Janos Starker-Kittel Bow Project

The Starker Kittel Cello Bow
This project is about reproducing one of the finest cello bows ever made. 
Michael Duff, the owner and bowmaker of Berg Bows, Int’l  of Bloomington, Indiana (USA), has been engaged by Mr. Janos Starker's family and estate managers to undertake the meticulous task of creating world-class copies of Mr. Starker's Kittel cello bow.
For those of you who don’t know his work, Michael is considered one of the premier bowmakers in the world, specializing in composite resin bows which are prized for their flawless balance, astounding spectrum of tonal color, longevity, and exquisite beauty.
Over the many years Michael has worked with teachers and students at the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (as well as highly acclaimed professionals around the world), he developed a particularly close relationship with the great cellist Janos Starker. Near the end of his life, Mr. Starker acquired an exceptionally fine cello bow by the renowned 19th c. bowmaker Nikolai Kittel; Mr. Starker considered this bow one of the finest he had ever played.
Mr. Starker's Vision to Replicate the Kittel Cello Bow
Mr. Starker conceived the idea that Michael Duff should make copies of this bow in order that students and young professionals might have access to one of the world’s great bows at a fraction the cost of the original. Mr. Duff is the ideal candidate for such a task. In addition to being respected as a great artist in bowmaking, Michael brings to the table not only his musical training and his long history of studying the greatest masters of bowmaking, but also a background in modern sciences (indeed, before purchasing the Berg Bows business and taking it to new heights, Michael was on the faculty at Indiana University in the  Microbiology department). Michael is thus perfectly placed to make world-class replicas of this exquisite bow.
Mr. Starker passed away before the project could be brought to completion, but Mr. Starker’s wife, and the executor of his estate, hold Michael in high enough regard that they entrusted the bow to him to have it ‘digitized’ – measured electronically down to 1/1000 millimeter accuracy. All that remains now is to create the molds, and thus bring the project to fruition.
The Starker-Kittel Bow Project
This is where the project becomes expensive, however, and we have decided to raise funds for it through a Go Fund Me campaign. The funds raised here will enable the making of the precision molds that are used to create these exceptional bows.
These molds are so expensive, because they are made to a level of technical precision usually reserved for medical and astronomical equipment. They are built to the exact dimensions produced when Mr. Staker's Kittel bow was digitized (measured to the precision of 1/1000 of a millimeter). This precision is the foundation of the greatness of a Berg bow - combined with the human, old-world artistry of Michael Duff's three decades of experience.
This is a ground-breaking project for several reasons: firstly, it will make available a near-perfect copy of this one-of-a-kind masterpiece, at a price which will enable students and young professionals a chance to play with one of the finest bows ever made.
And, secondly, this project represents a whole new world in bow-making. Never before has a bow of such quality been so completely measured, and reproduced by such an experienced and respected bowmaker. This project will open the door to a new era in music - making irreplacable masterpieces available to a wide community of artists at a fraction of the cost of the original.
The Perks of Contributing...
No contribution is too small, but we would like to point out that there are significant perks for larger donations: the first 50 contributors giving $50 or more will receive a gift from the executors of Janos Starker's estate of a copy of Janos Starker's acclaimed autobiography, and the single highest contributor donating $2000 or more to the project will receive his or her choice of a Berg Bow for violin, viola, or cello, made by Mr. Duff.
We would also like to point out that 10% of every Starker-Kittel bow sale will be contributed to the Janos Starker Foundation, to support young cello students. 
Please pass the word...
Please take a moment to view the video, and we invite you to pass along information about this project to anyone whom you might think interested (from musicians to engineers and beyond). For more information about Michael Duff's work, please take a look at www.bergbows.com.
We look forward eagerly to your joining us in this valuable project.

Donations (22)

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  • Anonymous
    • $65 
    • 5 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $300 
    • 7 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $1,000 
    • 7 yrs
  • Uli Widmaier
    • $100 
    • 7 yrs
  • Eugene Zenzen
    • $50 
    • 7 yrs
See all


Michael Duff
Bloomington, IN

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