Annapolis Native Rebecca Hannigan combines her passion for music and art through violin making and repair. After studying violin performance and violin repair in Nashville, Tennessee and playing abroad in various quartets Rebecca returned home to open up her own repair shop.
When Rebecca Hannigan was 7 she begged her parents for violin lessons for a year until they gave in.
When she was 10, she knew.
“I wanted to be a violinist when I grow up, and that’s exactly what I did.”
While getting her bachelor’s in violin performance from Belmont University in Nashville, TN, she started working in a violin repair shop on Nashville’s fabled Music Row.
Hannigan, who turns 30 this week, is the face of Annapolis Bows and Violins. At the one-woman repair shop she opened last year on State Circle— the only one of its kind in Annapolis— Hannigan fixes, restores and rents violins of all sizes.
“It combines my love of playing, my love of art, with fixing things and making things better.”
Though string instruments, surgery and car shops aren’t usually thought of together, Hannigan considers herself a bit of a doctor and mechanic.
“Musicians will have these complicated pieces of equipment that they play every day, like their car that they drive every day, but they don’t know how it works. They only know if something’s going wrong,” she said. “If there’s a buzz, if something’s rattling, if something’s not sounding right, then they take it to the mechanic and go ‘Please don’t charge me an arm and a leg for this, and how fast can you turn it around.’”
Hannigan specializes in bow re-hairs — akin to a car’s oil change. Casual players need them once a year but professionals need monthly bow work. It’s a meticulous process, getting the horse hairs straight and taut.
With the dry winter weather, she’s also had a lot of cracked instruments to fix. Most jobs take about a week or two, except her specialty one-hour re-hairs.