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Stoutenburgh Musical Instruments Chosen For Benefit Concert

This article is reprinted from the 2009 edition of the Stoutenburgh-Teller Family Annual Newsletter. We would like to encourage our readers and newcoming family members to support our continuing efforts. Become a member of our Association and be part of our success.

Harry Stoutenburgh (Violin Maker)
Harry Stoutenburgh (Violin Maker)

Reprinted by Lanaii Kline from
The Kingston Daily Freeman,
Saturday, August 20, 1949, Page 3

When the Woodstock String Quartet played its concert at the Woodstock Town Hall for the benefit of the village Methodist Church recently, it was the former garage mechanic from West Hurley who made the music possible. The entire concert was played entirely on instruments made by Harry Stoutenburgh, descendent of one of the oldest Hudson valley families, whose fame as a violin maker is growing steadily.

The decision to give a concert using Stoutenburgh instruments had its beginning one humid July afternoon when Ernest Drucker, first violinist of the quartet, paid a visit to the West Hurley workshop. Mr. Drucker, a former member of the world-famous Busch String Quartet, found that his fine old French violin would not respond and thought that the heat or dampness had affected its tone. Stoutenburgh took the instrument and began to examine it. Meanwhile some instruments hanging in the glasslined case attracted Mr.Drucker’s attention.

“They’re mine,” said Stoutenburgh, “made them myself.”

“May I try one?” asked the violinist.

“Help yourself,” replied the laconic maker. The master violinist tucked one after the other under his chin and gave them the test. His doubtfulness soon modulated to real interest and admiration. Why did they sound so well, so clearly and resonantly when the summer, the hottest in years, had drawn a veil over the voice of his own instrument fashioned by one of Europe’s finest makers, he wondered.

Stoutenburgh didn’t know because like so many artists, he couldn’t put his finger exactly on what makes a work of art. But his instincts know, and Stoutenburgh instruments are being played increasingly in orchestras throughout the country. This visit by Drucker led to visits by other members of the quartet and the decision to play the benefit concert on instruments made by the West Hurley “Stradivarius.”