About William Townsend
Following a successful career in marketing and technology, William Townsend began studying violin making under the tutelage of Ziang Mei then continued learning techniques from William Hilton (a student of Vhakn Nigogosian), and Alberti Genduso (who has studied with the famed German master Horst Kloss and Karl Ray, director of the Bavarian State School of Violin Making in MIttenwald, Germany). He frequently exchanges ideas with two of the leading contemporary makers, Gregg Alf and Raymond Schryer, and was involved in  Amiata Summit, a biannual event bringing 8 top makers together with leading musicians to delve into the mysteries of the violin. An art major in college, he latched onto violin making because of his fascination with the history of the instrument and the fact that in over 300 years no significant improvements have been made to the violin which he viewed as a challenge to experiment with. 


 “As someone who spent years in, and continues to work in, high technology, I could not understand how something as apparently simple as the violin could not be improved upon in more than 300 years,” says William. “It wasn’t until I seriously researched the instrument and its history that I realized what a difficult instrument it is to build, let alone play, and that when it was being made by Stradivari, Amati, and Guarneri this was at the zenith of its making. Today’s top makers can recreate the sound of the old Italian instruments and have reached new levels of craftsmanship, but surprisingly, no major advancements have been made that have resulted in quantum shifts in the construction of this instrument. To me, that is absolutely fascinating and a testament to Stradivari's, Amati's, and Guarneri's mathematical skills and craftsmanship.” 


Mr. Townsend is a member of the Violin Society of America . He has been featured in Wooster magazine and Baylor magazine and was selected for the Smithsonian Institution’s Heart & Hands: Musical Instrument Makers of America exhibition which displayed one of his Masters Series violins. He was featured in Los Angeles Times Magazine and on ABC Television's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for his work with The Amati Foundation. He has also been recognized by WOOD Magazine for his mentoring efforts and was featured on News8Austin News (click here to watch the video). 

Professionally, Mr. Townsend has founded or co-founded over a dozen companies including the Internet search engine Lycos, Inc. He serves on the board of couponing and loyalty firm, YourOffers and has served as CEO of strategic consulting and corporate turnaround firm Interminds. He is the founder of The Amati Foundation, where he serves as Chairman.  



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The Amati Foundation story. Click to download PDF file.


Other Information of Interest

I am pleased to provide you with some of my favorite violin-related links, including links to modern makers whose work I admire:

Violin makers

Violin dealers

Violin Associations

And now for a bit of trivia:

    Question: What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle?

  1. A violinist uses catgut strings and a fiddler uses the whole cat.
  2. A violin comes with a case.
  3. A fiddle has a flatter bridge, is usually strung with steel strings like Prim, and typically has four fine-tuners.

    Answer: #3. So now you know.

Vitamin Water has a wonderfully funny new ad campaign featuring an orchestra and the rap artist 50 Cent. You can view it here. Apple QuickTime is required.

50 Cent and Orchestra



Copyright 2003-2006 William Townsend. All images and text is copyright material and may not be reproduced, downloaded, or swapped under penalty of copyright laws. All rights reserved.