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Peter was introduced to violin making and repairs by Deni Kutzena, who learned his craft at Schonbach, now Luby in the Czech Republic. Peter’s association with Deni began in 1988 and lasted until 1991.
From 1991 until 2000, Peter spent his time researching instrument making and repair techniques as well as completing a Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on timber and material production, acoustics and a Bachelor of Vocational Education and Training. In 2000, Peter began his own instrument repair business under the trade name of Peter Reid Violin Maker and Repairer, until it changed names to Sophia’s Strings, following the birth of his first granddaughter, Sophia (2011). Peter handcrafted his first violin in 2001.
Today the business is successfully operated by Peter and Frankie Reid, dealing in the additional expansion of restorations, hiring, products and teaching.
The past 20 years has seen Peter extend his ability from behind the maker’s work bench, to a proactive and motivated participant of the music/musician stage. As a supportive philanthropist he believes strongly in the sponsorship of the music industry, both locally and abroad. Sophia’s Strings has been committed to Orange Symphony Orchestra (where he is also a committee member) Colour City Chamber Orchestra, Mitchell Quartet and numerous school and educational programs.
Peter has been the luthier in residence at the Bathurst String Project and the Riverina Summer School for Strings, Wagga Wagga. Peter has also conducted repairs and restorations on a regular basis for Mitchell, Orange, Macquarie and Riverina Conservatoriums and recently the Pereira Cello Studio. The same service is extended to numerous private and public schools within the Central Western Region.
In 2015, Peter produced a beautifully handcrafted and unique quartet set (made in Australian timber, where all belly plates came from the one tree source of King William Pine, sourced from a 1000-year-old tree killed by fire in 1890. The backs, necks and sides sourced from 2 x 500-year-old Tasmanian Blackwood trees). We were pleased that the ‘quartet’ were purchased by Mitchell Conservatorium, where they are played by the Senior Student Academy. They also feature in the photo gallery of Tasmanian Special Timbers, Strachan, where the belly timber was sourced.
Peter prides his success and passion due to ongoing professional development and research in his field. He has been openly and warmly welcomed as a member into several associations such as The Violin Society of America, The British Violin Makers Association and The Australian Association of Stringed Instrument Makers.
His interests have taken him to Europe, particularly Cremona (Italy) and Germany as well as Oberlin USA, where he participates in the violin restoration courses, run by the VSA (Violin Society of America). This course is run by Jeffery Holmes and David Burgess (violins) and Jerry Pasewicz and David Orlin (bows) where Peter has been guided and mixed with some of the most illustrious professionals in the world.
Peter and Frankie are current members of AUSTA, participating in conferences and writing articles for the Stringendo Magazine. In addition, Peter is a committee member and convenor of the Australian Luthiers and Archetiers Congress. Refer to website www.alacongress.com and is currently outreaching for corporate funding and worldwide delegate participation.
Frankie has been a partner of Sophia’s Strings since its inception and was instrumental in many of the changes to the business, particularly the change of name from Peter Reid Violin Maker and Repairer with the birth of her granddaughter Sophia in 2011.
Originally a business that only revolved around the making and repairing of bowed stringed instruments, Frankie’s vision saw Sophia’s Strings progress to include instrument hiring, the introduction of product lines and music education. With her qualification in Business Services, Frankie also guides the business in sound fiscal management and marketing. It was also due to Frankie’s vision, that Sophia’s Strings was able to become sponsors and donors of individual students, school-based programmes, regional orchestras and ensembles as well as stringed workshops such as the Riverina Summer School for Strings at Wagga Wagga.
Whilst Frankie has been involved with the regional music fraternity for some years as a violin player (Bathurst Chamber Orchestra, Colour City Chamber Orchestra and Orange Symphony Orchestra), in 2015 she attended the Colour Strings Teachers Course held at the Australian National University and gained her Level 1 teachers’ certificate through this programme. Coupled with her Diploma of Early Childhood (1998), Frankie has introduced through Sophia’s Strings and independent early childhood music programme, that caters for infant students up to those in their mid-teens.
Violin is also taught to these age groups using such programmes as Colour Strings, AMEB and Suzuki pieces and solfege with such success that two of Frankie’s students gained 1st place in their first ever entry in the 2018 Orange Eisteddfod.
Frankie takes the matter of ongoing professional development seriously and as a consequence is in constant collaboration with players and conservatoriums on the local level as well as the interaction with players and parent associations in the United Kingdom, Europe and the USA.
As a partner of Sophia’s Strings, Frankie has travelled to Europe, particularly Cremona (Italy) where she had the good fortune to be able to play a Nicolo Amati violin and in Germany where she took an active role in discussions with suppliers as to the quality and styles of materials that Sophia’s Strings were to purchase.
Frankie and Peter are current members of AUSTA, participating in conferences and writing articles for the Stringendo Magazine (where she wrote an article of the challenges facing music industry businesses in regional Australia). Frankie has also written articles for such publications as Central West Lifestyle Magazine, Orange Life and has contributed to features published in the Central Western Daily and Bathurst Advocate.
Frankie continues to be active in the music industry within the region and is a major contributor to valued education (she also holds a Bachelor Degree in Nursing). She continues to be a partner of Sophia’s Strings, a committee member of the Australian Luthiers and Archetiers Congress and the Orange Symphony Orchestra and a violinist in both the Colour City Chamber and Orange Symphony Orchestras.