- Started in
- Musician type
- Host institution
- Leuven University
Violinist and violist Ellie Nimeroski studied early music at McGill University in Montreal and specializes in period instrument performance. For ten years she performed with Montreal’s numerous chamber ensembles, including Clavecin en Concert, La Nef and Arion, as well as in Toronto with Tafelmusik.
Since moving to Europe in 2012, she performs with Les Talens Lyriques, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie and Les Paladins. She is grateful to her teachers, violinist Florence Malgoire and bow-maker Bruno Sporcq.
With the Orpheus Institute as a focal point for her practice-led research, she travels to perform, to exchange and teach and to learn about violin bows and their art.
When bow maker François Xavier Tourte opened his workshop door to young Italian violinist Giovanni Batista Viotti, newly landed in Paris and blazing with ambition after his 1781 concert tour, their encounter literally set into motion the shaping of the “modern” violin bow. Tourte’s fine design would lead French bow making to the height of its brilliant reputation—continuing to outshine the competition, even today—and this bow model would set the stage for the French school’s bowing technique. Viotti’s playing legacy, associated with this bow’s new technical possibilities, was also harnessed by the post-revolutionary Paris conservatoire, his expressive bowing being especially valued by Baillot. At the closing of an epoch when violin bows were still identified by their players (rather than their makers), Viotti and Tourte were further bound by the bow’s name, given in Woldemar’s 1798 violin method as L’archet de Viotti.
Despite the clear connection between the two, their alleged encounter is only thinly described by Fétis in 1856, and historical records are at a loss. How did the revolutionary form of the bow come to be? What did the maker perceive in the player and how did it inspire him to render new musical intention into the materials? The artistic research delves into the early creative periods of both artists in ancien régime Paris, using my experiences in bow making and as a violinist to enact both perspectives and to propose a vivid theory of movement and mechanism, sounding out the ever-present conservatoire evaluation phrase, avoir de l’archet.