Hungarian luthier Otto Erdesz (1917 - 2000) studied art at the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts before becoming a violin maker in the 1940s. Largely self-taught, Erdesz received guidance from Maximilian Frirsz, until both makers fled Budapest to the United States during the Soviet invasion of 1956. After establishing a textile design business in New York, Erdesz returned to violin making in 1963, selling his instruments through the Wurlitzer Company in Manhattan and William Moennig in Philadelphia. He worked briefly in Israel, marrying renowned Israeli violist Rivka Golani, and designing for her the innovative "cut-away" viola, which has an indented upper bout to facilitate playing in high positions. Settling first in Toronto, Canada in 1973, then Fort Lee New Jersey in 1983, Erdesz built violins and violas until his death in 2000.