Famous Musical Saw Musicians
By: The Working Man
In the early days of Musical Saws they were a very popular
instrument, though the players were usually men because bending
the saw properly takes a strong left hand.
But some women have dared the instrument as well, as you can see
- Marlene Dietrich: Entertained troops during World War II and
was a famous performer with the musical saw.
- Natalia Paruz: Natalia Paruz is also known as the "Saw Lady".
She plays in musical movie soundtracks, orchestras and TV
commercials all over the world. She can be seen even in the New
York City Subway. She played the Carnegie Hall in November 2007
as a musical saw soloist. And she played the Madison Square
Garden in June of 2008. She also organizes the Musical Saw
Festival in New York City and in Israel. She has been painted
playing her saw by many artists and is mentioned in three
- Jack Robinson: During the first half of the twentieth century
Jack Robinson played in England. He was born in Blackpool in
1897. He then moved in the 1920's to Liverpool and Edge Lane, and
died in 1943. Jack Robinson played with Harry Wood's Grand Band
at the Palace in Douglas and Isle of Man and Bert Pearson's Band
at Reece's Ballroom in Liverpool. He performed solo concerts for
charities including the Seamen's Orphanage in Liverpool held on
board the RMS Duchess of York. He also professionally cut peoples
hair. His saw and bow are currently on display in the Museum of
Liverpool Life in Liverpool, UK.
- Kev Hopper: He was a bass guitarist in the 1980's for the band
Stump. He made an album titled "Saurus" in 2003 with six original
musical saw songs.
- Terry Zwigoff: formerly a filmmaker and now plays the musical
saw with R. Crumb and His Cheap Suit Serenaders. He also plays
the Stroh Fiddle, Cello and Mandolin.
- Charles Hindmarsh: Is a musical saw player from Harrogate in
England and now plays in Yorkshire. He works for the Harrogate
Borough Council and plays the musical saw all throughout the
United Kingdom. He studied the violin in College and started
playing the musical saw as a party trick. Since, he plays the
musical saw for old time musical hall events, sessions (solo and
accompanied) and charity concerts. He takes part in the "BBC
music live" festival, played in a skip outside of Belfast City
Hall for a "Catalyst Arts" festival, in a folk festival at
Broadstairs and as a part of the International Gilbert and
Sullivan festival in Buxton. He now plays the musical saw
actively and is involved in promoting the playing of the musical
saw through public concerts and workshops.
- David Weiss: He is a retired Los Angeles Philharmonic Principal
Oboe player. He started playing the musical saw as a joke twenty-
two years ago. He is now considered to be on of the world's
foremost musical saw virtuosos. He has appeared on the Prairie
Home Companion, the Tonight Show, at Disneyland, in Movies (O
Brother Where Art Thou?) and on TV commercials. He played the
Hollywood Bowl in July of 1985 in a specially commissioned work
by the Philharmonic. Larry Lipkis's "Harlequin" for bass trombone
and orchestra features a prominent musical saw part which was
played by Weiss at the composition's world premiere performances
with Jeffrey Reynolds on bass trombone and Esa-Pekka Salonen
conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Other performances took
place at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, aboard the QE2 and
other cruises, and as an added feature in most of his oboe
recitals. His album "Virtuoso Saw" received international
- Robert Minden: a Canadian saw player who has been touring and
recording for over 2 decades, learned from folk musician Thomas
Jefferson Scribner on the streets of Santa Cruz, California.
Scribner referred to the forgotten voice of the saw as "The Lost
Sound". There is a statue of Scribner playing the saw in Santa
- Akira Ifukube: used musical saws often in his film scores.
- Julian Koster: of Neutral Milk Hotel played the singing saw,
along with various other instruments, in the band and currently
plays the saw in his solo project, The Music Tapes. Later this
year he is to release an album of Christmas hits played on the
singing saw, entitled "The Singing Saw at Christmastime".
- Eels: occasionally use the singing saw in their live
performances and recordings. In particular, on their Eels with
Strings: Live at Town Hall live album, singing saws are notably
heard during the musical interlude between "Flyswatter" and
"Novocaine For The Soul".
- Emmanuel Brun: was the famous French musical saw player. He met
Yehudi Menuhin and Georggi Cziffra. He was the teacher of Karine
Safar. He died in 2004.
- Bob Pritikin: A San Francisco socialite often performs
classical music on the musical saw at eccentric parties in his
- Karine Safar: plays with the pianist of Emmanuel Brun, Paule
Sagne, in concerts.
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