Berg Bows Announces the StarkerKittel Bow Project

Sponsored Story by Berg Bows
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Berg Bows International, of Bloomington, IN announces a Go Fund Me project to replicate the late Janos Starker’s Kittel cello bow. Nikolai Kittel was a master bow maker whose bows continue to be held in the highest esteem.

Surviving Kittel bows are rare, and when one does come up for sale, it can cost $100,000 or more. The condition of these bows is variable, many are ‘played out’, due to the loss of strength in the pernambuco wood.

Janos Starker purchased his Kittel cello bow late in his career. When asked about how it played, he said it was a personal favorite. Mr. Starker held Michael Duff, owner of Berg Bows, in high esteem, and asked him to make replicas of this bow, so that its playing qualities could be made available to young prodigies and other master performers.

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Gold mounted violin bow with ornate button and proprietary stabilized burled Rosewood frog

Under Michael Duff, Berg Bows has continued its commitment to scientific precision and artistic perfection, adding refinements both from the study of ancient masters and modern technology, including the use of stabilized hardwoods to enhance the contribution of the frog in amplifying the sound of the bow. The central concept of a Berg bow is that it should function as a “Continuous Sound Loop”: any design feature, or component  material, that impedes sound delivery reduces the performance of a bow.


The first stages of the project are complete: Janos Starker’s Kittel cello bow has been digitized using computer directed lasers for an accurate set of measurements of every aspect of the bow.

The making of the steel molds is carried out by very expensive milling machines which accurately replicate the digital  measurements derived from Starker’s Kittel bow. Berg Bows has initiated  a Go Fund Me campaign to help fund the project.

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Left side: violin, viola and cello frogs made of proprietary stabilized burled Rosewood. Right side: violin, viola and cello frogs made of proprietary stabilized African Blackwood

The final stage will be to create and refine the bows. The objective of the Starker-Kittel Cello Bow Project is to preserve the musical legacy of Janos Starker and to provide an enhanced reproduction of his Kittel cello bow, making its special musical capabilities accessible to both new and established cellists.


Berg bows are respected for their wonderful playing characteristics, their exceptional beauty, and unmatched durability and stability (they are unaffected by changes in humidity).

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Silver mounted proprietary burled Rosewood frog, viewed from underneath showing pearl slide

This project will bring old-world excellence together with cutting edge technology and materials, resulting in bows with the finest playing characteristics, as well as beauty, durability and stability – it will  be impervious  to changes in humidity. It will set new standards in every capacity. The resulting Starker-Kittel cello bows will be a contribution not simply to the current community of concert artists, but also to the generations that follow them.

The bows will be priced to make them accessible to students and young professionals. For every Kittel cello bow replica sold Berg Bows will contribute a significant gift to the Starker Foundation, a scholarship for young musicians.

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Proprietary stabilized burled Rosewood frogs
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Gold mounted cello bow with proprietary stabilized burled Rosewood frog
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Silver mounted proprietary stabilized burled Rosewood frog
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Silver mounted violin bow with proprietary burled Rosewood frog
AD16 Berg Bows Violin-bow-Gold-Mounted-Stabilized-Blackwood-Tip
Cello bow showing proprietary stabilized African Blackwood tip – the best solution to the ivory ban.

All photos courtesy of Lucas Nelson Marvell

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