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Meet the Makers....
Paris was born into a very artistic family and grew up attached to her violin which she played from a young age. Fascinated by the world of lutherie after a trip to a local luthier at 16 years old, she later went on to follow her passion; first as an apprenctice to Harpsichord maker and restorer Maestro Fergus Hoey, and later at the violin making school at Merton College London under the exceptional Master maker Keith Graves. After focusing on repair and restoration, Paris went on the win a fellowship from the Winston Churchill Trust for her work which allowed her to travel to Florence to work alongside a group of remarkable luthiers and study the Tuscan style and history of violin making with Maestro Francesco Algieri. Her great love of baroque music and history led her to retrain and specialise in Baroque builds with Maestro Fabio Chiari, and she now focuses almost exclusively on the Baroque. Paris makes instruments 'from models' and likes to use her intuition and personal taste guide her while making and varnishing. Paris has exhibited all over the world and is proud to have her instruments played by remarkable professionals and work in collaboration with award winning artists such as Leonardo Frigo and Federico Guglielmo. She is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, The Churchill Trust and a recognised artisan of Homer Faber. From the summer of 2021 she now offers training and masterclasses to promising female indentifying luthiers and will shortly begin her new teaching position at Scuola di Liuteria Toscana Fernando Ferroni.
Born and raised in Gainesville, FL, I began playing the violin at age six after begging for lessons for a couple of years. Between my parents’ love for music and my father’s engineering skills, I developed my own love of music and desire to “tinker” with things in life. In middle school, a local violin shop owner noticed my curiosity of the violin and eventually invited me to apprentice with him. While in college studying for my Bachelors of Music Education, I took my first steps into the world of bow making through The Violin Craftsman Institute under Lynn Hannings and George Rubino. It was there where I learned how to rehair and repair bows. I made my first bow while studying with Steve Beckley, and later made more bows under Lynn Hannings, Rodney Mohr, and David Forbes. I currently apprentice under David Forbes here in my hometown.
Itzel Ávila is a Mexican-Canadian violin maker established in Toronto, a participating member of the Oberlin Violin Makers Workshop (VSA), and the President of the Makers’ Forum since October 2020.
Itzel discovered the art of violin making as a teenager. She graduated with honours in violin performance from the UNAM (Mexico), and holds a Master’s degree in the same discipline from the University of Montreal. As a Violin Maker, Itzel further perfected her skills in Cremona, Italy, and San Francisco, United States, under the supervision of Francis Kuttner, as well as in Montreal, under the supervision of Michèle Ashley. She has worked at the workshops Wilder & Davis in Montreal (restauration and bows), and The Sound Post, Toronto, before establishing her own workshop in 2009.
Very active in the international violin making scene, her instruments participate regularly in exhibitions in Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Canada and the United States. Thanks to her integral formation as an interpreter and violin maker, her instruments are characterized by an ergonomic and comfortable playability, reliable responsiveness, and a clean and clear sound. She is also a photographer and mother of two kids.
Elena Bardella was born in Cremona in 1966, she graduated as a Master violin maker at International School of violinmaking in Cremona in 1984, under the guidance of Giorgio Cè. From 1986 to 1988 she followed a lute-building course and she graduated with Teacher Walter Leoni at the Lombardy Region's Professional Training Center.
In 1982 she won an award as the youngest participant in the National Competition of the city of Bagnacavallo.
It was important for her to meet master Renato Scrollavezza, who in 1988 ,was part of the jury of the International Competition "Antonio Stradivari" ,and thanks to that, she began to attend the workshop receiving valuable advices from the Teacher.
The Teacher Scrollavezza teaches her the vision of the whole, the care and the passion for the softness of the lines without neglecting the decisive trait; over the years, attending the course of that Teacher, she had the opportunity to meet his daughter, Elisa, and his partner, Andrea Zanrè. She feel great appreciation and admiration towards her Teachers such as Pierangelo Balzarini and Primo Pistoni.
In 1989 she opened her workshop in Cremona participating in various national and international competitions.
At the National Competition of Bagnacavallo in 1996 she won the silver medal with a violin.
From 2004 to 2014 she was a member of the "A.Stradivari" Violinmaking Consortium of Cremona and she participated with her instruments at various events and exhibitions.
Her instruments are present in various orchestras in Italy, Latvia, Japan, Germany, Russia . Thailand, and Brazil.
In 2009 the "Sivis Quartet" performed in concert playing the Quartet in C major op.59 n.3 "Rasumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven, with her instruments.
