Istvan j. balazs - founder, composer, rosin maker
Istvan J. Balazs was born in Miercurrea-Ciuc, Romania. He is a Hungarian film, TV and media composer and a voting member of the World Soundtrack Awards Academy since 2018. Istvan is known for his scores for movies such as the Award Winning “American Family Revival” (US, 2019), When To You Turn To God(HU, 2016), One Day of The Karoli Family(HU, 2017), “JUNGLE” (AT, 2019) movie. Being an active Academy Voting Member of the World Soundtrack Awards, he is working together in the Academy with composers such as Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat, Alan Silvestri, Howard James Newton, Gregson-Williams Rupert and many others in deciding who wins the Film Composer of the Year, Best Original Song written directly for a Film and Television Composer of the Year Awards by casting their votes in two rounds.
Hajnal is the supportive right-hand of A&O Rosin helping her husband István in the various creative tasks such as, rosin box design, labelling, packaging, making sure that every creative process is executed as smoothly as possible. She likes to sing gospel music, play the piano, the mandolin, the Irish flute and the violin. Hajnalka is also working as a German and English college teacher. She is also very versatile in handworks, her creative talents and ideas highly inspired all of of A&O Rosin products design, personalisation and manufacturing.
Why was a&o rosin created
As a composer, István started to handmade for the commissioned film score demo recordings a customised cello rosin, which could help enhance and widen the sound, colour and sonic mood palette of the recorded cello lines. Previously, he had to switch and mix between various types of different vendor’s rosins, to achieve the desired result: to be able to have a full and strong sound and sharp articulation in staccato, spiccato, staccatissimo passages, while also having at hand, warm, luminous, lyrical quality in the high registers of legato passages for maximum expressiveness.
István intends to bring a personalised, fully customisable, premium-quality, 100% fully natural, bio organic, affordable rosin to both students and professionally trained musicians, covering the needs of demanding violinists, violists, cellists and bassists. The manufacturing of the “Alfa & Omega” rosin started on 1st of May, 2022 at his home in Sátoraljaújhely, Hungary.
Rosin is and indispensable ingredient/tool in sound production and response quality and instrument playability.
Preeminently, the experience with a rosin is highly relative and subjective. Two musicians will find their experience with one specific rosin highly different, as they will have different types of bow, strings, bridge, instrument characteristics and qualities which highly count in the measurement equation, and even differences in their technique or playing style.
The major sound, playability and response aspects a rosin can directly influence and alter, are:
- Initial Attack – the power of the starting grab on the string
- Traction Grip – the weight of grip in sustained bowing
- Texture – the playing feel, that the rosin is producing on the string
- Articulation Clarity – the clarity of articulations such as spiccato, ricochet and sautille
- the luminosity, brightness and the sound projection
- the volume of the background(also called side) or surface noise,
- the cleanness, thus the reduced / no noise quality of the sound of the traction),
- the fullness, depth, warmth or complexity / richness of the sound
- the general efficiency of lyrical legato and advanced techniques such as double, triple stopping, sautille, spiccato, ricochet and sostenuto.
Known all these, if a string player need a rosin with a weaker or even stronger initial attack, a smoother or even a slightly rougher bowing feel, a brighter or more luminous sound or even less background / side noise all these without using chemicals as feature shaping additives, how one can go finding one that does exact that? Which specific rosin would you choose, from which maker?
Raw resin compounds can be so highly different, that a rosin manufacturer has a wide palette of ingredients, all of which provide a playing feel and produce a vastly different sound. As rosin is between the bow and string as a direct intermediator, the stickiness and texture of the rosin will considerable affect the strings free vibration.
Thus known, when a musician is choosing a rosin, he/she must consider meticulously, what sound, response and playing characteristics they wish to enhance, instead of simply seeking for something that feels comfortable and usable, that remains on the bow for more than just a few hours…, that is, it might just satisfy the desire for always looking for the newest, fanciest and more interesting one, that can legitimately create the necessity feeling to transition from the current current rosin.
More than that, differences in playability of rosin highly depends almost completely upon the type of the tree, its environment and climate conditions where it grows, but even more, it depends on the specific harvesting solution with which is being extracted from the tree and finally, on how the rosin is finally distilled. Rosin can be extracted by tapping, making a cut in the trunk or by carefully drilling a hole into the internal resin pocket of the tree. It can be also chemically harvested or extracted from the tree stump pulp using a chemical solution. In general resin harvested mechanically, will mostly be more brittle and powderous, and wood rosin harvested chemically more sticky / viscous.
Depending on the distillation time and type with different type of solvents or by using a heating press , rosin can be distilled to different levels of stiffness / pliability which also results in producing very different rosin colours from fully transparent window clear, yellow, amber, brown to dark brown to black.
It it the very first time in the rosin making world, that string performing artists can truly, uncompromisingly, ultimately enhance their sound creation palette, playability and response to fully fit their artistic expression needs and desires when playing their instrument, with their unique and specific playing circumstances and style.
“A & O Rosin Strictly For Maximalists” – Just as You are