End of Classical Music as We Know it?
Russ Rymer, the Joan Leiman
Jacobson Nonfiction Writer in Residence, traveled far south
and east, to Brazil and several stops in Europe, to gather
information for his third and most recent book, Out
Rymer will discuss his research
and latest book during “Out of Pernambuco: A
Story of Murder, Slavery, Extinction, and the Modern Violin Bow,” as part of
the Jacobson Center’s Working Writers series, on Monday, March 4, at 4:30 p.m.
in Neilson Browsing Room.
As the title of Rymer’s talk
suggests, while he documents the history and processes of
constructing violin bows for his book—which, as
with other string instrument bows, are made at the top level
from superior quality wood called pernambuco, found in the
Brazilian state of the same name—that
process connotes a broad spectrum of life-and-death issues
surrounding the wood from which bows are made.
of Pernambuco documents,
the existence of pernambuco is endangered,
and along with its extinction could follow the livelihood
of the artisans dependent on its wood for their craft—and
of classical music as it is enjoyed worldwide.
Rymer traveled to Rio de Janeiro
and Ilheus, Brazil, as well as Vienna, Paris and Germany,
to interview musicians and craftsmen, wood dealers and historians
that inform his story of the violin bow.
Rymer is the author
of two previous nonfiction books, Genie:
A Scientific Journey,
and American Beach: A Saga of Race,
Wealth, and Memory, and
numerous articles for major periodicals. His novel, Paris
Twilight, will be published this spring.
Pernambuco will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Berlin-Verlag.