DAVID JURITZ - concertmaster of the London Mozart Players.
" When I commissioned my violin from Brian Lisus we spent some time talking about what I was looking for in an instrument. Six years on I have to say I am delighted with the outcome of our discussion. I have played my Lisus violin in both orchestral and chamber groups and have found it to be an instrument of great character, combining a flexible sound with real carrying power. It is a responsive violin with a tone that is even and rich throughout it's range. As I expected of a superb craftsman, he has produced a fiddle that is easy on the eye as well as being most rewarding to play. "
by musicians who play my instruments
PROFESSOR WALTER MONY - was sub principal of the London Symphony Orchestra and professor emeritus at Wits University. Walter passed away in January 2009.
" The violin made for me by Brian Lisus in 1988 entitled 'Mechaieh' matches the husky, sensuousness of my French violin ( Nicholas Lupot ) and the scintillating brilliance of my Italian ( Pressenda ). "
ROBYN GLASSON - is a violist in the San Diego Symphony. She is also Principal Viola of the San Diego Chamber Orchestra.
"My Lisus viola named 'Ubuntu' is a pleasure to play as it presents me with a wide variety of tone colours to choose from for the various settings I find myself in - orchestral, chamber and solo. The tone is even and rich with impressive carrying power."
From: Jessica Mary Clarke [email@example.com]
Sent: Sun, Jul 22, 2012 at 5:59 PM
I have just arrived home. I am overwhelmed by my new cello. It is truly all I ever dreamed and hoped a cello would be for me one day. I have always felt that a cello has its own soul but now I am convinced of that. What is more, that the soul resonates to that of the right player of the instrument and what I find so beautiful is that you are clearly the most perfect channel for that connection. Not only is your craftsmanship as accomplished as it is, but somewhere in this process of making an instrument for a particular person, there is a real magic at play in that you have given this cello the soul I have searched for.
This is so truly inspiring for me and what an extraordinary and exciting journey it will be for me now to bring life to this magnificent being. I am deeply moved and feel truly blessed to take on this instrument. I thank you with all my heart and hope to do it justice.
With love and thanks,
KARIN GAERTNER - held the position of Principal Viola in the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.
"My Lisus viola, 'Ilanga', ended a lengthy search for an instrument which possessed both the warmth and evenness of tone required for chamber music as well as the clarity and projection necessary for solo performance. Apart from being beautifully crafted and pleasing to the eye, its responsiveness makes it a pleasure to play."
PHILIPPE CAUCHEFER - Principal cellist - Cannes Chamber Orchestra (FRANCE)
" Last April, I had the opportunity to meet Brian Lisus in Capetown. As a matter of fact, I was looking for a cello of high quality as I was performing two concerts in South Africa with my pianist Marika Hofmeyr. Brian immediatly offered me to perform on his "newly born" cello dedicated to Joe Sack. What an enchanting experience ! His cello was really amazing, beautiful, very easy to play and with a very warm and even sound. I adopted it right away and I would really like to play it again. Brian is an excellent cello maker and I wish him all the succes he deserves."
LINDA KIDWELL - Sub Principal Viola of the English National Ballet.
" I was lucky enough to acquire the 'Lusikisiki' viola at the start of my career. It has all the vital attributes of a great orchestral instrument; an expansive palette of colour and dynamic range, an ability to blend whilst making a positive contribution to collective sound, and a lovely balance and evenness of tone across the strings. The projection and fast response is excellent, with a particular brilliance in the upper registers beautifully complimenting the rich sonority of the C string. The greatest joy in playing this viola is the artistic freedom the player has, safe in the knowledge that the viola will respond to what it is asked to do. It is this versatility and flexibility of sound that brings me so much pleasure and it is for that reason that I rate my Lisus viola so highly."
