What People Say

Cox violins, violas, cellos, violas da gamba, baroque violins and violas are used by a wide range of players all over the world. They have helped students progress rapidly, given amateurs a full and satisfying musical experience, and provided the tools necessary for professionals to build careers. Here is what some players have to say.

Bob is loving his violin and playing more and more excitedly than ever. He sent you a note, but it somehow doesn't covey the level of gratitude and enjoyment your musical gifts have given him! Every paycheck he gets for music he says, "Here's another violin payment!" Thank you for being so willing to have him use your violins so he could develop trust and appreciation enough to know what he wanted and to be able to ask to make it happen! Thank you for the easy financing that you allowed that makes it within our grasp. And thank you for being "famous" in far-reaching places!!

Playing on this viola is a pleasure.  It is warm and rich, and it inspires me to search for more colors and shadings, since it offers such a wonderful range.  I feel deeply fortunate to make music with it.

Daniel Panner
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Faculty Juilliard and Mannes Conservatories
Viola 435, 17 18” Gasparo da Salo, 2001

I could not be happier with the way your instrument has worked out for me. It is quite possibly one of the most stable violins I have ever come across. It sounds great always, and I mean always. I know I can always count on absolutely perfect response, which is enhanced by its complete evenness throughout all the registers, coupled with a warm, focused, and extremely powerful sound on all strings. In recordings, it sounds like a million dollars, literally. I would not give up my Cox violin for anything else. One of the things I enjoy most about my Cox violin is the double-takes other violinists do when they try it out. The question immediately following is: 'Where did you get this thing?!?' I am in love with the voice of my instrument and profoundly grateful to be its owner.

Daniel Vega-Albela
La Catrina Quartet
Violin 345, "Rosenblith" 1713 Grand Pattern Strad, 1998

Several people asked me after the concert what type of violin I played on. I was proud to tell them it was a modern American instrument made in Vermont! I was invited to play the Stravinsky Octet. I was the only musician in that group that did not have an older instrument that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In these last few years of owning my instrument the sound has really developed and taken on a rich character.

Colleen McCullough
Violin 410, "D’Egville" Guarneri del Gesù, 2000

I love my baroque viola!

Cheryl Zylla
Lyra Baroque
Baroque Viola 79, 1690 “Medici” Strad, 1986

I am the worst critic of Doug's violins. They are all wonderful to me. The violin I played in most recently was, as they usually are, beautiful sounding, easy to play, delightful to hear. His instruments are the best I have ever played.

Bob Hancock, Concertmaster, Windham Orchestra
Violin #786 "Dancla" Guarneri del Gesù

In my opinion, Douglas Cox makes the finest modern instruments available. They sound marvelous, are easy to play, and show the finest workmanship, and every single one of them has a real, definable 'soul', which makes them, each one, a joy to play.

Victor Romanul
Boston Symphony Orchestra

The Cox instruments I own are superb concert quality instruments and are equal and often superior to the finest and famous luthiers of the golden age of violinmaking. I recommend his violins, violas and cellos with greatest enthusiasm as affordable substitutes to antique instruments.

Robert Koff (1919-2005)
Founding member of the Juilliard String Quartet

Douglas is a gentleman of deep integrity, full of love for his art and craft, and meticulous in husbanding his 'children,' the instruments he makes so well. They are consistently evenly voiced, with a rich, healthy sound that I can enjoy listening to weekly — a fair number of my private students own Cox violins. I'm especially grateful for the long-pattern model which has served me and several of my taller students very successfully. I cannot recommend Doug Cox highly enough.

Marylou Speaker Churchill (1945-2009)
Former Principal Second Violin
Boston Symphony Orchestra

I can attest to the fact that Douglas Cox's violins are special. The instruments combine qualities of power, depth of sound, sweetness, evenness and ease of playing. They are instruments ideally suited to the young player moving up to a quality instrument, yet advanced players find them equal to their requirements for concertizing. I have seen my students grow into their Douglas Cox violin, excited and inspired as they learned to exploit the rich and varied tonal possibilities inherent in their instrument. When my students have performed as soloist with orchestra, invariably their Cox violin projected beautifully in the hall.

In all our dealings Douglas Cox has been honest, courteous and very helpful in maintaining and repairing his instruments. His enthusiasm for his calling and depth of understanding of his craft are readily apparent. His instruments are now being played by hundreds of appreciative string players. By producing such outstanding instruments, he is leaving a unique legacy to the string world.

Janet Packer
Faculty, Rivers School of Music
Concert violinist and recording artist
Violin 424, "Gibson" Strad, 2001

I have known the work of Douglas Cox for nearly ten years. Doug made several copies of my Strad, which I believe were extraordinary in quality and in projection.

Doug has wonderful ears. He is not just a craftsman, but an artist. To me, he has found a perfect recipe for combining richness and warmth of sound with ease of articulation and power of projection. Doug's instruments are also very different one from the other, providing an assortment of sonorities that would please a variety of tastes.

