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 Junior College in Bismarck and then attended Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Missouri, and earned a B.S. degree in Human Relations. Throughout his college years he continued to play the violin. After graduation, 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 love and interest. He returned to college in Winona, Minnesota, studied the violin with Milton Davenport, and majored in string music education.
Bill then taught orchestra in the public schools in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and taught strings students in elementary, middle and 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, giving him the opportunity to make repairs on the instruments himself. He attended many workshops on string repair and became quite proficient at it.
In the year 2000, when it came time to retire from public school teaching, Bill attended Southwest Minnesota Technical College in Red Wing, Minnesota, where he studied string repair with Lisbeth Nelson Butler, and archtop instrument building with John Reed. Bill likes to say that he went to school to unlearn the bad habits of repair that he acquired on his own, and to learn the correct methods of instrument repair.
Bill is a founder and the first chairman of the board of the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra, and played the violin and viola in the orchestra for forty six years. In 2007 he 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. Bill is also a founder and played the viola in the Chippewa Valley String Quartet from 2002 to 2019.
Bill now owns and opporates Eisenbarth Violin Shop, LLC in Eau Claire, WI and does repair work for school districts in Northwestern Wisconsin as well as for individuals throughout Northern Wisconsin. His business is located in the basement of his home where he also builds violins, violas and cellos. His wife Karen is a retired english teacher, and they enjoy visiting their two daughters, Jennifer and Kerry, who are also teachers, and their grandsons Nicholas and Ian and granddaughters Lucia and Winnie.
To view Bill’s violins and cellos, or have repairs made on your string instrument, contact Bill at Eisenbarth Violin Shop, LLC to make an appointment.