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In 1957 Dr. Carleen Hutchins was challenged by American composer Henry Brant to refine and implement a vision that began with the master luthiers of the Renaissance: to produce a family of string instruments whose combined voices would span the entire range of written music and effectively fill the gaps left by the traditional string instruments (violin, viola, cello and bass) which form the core of the modern symphony orchestra. She spent thirty years in research and experimentation: studying the masters, exploring the methods used by her world-famous predecessors and analyzing the resulting characteristics. Once, when given the opportunity, she delicately dissected a Stradivarius viola to discover the qualities which made it distinctive.
From her consultations with experts in the fields of physics and acoustics came the development of the procedure by which sonic attributes of a given instrument could be measured. She perfected shaving methods and acoustic hole positioning that would ultimately bring an instrument to its peak acoustical performance.
In the early 1960s Dr. Hutchins applied her knowledge and skills to eight instruments which she personally hand-crafted and calibrated to match harmonic overtones throughout their ranges. These are the instruments played by the Hutchins Consort.