Joseph Walsh's rhapsody in wood

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Music and woodwork are combined in a recent collaboration between Joseph Walsh Studio and internationally acclaimed musician Teddy Abrams, Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra. The flowing curves of the one-of-a-kind conductor's rail is a virtual rhapsody in wood.

Completed in September 2023 after a year in the making, this unique ash stage piece was gifted to Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra (Kentucky, USA) as an expression of gratitude to the Louisville-based benefactors and supporters of the arts who introduced Joseph Walsh to Teddy Abrams.


Whilst operating in two different artistic spheres, the two artists bonded over their common vision of creating and collaborating, as a means of bringing people together – both in the process of creation and in its outcome.

A shared vision that led Joseph Walsh to invite Teddy Abrams to participate in Making In 2023, the annual seminar hosted by the Studio in Fartha, Ireland, consists of a series of unique conversations between international makers from across disciplines. This edition featured music for the first time, with Abrams invited not only to speak, but also to perform with an orchestra of Irish musicians on the recently completed sculptural stage piece.

“As a conductor, Teddy Abrams is full of energy, and tries to reach each person in the orchestra, which gave me the idea of creating a rail that would swipe around him to hold him but also capture the movement, as it is tracing the movement of the baton. The challenge of making such a piece did not revolve around its crafting – it’s an area that we are experienced in – but on how relevant it would be in the orchestra. We were adding this new, very contemporary piece into an ensemble of instruments that have existed for centuries. We look forward to seeing how it will fit in with all of these instruments that were there long before.” – Joseph Walsh

“Joseph Walsh is one of the great artists and artisans of our time; he is also a truly generous, thoughtful, and deeply curious creative individual. It is from his generosity of spirit and talent that this extraordinary podium and rail came to be. The piece is exquisite and unique - it lives and breathes with the same fluidity as a conductor and with the same energy of live music. Joseph’s insight into the physicality of music-making is manifest in his brilliant and beautiful work. It is an exceptional honor to bring Joseph’s piece to Louisville, and I can hardly believe that I will have the privilege of performing in concert with his art.” – Teddy Abrams.


In order to create his first-ever conductor’s rail, Joseph Walsh was inspired by Teddy Abrams’s exuberant energy on stage. Grasping Abram’s vibrant personality and blending it with his own universe and way of making, he came up with an intuitive response to what he saw and comprehended from witnessing the conductor at work.

As per usual, Joseph Walsh worked alongside members of his studio to bring his vision to life. Using the designer’s signature wood bending technique, Jonathan Otter (Senior Maker, Workshop Lead) and Gabriel Hielscher (Senior Maker, Assistant Workshop Lead) made the rail in ash, as Keisuke Kawai (Senior Maker) made the baton. Eventually, the piece ended up exactly as Walsh first drew it.

The conductor’s rail will be introduced to the public at the Louisville Orchestra on 18th of April, with Teddy Abrams conducting the orchestra in Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 9. Joseph Walsh will be attending.

Images: Jon Cherry

Learn more about Joseph Walsh Studio in Ireland here 

For information about the Louisville Orchestra see

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