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Like fathers, like sons

The Ouchard family of Mirecourt can accurately be described as a dynasty. This great family helped shape almost a century of French bow making and spread its influence far across the globe. Through its main characters, Emile Francois, Emile Auguste, Bernard and Jean Claude, we can trace the development of the Ouchard bow making style, from its humble origins in bows produced within a larger firm, to a distinctive model setting an example for generations of bow makers to come. In this article we take a particular look at the double bass bows of the Ouchard family, an often overlooked but intriguing part of the Ouchards’ rich history.

At the end of the 19th century, the Ouchards were known only within their native Mirecourt as a family of lace makers and lathe workers, although being in such a centre of musical instrument production they would have doubtless been acquainted with the numerous luthiers and bow makers operating in the town. It was in this trade that Emile Francois Ouchard was apprenticed at the age of 13, working with local bow making firm Cuniot-Hury under the guidance of Eug筥 Cuniot. Emile Francois had been born to single mother Adele Marguerite Ouchard on 30 April 1872, and it was perhaps this lack of a father that prompted Adele to seek employment for her son in the bow making business rather than encouraging him to follow her into the traditionally feminine career of lace making. It was here that the young Emile Francois flourished, soon mastering his technique and producing a large number of bows under the Cuniot-Hury name.

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About The Strad

We examine the 1677 ‘Romanov’ Nicolò Amati viola and the Royal Danish Orchestra’s instrument collection. Manfred Honeck explains how playing viola informs his conducting and Linus Roth discusses Weinberg. Plus the first in a two-part Berg Masterclass, with Leila Josefowicz.

Other Articles in this Issue

The Strad
Each great instrument has a story to tell. Waiting
Letters, emails, online comments
Can learning a musical instrument have a positi ve eff ect on a child’s mental health? Players and teachers give their thoughts on the psychological benefits for young people
An aerial journey for double bass and strings
Titanium continues its rise as a material for instrument fittings
Seven years after winning the BBC Young Musician competition, the British cellist discusses how different forms of music making inspire her
When a child wants to stop instrumental lessons, teachers have a duty to bring matters to a positive close, argues violin teacher Celia Cobb
This year’s Krzy?owa-Music event marked several anniversaries, among them the festival’s own fifth birthday. Tully Potter attended a wealth of chamber concerts featuring young musicians and established artists, each staged in venues of historical significance
Made in 1677, the ‘Romanov’ Nicolffati viola is one of the maker’s late masterpieces. Alberto Giordano and Rudolf Hopfner investigate its turbulent history and examine how it fits into the Amati family’s oeuvre
The Royal Danish Orchestra has been adding to its collection of fine stringed instruments for centuries – but there is revolution as well as evolution behind its distinctive string sound, which is unmistakable whatever the repertoire and whoever the conductor, finds Andrew Mellor
As the founder of Music in Vision, Kathleen Ross has built a business from supplying professional musicians for on-camera roles. Introducing instrumentalists to the world of film and TV can be challenging, but, she writes, ensuring that musicians in background parts are convincingly portrayed is well worth the effort
Rebecca Clarke’s 1923 Rhapsody for cello and piano was never publicly performed during the composer’s lifetime, and has only recently received proper attention in the hands of champions of British music Raphael Wallfisch and John York – who makes the case for the forgotten masterpiece as its score is finally published
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Emile Auguste Ouchard, as well as the 40th of his son Bernard – both regarded as among the 20th century’s finest bow makers. Thomas Martin, Andrew McGill, Martin Lawrence and George Martin examine the legacy of the Ouchard dynasty, particularly focusing on their double bass bows
Music director Manfred Honeck has brought a distinctly European flavour to the Pittsburgh Symphony. Gavin Dixon spoke to him at his summer festival in Wolfegg, Germany, as he prepared to embark on a tour of Europe with his Pittsburgh forces – and discovered how his time as a violist in the Vienna Philharmonic helped him to become the conductor he is today
A close look at the work of great and unusual makers
A sadly necessary task for all luthiers, which should have been taken care of by the manufacturer in the first place
A peek into lutherie workshops around the world
Points of interest to violin and bow makers
ln the first of two articles, Leila Josefowicz explores ideas of feverishness, hallucinati on, death and resurrecti on in the second movement of a great 20th-century concerto
How to inspire very young musicians to learn new cello playing skills
Your monthly critical round-up of performances, recordings and publications
The pseudonymous ‘L.H.W.’ gives his thoughts on teaching, in an article he might himself call ‘profuse and extravagant in expression’
The violinist has taken over as artistic director of
Weinberg’s Violin Concerto is a work of passionate intensity, as the German violinist found – even though he hadn’t encountered the composer unti l eight years ago