Peter Reid and Sophia’s Strings
Peter Reid is a luthier, a maker of string instruments, now based in Orange, NSW. Peter was introduced to instrument making/repair in 1988 by Czech Maker Denny Kutzena. With years of study and experience repairing instruments, Peter began making his own in 2007. In 2011, he and his wife, Francine, formed the company Sophia’s Strings, named after their first granddaughter. Peter has developed a fine reputation for the quality of his instruments.
This Unique Australian Quartet
In December 2012, while visiting a Tasmanian supplier of fine woods, Peter was shown a 1000 year old quarter sawn slab of King William Pine. He realised he could make the belly plates for a quartet (cello, viola and two violins) from this single irreplaceable piece of wood, and then found slabs from two 500 year old Tasmanian Blackwood trees which would make the backs, sides and necks. Jarrah fingerboards and Rosewood fittings complete this unique set of instruments, which together project a large, dynamic and special quality of sound. There is no other known modern quartet of instruments to compare – hand made by traditional methods, by one skillful local man, from extremely rare Australian native timbers.
Peter Reid of Sophia’s Strings and Graham Sattler, Executive Director of Mitchell Conservatorium, commenced discussions in September 2014 about the possibility of the Conservatorium taking ownership of this set, and making it the focal point of the planned MitCon Chamber Music Academy. It was hoped that the set could stay together (almost unheard of for a set of matched instruments) in the Central West, and be played and developed together by Central Western students, talented local amateurs, and professionals.