing flowing lines, spontaneous carving and a decorated back. At 390mm back length (15 3/8'') and a string length of 352mm this is an excellent and easily playable viola, with a surprising large sound. The full yet elegant arching together with a strong C-bout contributes to the resonating quality of this instrument.
I choose well-seasoned tonewood from my stock, closely matching the original: a rippled maple slab back displaying a prominent figure, and a wider grained Alpine spruce front.
The traditional oil resin varnish of my own composition, a rich red brown transparent colour over a golden light brown ground. The shaded and lightly antiqued finish showing some patina and craquele.

A note on the history of the original instrument:
This fine viola passed through various dealers hands and collectors from the 2cd. half of the 19th. century like Zach in Vienna, Hills in London, Wurlitzer and J. Francais in New York, but a long term owner of it was the US American musician Louis Kievman who used it from 1955 to 1989.  Mr. Kievman was born in Naugatuck, Conn. in 1910, and studied with the violinists Franz Kniesel and Jascha Jacobsen in New York City. In 1932 he switched to viola from violin. He was a member of  the Musical Art Quartet, performed with the New Friends of Rhythm - a jazz ensemble, the Stuyvesant Quartet as well as with Arturo Toscanini's NBC Symphony.

My own creation after this great small viola hopes to stand up for itself over the next generations. The sound is big, belying its size, even and very responsive.

 

 

     

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