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Ray's Violin Bio
The short 3rd person version:
Raymond Fyhr received a BA from Colgate University where he majored in violin music performance. As an undergraduate, he studied violin with the late Felix Eyle, former concertmaster of the NY Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. After graduating, he studied with Tossy Spivakovsky, concert soloist, former concertmaster of the Berlin and Cleveland Orchestras, and member of the faculty at Juilliard. Since receiving an MS in computer science from NYIT, Ray has been working as a software consultant to Bell Labs, AT&T, several international banks, ADSS, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, HP, NCR, Bell Core, and Telcordia.
The longer 1st person version:
I started taking violin lessons at the age of 10. I picked up the guitar a year or two later when a neighbor threw out an old junker. I had garage bands since I was 12 and eventually bought my first real guitar, a Gibson ES335 with my own money when I was 16. My first electric violin was a Barcus Berry pickup added to my friend's old violin since I didn't want to mess up my new "classical" violin. I had to take the train from Long Island to NYC to buy it at Manny's, A trip I was use to since I was a regular at the Fillmore East during most of my High School years.
There were very few bands of the 60s that I didn't hear play live at least once. When I was 17, my own HS band "Plum Loco" won the Nassau county Battle of the Bands. Every kid on LI who owned a guitar or a drum entered this competition held every summer and sponsored by LILCO and Sam Ash. I wrote several original songs for the contest and I played guitar, violin, and some harmonica. We got to record the original tunes in an 8-track professional studio...... wow. Hence my long love affair with recording studios and equipment.
I became a classical nerd in college and stopped even listening to other types of music. I was planning to get a MA degree in violin and had been accepted at New England Conservatory, but after studying with Spivakovsky for a year my plans changed. I eventually quit the violin, at age 23, due to lack of funds and a fairly bleak view of a future musical career. This was the beginning of a long musical hiatus. After practicing 4 to 8 hours a day for, I stopped playing completely for a 2 year period. I eventually picked it up again and started playing some recitals in the public libraries, churches and schools. I played in various local orchestras and chamber groups. I especially liked playing in piano trios (piano, cello, and violin).
After a break of over 10 years, I decided to buy a guitar again. Having hocked my Gibson while still in school, I did not even own one. I decided to get a Strat which was the model of my biggest guitar hero, Jimi Hendrix (btw I heard him play 3 times). I'm not the only classically trained violinist with a Hendrix fixation. Nigel Kennedy is a devoted fan and there are others. Well that was the beginning of the never ending gear acquisition syndrome (GAS) I now own over a dozen guitars, and a ton of recording, synth, and amplification gizmos. Being a tech head by profession doesn't help this addiction any. The "Pride and Joy" of my electronic collection is my Jensen 5 string solid body electric violin. It was love at first sight when I saw a picture of this violin in an exclusive violin publication. Eric Jensen, custom builds these beautiful fiddles in his home near Seattle Washington. Having never really heard one of his instruments, only personal recommendations by happy customers, I selected the woods I wanted and sent a 50% deposit to him. I've been very happy with it and recommend his violins to people over the internet whenever asked.
Since owning this Jensen violin, I have played with a number of bands in the Jersey area. I had a "cool jazz" kind of band together for a while called "Jazz Beaux". I've played in folk groups, progressive metal, country, jazz, rock, and blues.There are a lot of good musicians in the computer software business so I manage to cover a lot of genres. Most people are kind of curious to hear how the violin works with their style of music. Having such a varied background of influences, I can usually fit into a new groove, no matter what part of the musical universe its originates from.