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Monday 24 June 2019

A Loan with Resonance

Momo and Matilda with violins 300

Former pupil Edmund Coxon (1972 – 1983) visited St Mary’s Music School near the end of term, with a very special delivery for pupil Momo Ueda (S5), who will be entering her final year in 2019 / 2020.  Wrapped in an ornate paisley silk protective blanket was one of a pair of violins made by luthier and former pupil Neil Ertz (1978 – 1983), as a loan to senior pupils at the School.

For 25 years Ed Coxon performed with a range of orchestras and ensembles including the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Lyric String Quartet and Academy of St Martin’s in the Field.  Following a career change outside of the music industry, Ed wanted to ensure that his children each had an instrument that had a connection to both his family and St Mary’s Music School.  He commissioned Neil Ertz to make two violins that were named the ‘Edinburgh Brothers’ as they were brothers in build and for Ed’s sons as brothers.

A special commission

After graduating from St Mary’s Music School, Neil Ertz entered the violin-making profession and went to work in some of the leading restoration workshops of Holland, France and Germany.  He concentrated on the detailed restoration and building accurate copies of the classical Italian masters that have since gained a worldwide reputation for their quality in both sound and style.

At the start of the process, wood was selected from Neil’s workshop to make a copy of a double-backed Stradivarius and a copy of a single backed del Gesu.  This commission included a newly designed label by Ed’s mother-in-law, the distinguished poet and former Edinburgh Makar, Valerie Gillies.  Neil reflected that these two violins were the finest achievements of his career, a comment of added poignancy owing to his sudden and unexpected death aged 50 in 2016 just weeks after the completion of the violins.

A valuable legacy

The loan of both instruments will cross over for the first time during the Senior Orchestra at the Summer Concert.  Matilda Sacco (S6) will perform on the copy of the Stradivarius after a year-long loan, and Momo will play the copy of the del Gesu for the forthcoming year.

Momo Ueda is a Scottish-born violinist at St Mary’s Music School studying with Francis Cummings. She started playing the violin at four years of age, studying with Andrea Gajic and has attended St Mary’s Music School Saturday Music Classes and the RCS Junior conservatoire. She has participated and held positions in the Junior and Senior Orchestras of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain since she was 14.

Matilda Sacco is a 17 year-old violinist from Edinburgh in her final year at St Mary’s Music School, currently studying with Andrea Gajic. Matilda has taken part in the Edinburgh Competition Festival, where she received 2nd place in the string class and has previously won the Waddell Medal. She has previously played for NYOS and led her school orchestra, and is now a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. In the autumn Matilda will continue her studies at the Royal College of Music.

Ed’s intention is for these instruments to be played, enjoyed and cared for by the most deserving St Mary’s Music School senior pupils until such time as his own children develop an interest in playing the violins, or wish to continue his support of the school through the on-going loan of the ‘Edinburgh Brothers’.

This loan is central to the mission of St Mary’s Music School, providing outstanding young instrumentalists the opportunity to flourish and excel musically in an inspiring environment.

If you wish to support the pupils of St Mary's Music School

If you wish to support St Mary’s Music School, please contact the Development Office on 0131 538 7766 or e-mail development@st-marys-music-school.co.uk to arrange for a conversation with a member of staff.

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