String players fiddle around

Sixty people crowded the Metzler Violin Shop on Central Avenue on Sunday to hear musicians play stringed instruments handmade in Italy.

The violas, cellos and violins, shipped from Cremona, in northern Italy, were put up for sale during the shop’s 13th annual exhibition on Sunday afternoon. Visitors had the opportunity to play the instruments themselves for two minutes each in the shop’s practice rooms after hearing the musicians.

The room was quiet as Leah Metzler, daughter of the shop’s owners, played six cellos that were for sale. Metzler, along with violinist Danielle Belen and violist Gherman Markosian, played to give the audience on hand a sense of each instrument’s sound.

Curtis Yule of Eagle Rock, a beginning cellist, attended the event with a keen interest in the instruments — but with no intent to purchase.

“I wanted to get a sense of how it hears,” he said. “I can’t afford any of this.”

Instruments ranged in price from $9,000 to $38,000. Each includes a certificate of authenticity and a DVD containing footage of the stages of the construction process. The DVD, shop owner Thomas Metzler noted, is meant to combat any suspicion that the instruments are made elsewhere, and not by hand in the famed Italian town.

Cremona has been known as the home of luthiers for centuries — the workshop of Antonio Stradivari was in Cremona in the early 1700s. In them, he crafted unrivaled violins of spruce and maple. Artisans now come from South America and Asia to make a living there.

“It’s an international city,” Metzler said.


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