It is with great personal sadness to hear of William Salchow's passing on May 13, 2014. He was my former teacher, mentor and friend. One of the world's most respected bow makers. He was 88.

Born in 1926 in Detroit, Salchow began playing the cello at the age of 14. After serving in the US Army in World War II he played in the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra and studied the instrument with Georg-Ulrich von Bülow, a pupil of Emanuel Feuermann. Returning to the US he spent two years with Alexander Schuster at Michigan State University before studying with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School. He continued to have private lessons with Bernard Greenhouse while working in a factory and performing in a chamber orchestra, where in 1955 a friend suggested he demonstrate cellos at Rembert Wurlitzer’xs shop. A year later he began rehairing and repairing bows under Frank Passa.


With the help of cellist Luigi Silva, Salchow received a Fulbright grant to study bow making with Georges Barjonnet in Mirecourt, France. On his return to America he opened a shop in Carnegie Hall, but soon moved to his own premises in West 56th Street. He remained there for the next 23 years before moving to a new shop in West 54th Street. During that time he trained his son, Stephen Salchow, and grandson Isaac Salchow in the craft of bow making.


Salchow was one of the founding members of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, which began in 1980. The same year, he began teaching at UNH, training many of today’s finest bow makers in the craft. Among the string players who used Salchow bows over the years were Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein, Leonard Rose, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Glenn Dicterow, Arnold Steinhardt, Joseph Silverstein, Pamela Frank, and Ani and Ida Kavafian.


Interviewed in the November 2012 issue of The Strad Magazine.



Member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers

Member The Violin Society of America