Doug is a gentleman, not a high-pressured salesman. I have the impression that he is happiest at home in the mountains of Vermont in his beautiful but simple shop.

James Buswell, IV
Faculty, New England Conservatory of Music
Artist-Member, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Viola 134, 15 58" original model,1989

Your violin has proved a great success on every concert or performance since I've owned it. I particularly remember my first concert on the instrument early October of 1998 when I performed Bach's Ciaccona. I had never been so thrilled in my life after the concert because my playing had changed completely since the moment I tuned your fiddle: I now have a projected sound with strength and power.

David C. Fulmer
Student of James Buswell, New England Conservatory
Violin 351, 1715 Strad, 1998

I have been playing on Doug Cox's violins and violas since 1987. These instruments have seen it all — From my five years at The Juilliard School to Broadway, from concerto performances to live rock and roll shows, from jazz/pop and rock recording sessions to Orpheus tours. Not a working day goes by that a colleague doesn't ask to look at and play my Doug Cox fiddles. It is truly amazing, the response that these instruments generate.

Their presence in my life has been instrumental in the successes that I have had in this tricky musical world.
The love that Doug Cox brings to his craft speaks through any and all who experience his work. A more dedicated artist and craftsman you will not find.

Ralph Farris
Conductor, Composer, Arranger, Violinist, Violist
Viola 134, Gaspar Da Salo 17¼"
Violin 249, "Ginn" Long Pattern Strad,1994

It was one of my best decisions on my musical way to get [the viola]! Since I got it from you the viola has developed very positively; the sound is still warm and deep and I haven't met any instrument that is better! Wherever I play, my viola colleagues are very much interested in the instrument.

Steffen Drabek
Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra
Viola 148, Gaspar da Salò 17¼", 1989

Every day that passes I grow fonder of your viola. It’s got a dark and warm, yet clear and present sound and I love the way it responds to me and how it projects my playing. It is easy to play and feels comfortable in any situation, be it a big hall or a dry auditorium. It seems that your viola is more prominent within my quartet. People said they thought I had finally found "my voice", which is exactly how I feel: Your viola speaks out what I have to say.

Uli Eichenauer
Viola Faculty, North Carolina School of the Arts
Viola 262, Gaspar da Salò 17¼", 1994

When Oberlin Conservatory sought to expand their collection of fine instruments to enhance the learning environment for students by purchasing a viola, viola faculty had a specific sound in mind:  they wanted a warm, yet projecting sound that encouraged students to find the specific nuances of their expressive voice.   After looking at nearly 40 violas, they settled on a Cox viola for what Slowik refers to as the "maturity and flexibility of the sound — a sound with the complexity  and subtlety of a fine older instrument.

Viola Faculty, Oberlin College
Viola 346, Andrea Guarneri 1690, 16 38", 1997

I am the happyest (sic) violist in the world, I love my viola!!!

Mariana Renno Jelen
Viola 526, 16" Guarneri del Gesù, 2005

Ever since we first met — many years ago — I was impressed with your talent and with the results that you achieved as an outstanding instrument builder. You have always been able to produce instruments with outstanding sound and ease of playing! Starting with my Baroque violin — up to violins in the style of Guarnerius and Stradivarius that you make nowadays. Thank you for your friendship and the outstanding ability of your creations, which enables me and my students to play better.

Roman Totenberg

I looked at many of Doug’s violins and fell in love with one. I love its tone quality. It has a sweet, centered sound and I hear all the harmonics. It projects well. My violin is the right fit for my hand and feels comfortable to play.

Lino Tanaka, NEC, 2003
Violin 444, Storioni 1774, 2002

I was immediately drawn in by its personal tone and color — something I have very much been missing in my current instrument as well as others I have tried recently. I had the chance to compare this viola against three others yesterday with a former teacher/colleague, and we both agreed it has a beautiful sound as well as good clarity and evenness... it gives me renewed hope in my search — so many violas I have tried have been, as my friend quipped, 'serviceable but not special'.

Elizabeth Trower

The Doug Cox [viola] truly sounded better than both Vuillaume's I tried, every Pique and Pascharel, most Amatis except for a 1.6 million dollar Nicolo, a couple Storionis, Carl Becker, Landolfi (15"...) Sannino, the Sacconi that I bought and sold within the same week, every single modern maker comparable in price (not even close, honestly), and all but one in the $70,000 range. Really, after the 200+ violas I've tried must say that Doug's violas — in particular my first one — are nothing short of exceptional.

Ryan Fox

We were so happy with the Storioni model that we would like to see this model with the cherry wood back. I am really delighting in all your good organization and useful information. Decision making is so much easier.

Claire Givens, Claire Givens Violins
Minneapolis, MN

[In reference to the 2009 Quartet]: What a wonderful set of instruments. They really do sing beautifully together. Both violins are quite wonderful. You've hit a grand slam, Doug.

