The Bow Maker



About The Piece

Oscar Bernhardt makes bows for the world’s finest string players. His work requires a specific and rare wood harvested from an ancient Brazilian tree. When the near extinction of this tree puts Oscar’s profession and the future of classical music in jeopardy, he is catapulted into a story that transports him from Europe’s concert halls to Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest. Fusing contemporary classical string music with Brazilian percussion and song, The Bow Maker is a modern fairytale narrated by the trees of the rainforest. The piece brings together international trade, environmental activism and classical music to explore our interconnectedness and our global love of music and art. Based on true events.

Story - Finn Anderson & Tania Azevedo
Book, Music & Lyrics - Finn Anderson


The world’s finest string players must have the world’s finest bows and these bows require a specific, rare wood – Pernambuco, harvested from Brazil’s national tree. In 2001, farming of the tree was restricted due to Pernambuco becoming an endangered species. This sparked an unlikely alliance between world-class bow makers and orchestras worldwide and farmers in Brazil.

Development so Far

Supported by Creative Scotland and British Council, I travelled to Europe to meet the bow makers in their workshops; to Brazil to meet the farmers and activists protecting their national tree; and to spent time with the finest string players here in Scotland to learn about their craft. I was awarded a Musical Theatre Lab to explore this idea, through a new collaboration between National Theatre of Scotland, Dundee Rep and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The Bow Maker was one of 8 new musicals to headline BEAM Festival at Theatre Royal Stratford East in London in 2018, in association with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra.