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The Violin Maestro of Brooklyn

2018-12-11 14:15
In the middle of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, in a workshop, is where some of the world’s finest handcrafted violins, violas, and cellos are made. Paul Crowley has been making instruments since he was a teenager. Near the end of highschool, he made his own guitar by following instructions in a book. [[Soundbite: Paul Crowley: Maker of Fine Instruments]] “It’s kind of an amazing feeling to have created something from nothing. It just kind of kindled a passion to make things, for me.” His passion for making guitars led him to learn violin making. He attended North Bennet Street School of craftsmanship in Boston, and graduated in 2002. [[Soundbite: Paul Crowley: Maker of Fine Instruments]] “School is something where you learn kind of the basics how to make a violin-shaped object. A violin is a really complicated instrument. There are so many things to it, and it takes really a lifetime of learning to really figure out how to do it well.” After working under renowned cello maker Michele Ashley, Crowley decided he wanted to make his own instruments. “The early years were really rough. It was a difficult process to gain a name and to figure out how to sell things and how to actually make a marketable instrument. You have to really learn how to make what sounds good and what musicians want. I had to figure that out really quickly to be able to pay my bills.” He’s had to work long hours and make a lot of personal sacrifices to build his career, but now he’s at the stage where he’s able to balance things better. The process of creating an instrument is long, painstaking, and requires diligent attention to detail. There are many different steps, from picking the wood to carving the scroll, and each step is critically important. [[Soundbite: Paul Crowley: Maker of Fine Instruments]] “Building a good violin isn’t about one thing. There’s no secret of Stradivari or one single secret; it’s a combination of every single little teeny detail.” Every instrument he’s made is dear to him and Crowley has made instruments for some of the world’s most talented musicians. Despite all that, he remains humble. What he enjoys most is building relationships with the musicians who play his instruments. [[Soundbite: Paul Crowley: Maker of Fine Instruments]] “It feels great, and it’s really nice to come out and support the musicians who are playing my work. There’s a deep sense of satisfaction having made something that [someone] can carry into a concert hall, and that sounds, hopefully, beautiful. I kind of see it as creating good in the world.”