Manny Alvarez is an accomplished professional in the string instrument community who embodies the legacy and impact that Samuel Kolstein, Barrie Kolstein and Kolstein Music Inc. has on the string instrument profession. His path to success at the helm of Kolstein’s is uniquely qualified by commitment, service, integrity, musicianship and craftmanship.
Manny’s humble beginnings reflect the American dream and parallel that of the company’s founder Samuel Kolstein. Manny is the son of first-generation immigrants from Central and South America. He began to learn how to play the violin at school when he was seven years old. Raised with modest means, Manny compensated for not having his own personal violin by dedicating many extra hours to the study and practice of the violin when he had access during school hours.
After a decade of playing in school orchestras and developing a passion for the violin, Manny entered the doors of the Kolstein’s main store in Baldwin, NY when he was 17 years of age. He remembers the experience as being bespoke and extraordinary, where he learned the provenance and historical significance of every instrument. This experience was pivotal for Manny as his passion for playing the violin grew into a respect and admiration for the history and craftmanship of fine string instruments, particularly the violin, viola, cello and double bass. Yet unable to purchase an instrument, Kolstein’s made another impression on Manny by affording him an employment opportunity sweeping the luthier workshop and packing Kolstein’s Ultra Formulation Supreme Rosin so that he could begin to work his way towards owning his own instrument.
Throughout his formative years Manny performed and studied the violin under many prestigious orchestras and violin masters while attaining degrees and accolades in the field of communications. Manny was a member of Long Island University (LIU) / CW Post Orchestra and performed in the LIU / CW Post Chamber music festival for 2 consecutive years from 2007-2008. He also spent many seasons as member of the Rockaway Five Towns Symphony Orchestra and Northshore Symphony Orchestra, as well as his first few years of collage as a member of the Nassau Community College Orchestra.
At Nassau County Community College, where he earned an associate degree in Communications, Manny was awarded a scholarship to attend Point Loma Nazarene University in California after leading the speech and debate team to a National Championship held by Phi Rho Pi National Forensic Organization in 2008.
While attending Point Loma Nazarene University, Manny performed in the orchestra and studied the violin under the tutelage of professor and master violinist Philip Tyler D.M. He has also studied under prestigious pedagogues Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck, and Barbra Tullo.
Having the opportunity to play internationally while studying abroad at the University of the Nations in Kona Hawaii, and while on a PhotogenX mission trip to China and Thailand, Manny describes music as a universal language saying “It’s about what’s inside of you, and how you express it. No matter what language you speak, when anyone plays an instrument, others can understand it and appreciate it.”
Returning to Long Island, Manny completed his bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration of Sociology and Communications at Molloy College all the while continuing working at Kolstein’s.
With the support of his wife and 3 children, Manny became President and Owner of Kolstein’s in 2019. He wants to continue the legacy of Kolstein’s that for decades operated with the utmost quality, perfection, integrity and craftmanship in the field. He strives to bring the same nostalgia of his experience with the company from adolescence to everyone who visit’s a Kolstein’s location.
Since taking ownership, Manny has lead Kolstein’s to the addition of 3 new locations in the metropolitan area. Kolstein’s North: located at Roosevelt Field Mall, Kolstein’s Loft: located at the JW Marriot Essex House NY 160 Central Park S, and the Kolstein’s + Children’s Orchestra Society (COS) Music School located at 36 Church Street, Syosset NY.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Manny and Barrie Kolstein started the Musicians Relief Fund, hosting a series of live-stream Benefit Concerts from our Kolstein’s Performance Venue in Baldwin New York to raise funds to address the current needs of musical artists whose incomes are being adversely impacted by the pandemic. The Musician Relief Fund also provides a space for audiences to support and experience incredible live performances from the comfort of their homes.
Manny Alvarez’s mission and vision for Kolstein’s is to impart a passion, respect, commitment and value of the string instrument community to everyone.