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Ice Cellos by Bill Covitz – Ice Matters

Flexibility and Freedom in Design

Ice artist Bill Covitz had been making ice cellos for about 15 years. He has made 10 to 12 instruments, each differing slightly from the next.

Working with ice gives him the flexibility to be creative and experiment with the shapes and sizes of the instruments.

He collaborates with artists to personalize each instrument. He aims to create instruments to match the ideas in the minds of the performers.

Construction of the Cellos

If he has everything he needs on site, he can make a cello in four to five hours. Covitz says the biggest challenge is working with Mother Nature because she’s 100% unpredictable.

He makes the bodies of the cellos from ice and uses wooden necks and fingerboards. He adds extra ice at the bottom of the cello and a metal rod to hold the instrument in place.

Sometimes he has to add a piece of wood between the ice and the tailgut, depending on the temperature.

Temperature Makes a Difference

Temperature has a dramatic effect on the instruments. If it is really cold, then you can get the top of the cello to vibrate, and you get more sound from the instrument.

Warmer temperatures suck the vibrations into the ice.

The instruments become fragile at either extreme. Performers cannot practice too much once the instrument feels right to them – or the instrument will warm up and change again.

Covitz explains that this is part of the challenge, and also part of the fun.

Expect Nothing – This is an Experience

Covitz says that every musician who comes to play the ice instruments is told not to have preconceived notions – to have no expectations at concerts.

Working with ice instruments is an experience for both the maker and the player. Covitz says:

It’s all about the experience.

Listen to Ice Cellos

These two videos show two cellos with very different body shapes. Please note: the cello plays a bigger part toward the end of the 2nd video.

Contact Bill Covitz

Visit the Ice Matters website for more information and to contact Bill Covitz.

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Bill Covitz


Bill Covitz is the owner of Ice Matters™, an ice carving company he opened in 1999 - however, ice was not his first calling. Bill is a former Chef and a 1991 graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

As a Chef, Bill spent several years working in fine dining restaurants throughout the United States, specializing in French Cuisine, and also worked as a Private Chef in both France and Belgium.

Feeling fulfilled with his career as a Chef, he went looking for a new avenue to explore his artistic calling - leaving the hot kitchen for the cold freezer.

Raised in Ridgefield, CT, he decided to move back to his home state and open an ice carving business. He now works in a 12-degree studio creating ice masterpieces for country clubs, hotels, banquet facilities, restaurants, and individuals throughout Connecticut.

At the 2004 National Ice Carving Association's Nationals, he was the Grand Champion, placing first on both days of the 2-day competition. This honor was the icing on the cake for Bill as he was undefeated in local competitions for several seasons.

In March of 2006, he placed second in the world at the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska.  In February 2009, after taking several years off from competing, he returned to the National Ice Carving Association's Nationals and placed 2nd with his Praying Mantis design....his favorite yet!

Creating ice instruments on a mountain top in Norway, something he has been doing every year since January 2006, has been an exciting challenge and he hopes to continue making ice music possible in the years to come.

2013 proved to be a busy ice music travel season with a four-city tour in February 2013 and a trip to Greenland with a Canadian production company in search of the perfect ice in August. At each location he made instruments for Norwegian musician, Terje Isungset to play.

The year 2014 marked Norway's 200th year of independence, which was a much-celebrated event. Bill replicated buildings in ice for the Norweigan government as well as created the stage and ice instruments for the celebration.

In 2015 after creating cool snow sculptures in Lillehammer, Bill created ice instruments in Geilo for the 10th annual ice music festival.

In 2019 he returned to Norway to create snow sculptures for a top-secret storybook project. . . shhh. . .

On a personal note, he loves golf,  archery, power tools, power toys, wood-working and is the proud father of two boys and husband to the office girl, Jen.

Contact Bill Covitz

Visit the Ice Matters website for more information and to contact Bill Covitz.

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