I’ve been meaning to get back to the trip, but too many photos (and memories!) to get through…

For those just joining us, we started with: AMIS Convention, Day 1
Continuing with: Guitars and Other Strings at the MIM (AMIS Convention, Day 1 continued) and:AMIS Conference at the MIM, Day 2

Here I am enjoying the Sennheiser technology “proximity-sensing auto-playback video-synchronized” (my term) music and video that is featured in most exhibits.  Extremely cool.

I wanted to introduce you to a couple of old and new friends from the AMIS.  These are all musical instrument museum people:

Ken Moore, curator at the New York Met Museum – they’re holding the next AMIS convention at the Met next spring.

The “youngsters.”  Two (Jayson & Michael) have been friends since our first (and only, ’til now) AMIS trip in the U.K. 8 years ago.  The others were new faces.  L-R: Melanie Piddocke, Edinburgh; Jayson Dobney, now at the Met; Jimena Uribe, Mexico City; Jonathan Bouquet & Sarah Richardson, from South Dakota’s National Music Museum (Jonathan’s a lute/guitar guy with much restoration experience); Michael Suing, at the Boston MFA.

With the BMFA’s Darcy Kuronen.  He’s now known as “a guitar guy,” after doing the fantastic Dangerous Curves guitar exhibit and book.  We’ve been a great help to each other over the years.

Many other friends not pictured, include L.A. librarian (and clarinet expert) Al Rice, who convinced me to enter this “scholarly world,” Bill Hettrick (one-time Dolceola researcher), Aurelia Hartenberger (a teacher with a huge instrument collection, including a couple harp guitars), and U.K. dealer Tony Bingham (we ended up doing some business…blog to come!).  And many more…

So, 3 days left, and I spent them pretty much the same way (with a half day break to visit Jaci’s aunt and cousins in Tuscon): lectures and continual traipsing through the vast exhibits trying to take it all in, and capture what notes I could.  I think I have reference photos of pretty much every space – here are just a few random shots:

The Mongolia exhibit was particularly colorful, with beautiful new video footage of players of these instruments.

China was represented in many separate exhibits, each amazing.

It wouldn’t be complete without a Javanese Gamelan Orchestra (or two…).

I became obsessed with the variety and charm of these primitive boat lutes from all across the SE Asian islands.  In the video they sounded somewhat like Appalachian dulcimers.  I subsequently managed to locate a couple decent examples for my own collection.

I’ve always been strangely drawn to “exotic and untamed” Africa (too much Tarzan as a kid?) – both the wildlife and the instruments.  The MIM was an eye-opener of the culture and diversity (not to mention complex history and politics) across the continent.  They’ve put together a vast and wonderful, representative Africa hall.  Seeing and hearing how many of these instruments are actually played and used was the real treat for me (and I assume the general public as well, judging from all the headphones-wearers).

From DRC (the Democratic Republic of the Congo).  I am particularly obsessed with anthropomorphic instruments, especially harp-like instruments.  Again, I was inspired to later track down a couple of similar (but much simpler!) examples for my own humble collection.

I can’t begin to express how much there is to see and learn at the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum (and it’s just getting started…).  In a nutshell:

The vast displays tend to put both one’s intellect and imagination on overload.