Born in 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, American cellist and artisan Gerald Kagan studied cello with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School in New York, before playing with the St. Louis and Pittsburgh Symphonies, as well as the United States Army West Point Band. In 1963, Kagan was appointed assistant principal cellist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York City, maintaining the position for 39 years. In the 1970s, Kagan became interested in bow making, crafting hundreds of bows for violin, viola, cello and double bass throughout his lifetime. Kagan often decorated the frogs and buttons of his bows with distinctive inlay, reflecting his additional talent and aesthetic as a designer of jewelry. Also known as an inventor of tools for musicians, Kagan's inventions include the double-sided carbide cello endpin tip, and a self-adjusting knife-sharpening jig for makers of double reeds. Kagan died in New York in 2012.