A Clutch of Instruments
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Musical instruments can be found among the earliest surviving traces of human civilizations, mostly in various types of bone flutes. Additionally, images of instruments adorn caves, amulets, and pottery from millennia ago. As Western technology developed, so did musical instruments. String instrument manufacturing reached a Golden Age in Cremona, Italy during the early seventeenth century. And thanks to the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth, new technologies such as pistons and valves and developments in metallurgy allowed wind instrument makers to improve their products. Five noted instrumentalists—violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, ’cellist Steven Isserlis, flutist Eugenia Zukerman, guitarist Christopher Parkening, and horn player Barry Tuckwell—offer insights into the histories, performance practices, and repertories of their respective instruments, and to works they’ve performed with contemporary composers.