作者: snoopy (史努比) 站內: C_Guitar
標題: [新聞]尼龍弦的發明者逝世
時間: Sat May 3 00:07:41 2003


The New York Times
April 29, 2003

Rose Augustine Is Dead at 93; Championed the Guitar
By ALLAN KOZINN


Rose Augustine, a former chemistry teacher who with her husband
revolutionized the world of the classical guitar by developing the nylon
guitar string and who commissioned new works and underwrote concert series
and competitions, died on April 21 in Manhattan. She was 93 and lived in
Manhattan.

Trained as a pianist and passionate about the harpsichord, Mrs. Augustine
often said that she did not much care for the guitar and its repertory. Yet
anyone who has regularly attended guitar recitals in New York has probably
encountered her: she was as likely to be seen at a debut as at a concert by
a famous player, and chances are she helped pay for the concert.

The Spanish guitarist Andrew Segovia lived with Mrs. Augustine and her
husband, Albert, for 11 years, starting in the late 1940's. Julian Bream,
the greatest guitarist of the post-Segovia generation, never stopped in New
York without visiting her Greenwich Village town house and leaving with a
year's worth of Augustine Imperial guitar strings. And when she spotted
young players who she felt were carrying on the Segovia tradition, she threw
her influence behind their careers.

Mrs. Augustine was born in the Bronx in 1910 and earned a bachelor's degree
at Hunter Colleger and a master's at Columbia University. She became a high
school science teacher but went into the string business after World War II
when her husband, a guitar maker, found that the gut strings traditionally
used for the guitar's three treble strings were in short supply.

Mr. Augustine began experimenting with fishing line and eventually got in
touch with an engineer at DuPont, who was skeptical about the filament's
musical utility. The first samples were said to have had a metallic sound.
But when Segovia commissioned a guitar from Mr. Augustine in 1946, he also
expressed interest in nylon strings. The Augustines found a grinding
machine, originally meant to make binoculars, at a war surplus store on
Canal Street and reconfigured it to grind nylon guitar strings to the right
thickness and consistency.

Segovia quickly became a champion of the new strings, which lasted longer
and could be kept in tune more reliably than the strings guitarists had used
for centuries. His use of the strings created a demand among both amateur
and professional guitarists, and the Augustines began selling them in
packages adorned with Segovia's picture and an endorsement over his
signature. Other companies began using nylon as well, and it quickly
supplanted gut as the standard for classical guitar treble strings.

Mrs. Augustine kept her teaching job during the early years of the family
company, Albert Augustine Ltd., but worked nights filling orders. After her
husband died in 1967, she took over the company, regularly updated its
manufacturing processes and established a thriving market for her strings
around the world.

During the 1980's Mrs. Augustine, who has no immediate survivors, began
underwriting concerts, paying for series at the 92nd Street Y and at the
Manhattan School of Music as well as festivals and competitions throughout
the United States and in Europe. She also commissioned guitar works from
about 20 composers.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company


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