Last month Staff Folklorist Anne Rappaport Berliner Interviewed Luthier Stephen Iachetta of Shaker Violin Repair.
Check out an excerpt of their interview!
ARB: How did you get into playing and making?
SI: In third grade I started playing, at the age of 7. A gentleman in a dark suit and tie, thin black tie, Alberto Cavalieri came into our third grade class and said, “I’m sending around a signup sheet for orchestra class,” and I just signed on without any advance parental permission. Fortunately my parents did support it, and that’s how it all started. In the sixth grade, William Cridge, Shaker Middle School Orchestra Director and cellist in the Albany Symphony Orchestra, had a luthier shop in his basement. I served as apprentice, helping Bill, and I was doing a lot of violin work in sixth, seventh, eighth grade. I continued through high school, college and to this day.
ARB: Where do you source your wood from?
SI: I’m always on the hunt, been on the hunt my whole life usually from other luthiers and there’s a few good sources, but there’s no one market. It’s all word of mouth. Performance has been my steady sideline throughout my entire life and I’ve always been taking apart violins. For the past decade and a half, I’ve been committed to paying it forward for younger players and carrying forward my teacher’s work. In 2014, I acquired Herb George String Instruments of Delmar and I’ve carried forward his skills and also picked up ancient special tools and tone woods from other shops. It’s a network of luthier barter and exchange to some extent and, as we age, we want to pass on our tools to assure that the unique and special voice of violins and all violin family instruments can be heard and appreciated. This will help to make the world a better place.
You can visit Stephen’s website at https://shakerviolin.com or see Stephen and his band, The Friends Union Band, play on Sunday May 7th, Noon – 5pm at Albany History Day at the Cherry Hill Historic Site.