William R. Cumpiano instruments were recently on display at the Objects
for Use: Handmade by Design exhibit at the American Crafts Museum
on West 53rd Street in New York City. .
Below are several views of the instruments, the actual display of the Cumpiano instruments in the museum, and the text which appears on the graphic panel beside the exhibit.
|Flamed broadleaf maple/ Brazilian
rosewood Venezuelan Cuatro (13" scale).
Owner: Edwin Vargas of Hartford, Connecticut
Graphite/Curly Koa Wedge Jazz Classic
14-fret nylon-string "Wedge" guitar. Compression-molded carbon fiber soundboard. Back, sides, neck, body and fingerboard binding, headstock veneer and bridge all cut from the same plank of flamed Koa wood.
Made for the exhibit by William Cumpiano upon request by curator.
Here are the instruments on the museum walls, the text of the wall graphic is included below.
Display graphic and text:
William R. Cumpiano, musical instrument maker Northampton, Massachusetts
William Cumpiano's objective is to
make fine instruments that reflect his love of music and respect
for professional musicians. Upon his graduation from high school in Puerto Rico, his mother encouraged him to become an engineer rather than
pursue his interest in art, which she considered a less stable
career. One year in engineering school confirmed his lack of
interest, and Cumpiano transferred to the industrial design department at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. After earning his degree in 1969, he
joined the prestigious design division of Knoll International.
He still felt that something was missing in his life, however,
and he developed an interest in the Spanish guitar, which he taught himself to play. Wanting to learn how to make an instrument, he took an evening
course with Michael Gurian, then one of the few professional
guitar makers working in New York. When Gurian subsequently
opened a guitar factory in New Hampshire, Cumpiano quickly accepted an offer
to work there, although it meant leaving a lucrative design career for a minimum-