In the June issue of Strings Magazine, Martin Steinberg gives a terrific account of Luis Leguia’s amazing life from a childhood of poverty to becoming the inventor of the Luis and Clark stringed instruments. Luis was born in the height of the depression to an American mother and a Peruvian father. His father was unable to get work in the United States so he returned to Peru when Luis was three, leaving him and his mother to fend for themselves. She worked as a secretary to support Luis and most of his childhood was spent moving from boarding house to boarding house. Most were really awful places and they were lucky if they had a room with a hot plate. One place was just an empty store with sheets over clotheslines, separating five or six families and one bathroom with just a toilet and sink. There he had an old crate that he used as a desk.

In eleven years of schooling (he got through tenth grade) he lived in seventeen different places and went to eleven different schools. It was his good fortune, finally, to stay three years at one junior high school which had a strong program in music. The school had four orchestras and he played the double bass in one and the trumpet in another. This was his introduction to the world of music.

In his early teens he realized he was going to have to have a plan for how he would make a living. He was failing miserably in school, never having had any consistency in schools, teachers or subjects. When he was 15, he had saved $100 from a paper route and announced to his mother that he was going to buy a bass, quit school, and join the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She said, ‘Wouldn’t you rather play a solo instrument like a cello?’

Read in Martin Steinberg’s article how Luis worked so hard at learning the cello that Pablo Casals took him on as a student when he was 17 and how he applied that same determination to inventing the carbon fiber stringed instrument.

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