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Cox Violins

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It's the latest masterpiece from an internationally known violin maker. His special Made in Vermont stringed instrument was the star of the show at a recent VSO concert. 

It's the final Masterworks concert of the season for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. Kathy Andrew is the concertmaster for this performance, but her instrument is just as significant. "It's new, it's fresh, it's bright, and it's great," Andrews said.

The violin she is playing was made by Brattleboro's Douglas Cox. "There's certainly been some great inspiration making this instrument," Cox said.

Cox has made over 950 violins over the last 50 years.  He started making this one for the VSO back in October as a way to connect a diverse public to the world of music.

"Over the course of these months, we've been able to see this instrument literally evolve before our eyes," said Ben Cadwallader, The VSO's Executive Director.

People could track Doug's progress through a blog on his website and at Burlington's Flynn theater. "At our first concert the lobby was so mobbed with people that wanted to see the violin that it became a fire hazard," Cadwallader said.

"I think making instruments is interesting. It certainly is an essential -- if not hidden -- part of the whole process that makes music like this possible," Cox said.

The VSO is the only symphony orchestra in the country to commission a luthier to make a violin for a special performance.

"The purpose of the violin maker in-residence is to have people follow the process," Cox said.

"We have this internationally known artist right here in Vermont, right here in Brattleboro, turning out these incredible instruments that are shipped all over the globe and played by some of the best artists in the world," Cadwallader said.

"Vermont wood is being used to make Vermont instruments that have their one particular voice, just as this orchestra is producing music that in some ways is essentially Vermont music," Cox said.

Cox says that when a violin leaves his shop, it's only about 50-percent done. The rest is up to the musician.  On this night, it's in good hands. "I've seen a lot of Doug's violins and my students play a lot of Doug's violins and each one is remarkably different," Andrews said.

But the result is always the same, a sound suited for a symphony.  

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