Pioneer Valley Soundscapes

William Cumpiano

William Cumpiano in his workshop

Born in Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican father and a Bostonian, Jewish mother working at the University of Puerto Rico, William has since lived all over the Valley and now lives in Northampton. He is a master luthier, specializing in guitars and many Caribbean instruments, including the cuatro. After mastering European stringed instruments, he realized he knew nothing about the instruments of his Puerto Rican roots and set out to learn about the cuatro, tres, and others. One of William’s current passions is the history of the cuatro and Puerto Rican music. He is the co-founder of the Cuatro Project, a 15-year old documentary project dedicated to researching and archiving Puerto Rican musical traditions. He interacts with many of the musicians in the Valley and the broader region, making and repairing instruments for them.

His instrument making and repair workshop—shared with Harry Becker—is right on the town line between Northampton and Easthampton, Massachusetts.  Visit William's website or the Wikipedia page on him to learn more.