PETER MARTENS - Soloist and recording artist
" I have had the privilege to try out many modern instruments and I cannot recall one that is finer than your latest. It is quite large, but very elegant and I could find no fault in the beautiful workmanship. The tone is exceptionally clear and although I would not say it is loud, there is no lack of power. The tone has a well rounded quality with enough volume to serve today's world class concerto soloist. I particularly liked the ease at which one could play in the very high registers of every string. Although there was no lack of brilliance in the tone, I personally prefer a slightly higher bridge that may enhance that department even more. I must point out that although I prefer the higher bridge, there was no buzzing of any kind. The cello has a very even sound and for that reason I would recommend a set of soloist edition Larson strings( with the normal C as the Soloist C is not yet out) I use the this on my Locy Hill that has a similar evenness of tone. I would be honoured to own such an instrument and can only dream of the beauty of tone developing as the already magnificent sounding instrument ages.
To summarize: This cello is in a class with the finest instruments made today and at an extremely reasonable price! "
AVIGAIL BUSHAKOVITZ - at present she studies violin with Sylvia Rosenberg at the Juilliard in New York.
" Brian Lisus made my violin in August 2000. I had only recently switched to a full-sized violin from my three quater. Naturally, my initial reaction as a 12-year-old to my new violin was delight in the fullness of sound, beauty of the instrument and richness in tone. In the last eight years, as my experience, knowledge and proficiency have grown, I have increasingly come to appreciate Brian's handiwork.
I am currently studying violin at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, and the violin has been my faithful companion across South Africa, Europe and the USA. The violin has a maturity quite phenomenal for a relatively young instrument. My violin allows me to play with a variety of tonal colours. In addition to its strong sound that can carry and the sweetness in tone, the instrument is a real beauty. Brian's precision is especially admirable - the scroll alone is very delicately cut. I adore the colour, not even to mention the exquisite drawing on the back made by Caryl Blomkamp, which makes my instrument even more unique. I especially appreciate Brian's professionalism and fondness for each of his instruments. He is always prepared to work on my violin, sometimes with almost no notice! He treats it with love and utmost care, and I enjoy seeing the pleasure he takes in the end result of his labour. Thank you for my violin, Brian! "
From: Brown, Michael J. [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 6:05 PM
Subject: greetings from a violinist in Seattle
I met David Juritz in Seattle this week and both heard him play and myself played your violin. It's a beautiful instrument with a beautiful tone -- responsive, balanced, expressive, quick, terrific under the ear and at a distance. In the last few months I have played a couple of Stradivari in New York, a good Gaudagnini, two Gaglianos, a J. B. Vuillaume and a Ste. Cecile Vuillaume, a Landolfi (like the one I grew up on, but authentic!) and a few other big violins. Violins are like people, and a player's appreciation of them is limited, in a manner of speaking, by mutual intelligence, mutual facility and desire. Your violin was all I ask, and more than I expect. Congratulations.
