For Immediate Release:
The Royal Academy of Music will present an exhibition on history's greatest bowmaker, François Xavier Tourte, during the month of November 2008. The exhibition is being organized by Paul Childs and will run concurrently with the Royal Academy of Music's ‘The Revolutionary Violin'. Thirty-five authentic examples of the master's work will be on view along with fifteen contemporary Tourte copies. These bows will comprise Tourte's œuvre, as recognized today, from his earliest through his latest periods of work – a time span of approximately 60 years. At the heart of the exhibition is the presentation of Tourte's art at its unsurpassed level of sculptural beauty in a medium often not considered far beyond the bow's purpose: the link between musician and his or her stringed instrument in order to make music.
A man of humble origin whose literacy did not exceed the writing of his own name, Tourte was sought out by the leading artists of his time for his creations and he likewise consulted them in order to improve the playability of his craft. The result was a bow that to this day is recognized by both musicians and bowmakers as supreme, and by connoisseurs as a sublime meeting of the aesthetic and humanity.
On November 2nd the Royal Academy of Music will host a conference with presentations on Tourte's life and work which will include the participation of Charles Beare, Bernard Millant, Peter Oxley, Jean-François Raffin, Isaac Salchow, Peter Sheppard Skærved and James Warren. The day will conclude with a recital by the eminent violinist Elmar Oliveira and his collaborator, pianist Robert Koenig.
Tourte's long overdue moment will finally arrive, at the Royal Academy of Music in November.