Many years ago I
began learning about instrument-building from an organ-builder in
Los Angeles named Winfried Banzhaf. This was a brief stint, but
my first exposure to the work of a professional builder. Then I
worked with Lyn Elder when he had his workshop in San Rafael.
About Alexandra Saur
I made my
first viol in 1986 in Lyn Elder's workshop in San Rafael. After
working with him for a few years, I opened my own shop in Oakland
in 1989. When asked what I love about building viols, I found the
answer hard to put into words - there is so much. On a real visceral
level, being in the shop creating instruments is peaceful. The transformation
from wood and glue and varnish to musical instrument is magical.
I wish I could find the right words to describe it.
As a musician,
my first instrument is the pipe organ, second is the viol. They
are so different! I tend to seek out the energetic, joyful music
on the organ but the viol to me is so much more melancholy and meditative.
I can always play organ, but there have been times when I could
not stand to go into that reflective place where the viol takes
me. Right now I'm studying viol with Roy Whelden.