Charles Kessler

The thing I like the most about Doug’s instruments is that they seem to be alive and each has a unique essence. The two instruments that I play spoke to me the very moment I put a bow to their strings.

Michelle Liechti
Faculty, Northfield Mt Hermon School & Brattleboro Music Center
Member, Arcadia Players
Violin 277, 1790 Storioni, 2006
Violin 642, ¾ Stradivari model ~ 336 mm, 2009

I discovered my Douglas Cox viola after many months of trying some very fine instruments in shops in and around Boston. I'd just about set my heart on one of them, but decided it might be worth exploring outside Massachusetts. The first place I went was Doug's studio, in the hills of my second home, Vermont. The first scale I played on the first viola I picked up was absolute magic! And I was as much impressed by Doug's friendliness and dedication to his craft as I was by the quality of his instruments.

Ken Allen
Viola 716, 17¼” Gasparo da Salò Cutaway, 2011

I am fascinated every day with [my violin's] powerful, yet expressive dark tone. I never tire of exploring the many colors this violin unlocks.

Sue Engle
Violin 623, Gaspar da Salò, 2008

The first time I played ‘David’ I actually blushed. The combination of sweet and dark, and that bit of edge, went straight to my heart.

Cassandra Cleghorn
Duo Eamon
Violin 575, "David" Guarneri del Gesù, 2006

I absolutely adore my Cox viola. It is literally perfect in every way. It was definitely a “love at first sound” experience. My viola has been the best purchase I have ever made, hands down! When the day came that my viola needed repairs, Douglas Cox made the process painless, and I had the great opportunity to try out another Cox viola. Over the years, I have deeply bonded with my viola, and I feel honored to own such a marvelous instrument.

Blakeley Woessner
Viola 269, 16 38" Andrea Guarneri, 1995

Part of the pleasure of playing on my Cox violin is the relationship I've fostered with the instrument through the artist who built it. I certainly would not be the musician I am today if it weren't for Doug's violin, as well as his skill and generosity.

Matthew Woodard
Opus 373, “Steinhardt Storioni” violin, 1998

When I first tried Opus 707, "Leduc" Guarneri del Gesù, I was struck not only by its rich, silvery tone but by how it just felt right for me. Its size, weight, and tactile smoothness make it a perfect fit for me, but more importantly, it responds instantly and beautifully to the touch of my bow. I never have to struggle to make a gorgeous sound on this violin. I've been playing it for over a year, and every day it becomes more open and more lush.

Lisa Ferrigno
Violin 707, "Leduc" Guarneri del Gesù, 2010

When Doug sent me this viola, I knew my search was over. My instrument has a nearly ideal blend of the warmth and richness everyone wants in the viola sound, with enough edge to be heard in an ensemble.

William Johnston
Viola 565, 16 58" original model, 2005

After years searching for a small viola with a fabulous dark sound appropriate for solo performance, I have found Doug Cox's Guarnarius model that projects the perfect antique sound. Everyone who hears me play it falls in love with this instrument.

Carol Lieberman
Viola 736, 15 58" Carrodus del Gesù, 2011

I was initially attracted by the graceful, petite proportions, elegantly placed f holes and deep archings characteristic of its Amati design. The wood choice is absolutely striking. With a deeply flamed one-piece back and beautiful, multi-layered varnish that brings out the numerous facets of the close grain, this violin is as beautiful to behold as it is to hear. The tone is rich and complex with a warmth and sweetness I would expect from a fine antique Italian instrument. The response is quick and easy, making this violin a pure joy to play. Mr. Cox's workmanship is first-rate and I am so impressed by the meticulous attention to detail he took during the creation of this magnificent instrument.

Alistair Leon Kok
Baroque Violin 118, A&H Amati, 1988

A lot of people have told me how great this viola sounds — they're shocked to hear it's only a few years old. 'It's so warm!' and 'that sounded so rich!' The viola gets far more compliments than I do, and, frankly, I'm jealous.

Rick Neff
Viola 640, 1800 Ceruti 16¼”, 2009

Finding Opus #778 was like finding a wand in the world of Harry Potter. I knew immediately by the feel and beautiful tone that I wanted to continue my studies on this instrument.

Abina Cohen
Violin 778, Gaspar da Salò, 2012

Thank you for this extraordinary violin, which is so fine and fun to play that it is opening all kinds of possibilities in early music to me. I love its inner life and warmth, its exuberance!

Maria Benotti
Faculty, NEC Prep
Founder, Music at Eden's Edge
Violin 371, J. Gagliano 1793 (a copy of Ms. Benotti's own), 1995
Baroque Violin 637, "Leduc" Guarneri del Gesù, 2009

I absolutely love my Cox violin. It is a joy and a pleasure to play on. It feels and sounds like I am playing on a great old Italian violin.

Jaime Laredo