Thanks to a generous loan from the Rashid Collection, we are now fortunate to be playing on a set of instruments that were all crafted by the same maker.
Joseph Rashid, who passed away in March of 2009, was a prolific, if relatively unknown, maker in northern California who produced over 100 violins, five violas and two cellos over the course of his lifetime. What's remarkable is that he never sold a single instrument - while violin making was his passion, it was not his profession. By trade, Rashid was an aeronautical engineer and worked for the Northrop Corporation for 22 years, but violin making was his true calling. He kept his instruments in order to study and improve upon them and was constantly tweaking his methods in search of the finest results.
While he never sold any instruments, Rashid often lent them to prominent musicians so that the instruments' sounds could develop and he could get feedback on their qualities and playability. Notable violinists who have played on his violins include Glenn Dicterow and Joseph Gingold.
We are very excited for these new additions to our group, and we're looking forward to discovering the imstruments' personalities as they develop over the coming months. These instruments have been played very little, if at all, having been made between 1973 and 1991, but we can tell already that their sounds are well matched and complemetary to each other.
If you'd like to learn more about Joseph Rashid and his instruments, check out the website dedicated to the Rashid Collection:
Finally, we'd like to thank the Rashid family for their generosity in lending out these special pieces of their family's history, Kevin Bennett who curates the collection, the University of Colorado School of Music for helping to facilitate the loan, and Geri Walther of the Takács Quartet for instigating our meeting.