From: Kenneth Koransky [TENORONE@MSN.COM]
Sent: Tue 6/19/2007 3:47 AM
Subject: My new violin "La Zingara"
I am writing to give you an update on my new violin, which a you know was strung up for the first time on February 2nd this year, which makes it barely four months old. From the very first note played on this instrument, I knew you had in fact created a true masterpiece, a concert violin, with a world-class sound. Now just a few short months later, this violin never ceases to thrill and amaze me. I play it almost every day and its sound has grown not only in size, but in warmth, roundness and sonority. It's a joy to play and on the few occasions that I've had other violinists play it, it's even more wonderful to listen to. The G string is dark, woody and sounds like a true concert Italian violin a few hundred years old. The other strings soar with brilliance and beauty. I recently had Ivan Simonovic, who works with Rene Morel and is regarded a one of the world's leading violin and sound experts examine the violin. Simonovic has worked on many concert Stradivaris, Del Jesu's, including the Isaac Stern's Panette, as well as Menuhin's Guarnerius. He is tremendously highly regarded in the world of leading soloists who trust him to make sure the set-ups on their violins is optimum, so I was eager to have him see my violin. He held the violin for quire a few minutes, turning it this way and that. After about ten minutes, he was highly complimentary about your masterful craftsmanship and perfect workmanship He was very impressed with the precision and execution, and said that is among the best of all contemporary violins he has examined. "Now it's time to hear it!" he said. First he played and then I played. He absolutely loved the tone. He said if there was one area that modern violins cannot compete with the old Italians it was high up on the G string. Well, La Zingara did not disappoint. The clarity and beauty of that violin's G string even in the extreme high notes, amazed him as well as me. "Excellent, most unusual for a brand new violin!" he exclaimed. Another fabulous violinist who studied with Heifetz played it and felt it would mature into a world class concert instrument. So what more can I say other than thank you for this magnificent violin. You cannot imagine how I am enjoying it and love playing it. It's so responsive and I am thrilled with it's daily growth. I hope you will be in the States soon, so you will be able to hear for yourself how much it has matured and opened up since you strung it up. I'm also hoping to have Elmar Oliveira who I know personally, play it later this summer. He enjoys contemporary violins, and I'm sure he's going to be very impressed with my glorious violin.
PETA ANN HOLDCROFT / RICHARDSON - is Associate Principal Cellist in the National Symphony Orchestra of South Africa.
" My Brian Lisus cello, made in 1994 has a beautiful warm, strong and resonant sound and is a pleasure to play. It has a rich, rust brown colour and the workmanship is superb. "
From: "Kenneth Choo" [Kenneth.Choo@AMmy.ey.com Monday, December 06, 2004 2:06 ]
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 6:05 PM
Subject:Hi Brian, just to say hello and give you an update
I hope you are keeping well? Kenneth Choo here, not sure if you remember me, but you made my beautiful "Tse Yun" violin in 1994 (I'm one of Walter Mony's many ex-students). I was just thinking of you and wanted to let you know how amazing my instrument continues to be. Being in the working world now I have less time to devote to practicing and playing my violin so progress is slower to come (especially technical progress) but lately I've been making one of those significant transitions in the course of a player's development and come again to realize just how amazing your instruments are.
This past week my Tse Yun has shown me more of it's incredible versatility in tonal colour and texture and ease of playing! In the past I've resolutely focused on my technical development (being a late starter and overzealous). While I remain dissatisfied with my many shortcomings, I discovered that there's so much more to making music than just the technical ability to master an instrument. Heaven knows there are innumerable technically impressive recordings out there, (e.g. Pagannini caprices played at warp speed) that leave a listener feeling un-fulfilled. I was practicing some Bach solo sonata's and partita's and suddenly discovered a "voice". I mean, as I was trying to work out the intricacies of the individual notes I suddenly heard a message in the music, as if from a singer vocalizing lyrics. As I replayed the movement with my focus bent on discovering more of these messages (non-technical phrasing I guess is what it is) the Tse Yun allowed me so much room for experimentation. Oh my goodness it's like I never truly played the violin before. What a great thing I have in my possession. Thank you again for your wonderful creation.
P.S. One of these days I'm going to have to visit you in your shop again for some varnish touch up. Damn those Eastman School of Music music stands. : ) Oh, and a very Merry Christmas to you too !
From: "Maryke Lintveld" [email@example.com]
Sent: March 09, 2016 10:17 PM
Subject: Violin wishes
I have been thinking of contacting you lately quite a lot and have just accessed your lovely website to find your email address.
The main reason is to tell you how much I have been enjoying my instrument (“Ucucula”) since ’84 when you made it for me in Wellington. I shall never forget the excitement of seeing it hang on one of the trees while drying after the first varnish! It has served me well all these 32 years - in teaching, in the orchestras and in the last 20 years or so playing gigs all over the place. Many people comment on the sound, especially so an accordion player I work with a lot, who says it is the best –sounding violin he has heard anywhere! It is still the only instrument I use and always ask my neighbours when I go away for the week-end or an occasional holiday, the only item that they have to save should there be a fire in the building!
