August 2 Boris Odio de Granda Public Lecture

Alchemy, Violins, and the Harmony of Physics

Paepcke Auditorium
6:00 pm

Speaker – Boris Odio de Granda, The Boris Violins Studio

Boris Odio de Granda graduated from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) in 1986 with a BFA in visual arts, initially pursuing a career in advertising/graphic design. Although he secured Fortune 500 employment and was serving international freelance clients, the business horizon was shifting from favoring the expertise of hand-designed art to expectation of high-volume computer generated output. Foreseeing a non-stimulating future, Boris began exploring other directions for his creative expression.

Embracing his passion for music and taking inspiration from his father Alvaro (Maestro and Assistant Concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra, now retired) Boris began investigating the historically traditional field of violin-making. Reflecting upon a memorable encounter with the highly acclaimed violin expert William Moennig Sr. while he was still in high school, Boris recalled the eminent master observing the strong balance between his focused technical skills and free artistic spirit, noting this as an ideal combination for a luthier. Discovering he could combine many of his personal interests (physics, aesthetics, cultural history, and music) into a single project, Boris realized his passion and began to pursue violin building as a career.

Accepted into the esteemed Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City, under the directorship of Peter Prier, Boris excelled as a student and was soon employed in the adjoining restoration workshop where he performed detailed work on historic masterpieces. Then in his fourth year he was invited to join the faculty and instruct the varnish program while simultaneously completing his student requirements (culminating with the distinctive honor of being the only person in the academy’s history to add his signature to his own diploma!). Following his graduation, Boris spent two further years teaching and exploring varnish from an alchemically purist’s perspective. His research into using traditional ingredients and methods earned him an invitation to speak at the Vernix2000 Varnish Symposium in San Juan, Puerto Rico to an international audience of well-accomplished colleagues.

In 2001 Boris relocated to Southern California, opening a private atelier to concentrate on building fine concert instruments for high-caliber musicians. In his artistically stimulating environment, Boris sculpts sound, beginning with empirically conceptualizing the mass and complex dimensions of the instruments’ resonant interior volume. "Building a violin is formulating the abstract concept of tone, and then creating about it the physical means by which to produce it... It is a work of art on many levels."

In recent years Boris has been highlighted in various print media, interviewed on classical music radio, and received an Award for Tone from the Violin Society of America's international competition. He has also been the subject of public service radio commercials for his art, delivered presentations to such noteworthy audiences as the Business Committee for the LA Philharmonic, and highlighted in a former professor’s national lecture series, ‘How to Achieve a Goal.' The Boris Violins Studio was also featured in the March 2009 issue of The Strad, the preeminent British publication devoted to the classical strings trade. In 2010 Mr. de Granda was invited by The Violin Making School of America to return to his alma mater as the Honorary Guest Examiner for the graduation class of that year, as well as to deliver their commencement address.


The violin is a masterpiece of Renaissance engineering. It is an intricately balanced system of indivisible complexity, unimproved upon by modern technology. Exploring harmonic correlations between the violin and the nature of physics is magnificent and compelling.