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Dear String professional,

Classical music as we know it is facing an existential threat when CITES’ Conference of the Parties (Cop19), meets this coming November in Panama.

The consequences could be devastating to our trade, music education, and performance.

In a nutshell, the proposal submitted by Brazil to list Pernambuco Wood (Paubrasilia Echinata) in Appendix 1, their most restrictive, will make it all but impossible to trade in bows made from that specific species. Travel across international borders will also be highly regulated and scrutinized, potentially leading to bows confiscated by customs agents.

Representatives from member countries will vote on that proposal in mid-November.

I am a professional bowmaker, restorer, and owner / CEO of Arcos Brasil USA, our bows have been a great asset to music education and professional string players worldwide.

I have often had conversations with superb performers and talented teachers; the appreciation for the finesse and playability of the bows coming from Brazil is evident.

I often hear “I wish I had a bow like this when I was young, mine was a club”.

Today I am reaching out to you on behalf of the companies and bow-makers in Brazil, a renaissance group that has positively transformed the trade over the past 25 years.

We have united to bring the case for responsible and sustainable use of Pernambuco wood to the Brazilian authorities. Together, through the years, Brazilian companies nursed over 1 million Pernambuco tree seedlings and handed them out to the community, planting them in indigenous lands, farmlands, and public lands.  We will bring this information to their attention but would like to show them a little more.

We are asking for your help to illustrate how these bows, made by the Brazilian workshops, have impacted the lives and careers of string players, from school programs to professional orchestras. Here is a way you can contribute:

Please record a short video, with a mobile phone or any simple camera of yourself, a student or colleague playing a small passage (10 to 20 seconds) and say a few words about your Pernambuco bow, how you “found each other”, what it means to you and your artistic expression, for example.

Save your video to Dropbox and share it with:

A compilation of these recordings will be added to our presentation to the Authorities in Brazil with the intent of reaching a compromise to amend their proposal, still protecting the species, while maintaining the ability to move freely between international borders, and trade responsibly.

Thank you for contributing to this common cause, and please share this plea with your colleagues.

Vito Vissicaro