Teaching is my main occupation and I currently have 25 students of all ages, shapes and talent, work from the Johnman Music School (www.johnmanmusicschool.co.za) in Stellenbosch and intend to keep on doing just than until I can’t anymore!
I really celebrate life and work, friends and family and count myself expremely blessed for still being able to live here in Stellenbosch and to be able to work. In the last ten years or so, I had to have a hip and also a knee replacement and back operation due to a bad injury in my 20’s, but otherwise life is beautiful. (One thing is certain though – I definitely do not get on onto motorbikes anymore!)
I do trust that you are in a similar position (minus the extra hardware of course!) and very happy in the States!
From: "Johanna Maenz"
Sent: Januarry 30, 2016
Subject: Remember Hefzi-Bah?
It's a long time ago we met. You made a Cello for me in 2002 when I was just 14 years old. Its name is "Hefzi-Bah".
Yesterday I went to great violin maker here in Germany and showed him the instrument. I wanted him to look at it, because in the past 14 years I've been just once to a violin maker. He looked at it, somehow astonished, and just told me "Congratulations". And: "A great instrument, special build, everything is fine. Enjoy it!" So here I am after 14 years for to say thank you to you.
What happened to me and my Cello till today: 2006 I started studying music and mathematics for being a teacher in prime school. I played my final exam on Hefzi-Bah in 2009 with best marks! Short after the cello-exam I gave birth to our daughter and finished the remaining exams. Sadly I stopped playing cello because of that situation.
In Germany you have to do a tuition at school and pass a second exam after university. I started the tuition when our daughter was just one year old.
The lessons were most precious to me. After half a year I took a break. My teacher then commended me for a job as a cello-teacher. So nowadays I work for a few hours as a cello-teacher and enjoy it very much.
In 2013 I gave birth to our son. That day I went to music school, because we met there with four or five cellists and played together. The birth contractions already slightly started then, but the music felt extremely good for my body and soul.
Something about four hours later I held our son in my arms after a short and beautiful birth. Somehow the Cello and I grew up together and are trying now to be adults :-) It is my soul-mate, though I often forget. I am not a star on the cello, but I love making music and being a cello-teacher.
Greetings from Germany,
Johanna with Hefzi-Bah. Back to the top
MICHAEL DUFFET - Cleveland Institute of Music, Yale University and currently working towards a PHD in violin performance at Boston University.
" Brian Lisus made me a violin in 2009. I have never looked back since! The workmanship is of the highest quality: Even from the first time it was played, people commented on its resonance and fullness of sound, and I still receive plenty of positive comments on the beautiful tone of the violin. I love the fact that each of the four strings are perfectly balanced making for a consistent, high-quality sound. I very much enjoy playing it as it is so responsive and feels so natural under my fingers.
I also really appreciated and enjoyed the fact that Brian kept me abreast of developments while making the violin and that he is consistently available for any minor work required on the violin. This is the only violin I have practiced and performed with in my years of study at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Yale University, and currently, Boston University, during which time it received much positive feedback from students and faculty alike.
In short, after a decade of playing this violin, I am still so very happy with this wonderful instrument."
Sent: May 15, 2017 at 5:09 AM
We are glad you arrived at home safely. We enjoyed your visit and we thank you for sharing many stories with us. Please come again, you are always welcome. We feel that you have some connections to Japan.
After coming back from the airport I took the golden cello out of the case, watched it and played it. It is wonderful, I love it and I am very happy you brought this precious instrument to me.
Several years ago I was thinking of a new cello and I said to myself that I not really like this sound with this strong ringing, szzzzzzzzzz, you know what I mean. When I listen to some professionals I hear this strong ringing. I like this compact, round tone which I hear from Kintogin and for me is important that it vibrates to my heart.
Please go slowly and have a good rest!