William Eisenbarth began playing the violin in 1953. His Uncle Henry was a fiddler and Bill wanted to be able to play just like him. He began his studies in Bismarck, North Dakota with Harold Van Heuvelen and later studied with Francis Elliot.
Bill attended Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Missouri, and received a degree in Human Relations. Throughout his college years he continued to play the violin. After college, Bill became a District Executive for the Boy Scouts of America but, after four years decided that music, especially the violin, really was his main interest. He returned to college in Winona, Minnesota, to study with Milton Davenport and majored in string music education.
After graduation, Bill taught orchestra in the public schools of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He taught strings at all grade levels, from elementary to high school for twenty-seven years. During these years, Bill became interested in violin repair and building. If a student damaged an instrument, they often could not afford to get them repaired, or the school district repair budget was used up. This forced Bill to make repairs on the instruments himself. He attended many workshops on string repair and became quite proficient in repair work.
In the year 2000, when it came time to retire from public school teaching, Bill recognized that he really enjoyed string repair, and the extra time he now had presented a great opportunity to formally study violin building and repair. He attended Southwest Minnesota Technical College in Red Wing, Minnesota, where he studied string repair with Lisbeth Nelson Butler, and archtop instrument building taught by John Reed. According to John, in all the years he has been teaching the course, Bill was his first student to actually complete a violin in class. Bill likes to say that he went to school to unlearn the bad habits of repair that he acquired, and to learn the correct way to make repairs. He now owns and opporates Eisenbarth Violin Shop, LLC and does repair work for school districts in Northwestern Wisconsin as well as for individuals throughout Northern Wisconsin.
Bill is a founder and the first chairman of the board of the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra, and has been playing in the orchestra for forty six years. Although the violin is his primary instrument, he now plays the viola in the Symphony. In 2007 Bill was again elected to serve on the board of directors of the Symphony and served as chairman of the education committee for six years. During that time he organized the CVSO Summer Ensemble Music Camp and was the camp director. In 2019 Bill was asked to be a member of the CVSO Foundation. To fill in his time, Bill is a founder and plays the viola in the Chippewa Valley String Quartet which was organized in 2002.
Bill now builds violins, violas and cellos, and repairs string instruments in a shop he set up in the basement of his home. His business "Eisenbarth Violin Shop, LLC" is located there also. His wife Karen is also a retired teacher, and they enjoy visiting their two daughters who are also teachers, and of course, their grandsons Nicholas and Ian and granddaughters Lucia and Winnie.
To view Bill's violins, or have repairs made on your string instrument, contact Bill at Eisenbarth Violin Shop, LLC to make an appointment.