Photo: At the 2006 Oberlin Violin Makers Workshop.
I am Alkis S. Rappas, American maker of fine hand crafted violins and violas. I make violins and violas exclusively intended for professional musicians, advanced students and passionate amateur players.
I have been passionate about violins ever since starting violin lessons at the age of nine. Shortly after, I received three years of violin training at the George Enescu School of Music, Bucharest. However, at the age of seventeen I decided instead to pursue a career in chemical engineering and chemistry while continuing playing the violin in community orchestras. With a Diploma in Chemical Engineering from the Polytechnic University, Athens, Greece and a Ph.D. from Yale University, Engineering and Applied Science, I embarked on a successful career as an R&D engineer and inventor for the next 40 years in the USA.
I established my parallel violin making career in early 1980’s, prompted by Carleen Hutchins’ work on the acoustics of violins. At several of Ed Campbell’s Chimneys Violin Workshops, I learned the practical application of acoustic research in violin making. At the invitation of the world renowned restorer Vahakn Nigogosian (Nigo) I joined his unique annual Oberlin Violin Restoration workshop in 1992 which I attended till his death in 1997. I was fortunate indeed to continuously participate in all the subsequent annual Oberlin Violin Making workshops under the visionary direction of Christopher Germain, till the present. At Oberlin I expanded my knowledge and expertise by studying and extensively test-playing a number of classical violin masterpieces, as well as by open sharing of ideas, techniques and data with my many international colleagues and friends, including my close interaction with my friends at the concurrently held Oberlin Acoustics Workshop, under the direction of Fan Tao and Joe Curtin. Thus, I learned to apply in my own work the key elements of the Italian making traditions, style, character and tonal qualities.
Thirty years for participation at the annual VSA Oberlin Violin Makers Workshops, 1992-2021. With my gratitude to my mentors Nigo and Chris Germain, and all my international colleagues and friends over these years.
At the 1996 Oberlin Violin Restoration Workshop, the last under the direction of Vahakn Nigogosian (Nigo)
At the 1997 Oberlin Violin Makers Workshop, the first under the visionary direction of Christopher Germain.
At the 2021 Ashland OH Violin Makers Retreat, i.e., the "Mini Oberlin Violin Makers Workshop". Due to COVID 19 restrictions, it had a limited attendance of US makers only.
At the 2002 Oberlin Violin Makers Workshop. Included in the group picture are Gregg Alf's baby son, Leo, and Norm Pickering among the other distinguished international violin makers.
Key steps in my violin making process:
* Design my own or copy a classical Italian violin model
* Make the inside mould
* Computer generate my own, or copy the archings of old violins guided by CT scans and castings, and by properties of selected wood.
* Carve, graduate the plates to desired optimal acoustical caracteristics, generate graduation maps for documentation
* Assemble the instrument, set up in the white for initial playability test and tonal optimization as needed.
* Varnish either as new or moderately antiqued, using traditional linseed oil/pine resin recipies following the results of the latest research in the Stradivari/Cremonese varnishes (Brandmair & Greiner), and using a variety of application techniques for "painting" the desired picture and as dictated by the selected wood and varnishing materials
The Silver Medal for Tone awarded to my violin at the 2002 VSA Competition.
The Silver Medal for Tone awarded to my viola at the 2012 VSA Competition.
Second Place Medal for Tone awarded to my violin at the 2016 VMAAI competition, one of a number of trophies and certificates for my violins and violas awarded over the years at the VMAAI Competitions.
I am Alkis S. Rappas, American maker of fine hand crafted violins and violas. I make violins and violas exclusively intended for professional musicians, advanced students and passionate amateur players. The tonal and artistic qualities of these instruments result from the melding of both traditional Italian violin making methods and principles, and modern day research on the acoustics of violins. My instruments were awarded the VSA Silver Medal Tone in 2002 and 2012. A number of my instruments have also been awarded trophies, medals and certificates at the VMAAI Competitions.
My ASR Violin Studio is in Kingwood (i.e., Houston) Texas. My total focus is on creating violins and violas of superior tonal and reliable playability characteristics desired by professional musicians.
+1 281 312 0114
+1 832 527 7703
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