BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL — Members of the Centerville chapter of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers will be feted with a special violin performance and presentation by internationally renowned violin luthier Peter Paul Prier.
He will share information on the great violin makers, such as Stradivarius and Guarneri, and demonstrating the varying qualities of a number of violins.
“They (the great violin makers) were the hot shots of the 16th and 17th centuries,” he said.
The performance will take place at the chapter’s meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the Wight House, 95 N. Main.
Prier opened his violin-making shop in Salt Lake City in 1965 and established the Violin Making School of America in 1972, from which nearly 300 students from seven nations have graduated. He also played with the Utah Symphony from 1961-1963.
Prier is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having joined in 1964.
He was born in Germany and began playing the violin at age 7. He entered the Violin Making School in Mittenwald, Germany and worked in the shop of Walter Hamma Stuttgart while attending school, according to a press release from the chapter.
After graduating, he immigrated to the United States with a suitcase full of tools, the clothes on his back and $5 in his pocket, according to the press release. He was hired to work under Ludwig Aschauer at Pearce Music Company in Salt Lake City.
During this time, he roomed with a Mormon couple, the Ernstens, who were instrumental in his conversion to the LDS faith.
He met his future wife, Kay Stewart, in 1961 and was baptized into the church in 1964. He and Stewart were married in the Salt Lake Temple in February of 1965.
After serving in the military, Prier returned to the symphony for seven concerts in Europe and South America, performing and caring for the instruments.
In 1998, he founded the Bow Making School of America and in 2004 he opened the Salt Lake City Recital Hall as a venue for up-and-coming musicians. He also has made two documentaries on violin making and home repairs and released a 15-disc instructional DVD series on the topic.
Prier has constructed 162 violins, 17 violas, 32 cellos, two-and-a-half basses and three classical guitars.
The cost of the dinner that will accompany Prier’s performance is $12.50, and the public is welcome to attend. Reserve your spot by calling 801-298-1196.