The Octet

“The soprano violin has a warm tone colour and is very much appreciated. I even have a new piece written for it!”

Mieko Kanno, Professor at Sibelius Academy, Helsinki

“The bassetto has an equal sound in all positions from the lowest to the highest note. The timbre is silver, warm, clear, very overtone rich and bright. I have never played a better bass!”

Silvio Dalla Torre on the bassetto, professor double bass at Rostock university of music, Germany

“Without a shoulder rest, played a 2 octave G major scale in his shop and said: ‘I’ll have it’.
 It had a quality I had experienced when I was once permitted to play on a J.B. Guadagnini.”

Alan Baldwin on his mezzo violin, England

“People are amazed by how the high frequencies in a string-arrangement now sound rich and beautiful! Not ‘thin’ or ‘pale’ as an ordinary violin!”

Ole Hendrik Moe on the violino piccolo, composer violinist Oslo, Norway


In 1957, Carleen Hutchins decided to help Henry Brandt on his quest to develop a set of matched instruments with the tonal character and power of the violin, covering the entire range of written music. It was an investigation which took her 30 years. Each instrument has its two main resonances within a semitone of the tuning of its open middle strings, on the same place as a classical violin. The result is beyond a doubt a musical success.

An often heard comment: “One must hear the new instruments to believe such sounds are possible from strings.”

In 1619, Michael Praetorius described similar instruments in his Syntagma Musica, Bach composed music for some of them, Léo Sir and Frederick Dautrich built them.