The next time you're in Merriam, take your foot off the gas, roll down the window and listen -- what you might hear could amaze you.
It's a centuries-old craft, and the work can be painstakingly slow and tedious. Hours upon hours are spent sanding, shaving and carving.
In this week's "Faces of Kansas City," anchor Brad Stephens introduced viewers to a man who has spent a lifetime making classical instruments from planks of aged spruce wood.
"The techniques and processes used in violin making now really aren't that different from what they were centuries ago," said Anton Krutz of K.C. Strings.
Located in the heart of Merriam, K.C. Strings Violin Shop is a Mecca for music where they make violins, violas, cellos and basses. Many of the instruments end up in the hands of professional musicians, not just in this country but around the world.
"We have instruments in the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, symphonies and conservatories across the country," Krutz said.
Krutz is a master maker of stringed instruments who relies heavily on his international roots. Music has always been in his blood.
"I was born in Leningrad, Russia," he said. "My family emigrated to the United States in 1976, and in 1978 my father got the position at the Kansas City philharmonic as the principal bass player and I've been in KC ever since."
Through sheer determination, Krutz, a Shawnee Mission West graduate, has turned K.C. Strings into a major player on the music scene.
"The Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, which is one of the major orchestras in Russia, commissioned 10 basses from us," Krutz said. "When they tried out the basses from all over the world, they liked ours the best."
While classical music is the cornerstone at KC Strings, they've entered the realm of pop and country music by making a unique guitar.
"The first arch top guitar we made we sold to Zac Brown," Krutz said. "The very first guitar we made was purchased by Zac Brown."
Krutz is first and foremost a violin maker. He said it's the sounds the instruments make that inspire him because he said it has the power to touch the soul.
"When you have a symphonic sound of strings, there is an emotion produced within people that is unrivaled by any other type of musical instrument," he said.
Krutz said what sets his business apart is that in addition to making violins and other stringed instruments, they do a lot more such as offering lessons, renting instruments and restoring instruments. For a musician, it truly is one-stop shopping.
Copyright 2011 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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