American Master: William Salchow

Salchow three quarter

With a career spanning six decades, William Salchow has had a huge influence on bow making in America. In this November 2012 interview conducted by former student Sue Lipkins, Salchow talks about everything from Wurlitzer’s and Mirecourt to creating the perfect head

William Salchow has had a hand in teaching most of the bow makers currently working in the US today. His generosity of spirit and innovative thinking have influenced the core of the American bow making school, which he has infused with the French tradition. Bill’s shop in New York City, where he has worked making, restoring and selling bows has been a magnet for musicians and bow makers alike. Bill gave me my start in bow making in the early 1980s and I had the chance to visit him in his home in Goldens Bridge, New York, in July 2012. I was curious about his musical beginnings as a cellist, about his crossing over from player to maker and about his early training in France. I spent a glorious couple of hours in his company, with his two cats Blackie and Gabriel listening in and myriad hummingbirds making an appearance at the feeder, strategically placed in front of the bay window.

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