Steven Salchow

Bow Maker

Steve Salchow was first exposed to the exotic world of bowmaking at age five, when he would run around in his father’s iconic midtown Manhattan bow shop. The taunts of his school mates (“does your father make arrows, too?”) only served to strengthen his fascination with the bow world. But it was not until he finished high school that he spent two summers in the shop and began learning the craft. He then brought his new skills to college, where he rehaired bows in his spare time. It wasn’t long before he realized it was a far better way to earn a little spending money than washing dishes in the college cafeteria, not to mention much more fun than his studies, and so his interest was piqued. Nevertheless, he felt an obligation to justify the trillions his parents had invested in his education, so instead of becoming a bowmaker, he went to graduate school. He spent the next several years trying and failing at virtually every career known to man and even fled the country to live and teach English in Czechoslovakia for a year and a half. Upon his return, he made one final attempt at a non-bowmaking career–teaching in a high school in Brooklyn, NY. This, too, went badly and he was forced to concede that only a career as a bowmaker would satisfy him. In 1995, after much arm-twisting on the part of an unnamed person or persons, he was able to join the family business as the shop secretary, where slowly and with persistence, he climbed up the ladder, ultimately achieving the position of repairman. In August, 2013, he decided to leave New York for greener pastures and headed south for Philadelphia, and has worked in the shop of Frederick W. Oster Fine Violins ever since.
In his spare time, Steve is an avid violist, actively playing orchestral, chamber, and occasionally solo music. While still living in New York, he spent nine seasons with the Greenwich Village Orchestra (GVO). His move to Philadelphia led him to flee the GVO and join IS (the Independence Sinfonia). Steve’s bows can be heard in some of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, National Symphony, and London Philharmonic. He has made bows for some of the world’s finest musicians, including Renard Edwards, Steven Tenenbom, Timothy Eddy, Jamie Laredo, Kazuhide Isomura, Imelda Marcos, and last, but not least, himself.