Traverse City Record-Eagle


February 27, 2014

Retired physics professor finds new life as fiddler

HUNTINGTON WOODS (AP) — As a physics professor at Wayne State University, Talbert Stein had no time for fiddling around.

When he retired 10 years ago, the Huntington Woods resident found he could pursue the things he always wanted to do.

Stein, 73, picked up the fiddle after setting it aside for 45 years and rediscovered his passion for music. He recently won a composing music contest sponsored by Fiddler magazine.

“I am totally excited about it,” said Stein, whose recent work was judged by a panel of expert fiddle players. “There were 110 entries and mine was chosen as the first-place tune.”

The winning tune, “Muddy Clam,” was named after a clam hunting trip to south New Jersey.

Stein told The Macomb Daily ( ) that he will enjoy the $100 cash prize, three volumes of DVDs from the Fiddle Masters Concert Series, and will always relish the letter recognizing him as the winner.

Stein will also get his winning music score published in the 20th anniversary issue of Fiddler magazine coming out this spring.

Not bad for a former professor who took up playing the fiddle again after retiring.

“When I entered college to study physics, I put the violin aside,” Stein said. “I played since I was 8 years old through Detroit Public Schools and Detroit Cass Tech. I always had a love for music.

“Music was one of things I wanted to renew when I retired. I found a local fiddle teacher; took eight lessons and told her my real focus was to get together and play with people.”

Stein explored the club scene and was welcomed with open arms from other musicians.

“I dived into playing with people,” Stein said. “I made a few connections. At that time I was 63 years old and thought I might have problems finding people.”

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