In 2010 she was invited by the International Violin making School”A.Stradivari” of Cremona to preside over the qualification exams, as an external member.
In 2010 she completed the creation of a string quintet.
These instruments belong to Yokohama musicians.
The "Bardella Quintett" quintet
In 2014 she was invited to take part in the jury of the VIII° edition of the National Anlai Competition in Cremona, chaired by the Maestro Antonio Capela.
In 2015 she collaborated to organize the exhibition held in the "Museum of Musical Instruments" in Saint Petersburg, Russia where she exhibited her instruments.
Her instruments are appreciated by the Teachers and the musicians of the Conservatory operating in Saint Petersburg.
She has worked as a Master Tutor for students training at the Civic School of Milan and at the Cologni Foundation for the Arts and Crafts of Milan.
She is also collaborating, actively, on several projects conducted with the Scientific Laboratories of the Cremona Violin Museum, related by various scientific articles and with the School of Violin making of Noceto, in the province of Parma by the Teachers Scrollavezza Zanrè.
Since 2018 she is a member of the Cultural District of violin making.
Since 2021 he collaborates as Maestro-expert with the International School of Violin making "A.Stradivari" In Cremona.
She works in her Atelier in Cremona in Via 11 Febbraio,50.
Kasia's workshop is located in a small village close to the mountains in the southern part of Poland, (in Kobylanka) She has been building hurdy-gurdies for nine years, using models from paintings and for two years she has been researching the information about the forgotten Polish violin maker Antoni Hybel.
Virginie Pezet Berton
Virginie Pezet Berton is from Switzerland; She studied plastic arts in Geneva but passionate about the sound of the violin since childhood, she turned to lutherie at the age of 16.
She graduated from the schools of Mirecourt in 1996 and Newark in 1998.
Virginie Pezet Berton worked in various workshops in Lausanne, Geneva and Paris for 17 years where she devoted herself to learning repair, assembly and sound adjustment techniques.
For more than ten years, she has combined her work as an instrument restorer with her passion for manufacturing.
In July 2015, Virginie Pezet Berton set up her studio in Ivry-sur-Seine (Paris).
Marit Danielson studied violin from a very young age and then viola, which she pursued as a performance major with Emanuel Vardi at The Manhattan School of Music. She completed her undergraduate education at Bryn Mawr College, majoring in Art History and Philosophy. Violin making came as a natural progression, joining her playing education to her studies in aesthetics. Marit studied Violin Making first for two years at North Bennet Street School under Marilyn Wallin and Rodger Perrin, and then for three years in Ann Arbor with Joe Curtin and Gregg Alf when they had a combined shop. At a time when makers have the option to use machines to speed their work along, Marit’s philosophy is to make her violins entirely with hand tools in the manner of the old masters. She even believes in taking the added time to cure her varnish in sunlight. Marit’s violins are enjoyed by serious players across the nation who respect this adherence to craftsmanship and tradition. In addition to her own professional level violins Marit is one of a team of luthiers creating the Richelieu line of violins and violas for Vermont Violins. These are instruments entirely designed and crafted by the team in Vermont as an affordable quality instrument for the serious student. Marit finds there is much to be learned from creating a greater number of instruments as the team is carefully documenting wood sources, densities and plate thicknesses and evaluating their impact on tone quality. Marit has her shop in northern Vermont. When not making violins she enjoys taking walks and doing agility with her Norwich Terrier, Bromley, as well as gardening and training her young Connemara horse.
“I want to be a violin-maker”….. perhaps an odd career choice for a child. I always enjoyed sketching, woodworking, music, painting and various crafts; these first passions became latent as I later pursued various science courses at the University of Alberta, ultimately achieving a degree in nursing. Much later, in a candid conversation with my husband regarding life goals, my dream of being a luthier was discussed. “Why not?” was his question. Thus, I set off across the country from British Columbia to Salt Lake City where I began attending the prestigious Violin Making School of America. At this point, my earlier artistic proclivities combined with my background in science to become assets in the challenge of learning how to create masterpieces of sound and beauty. However, the making of new instruments is complemented by learning aspects of repair and restoration and my continuing journey took me to Wisconsin where I spent three years working in a full repair and restoration shop before eventually returning to my roots in Canada.
As of 2018 I have been offering repair and maintenance services to musicians in the Cranbrook, BC area while continuing to create new violins and violas to a high standard of beauty and function. My handcrafted instruments are built with a close eye to detail and inspired by makers of 300 years ago; my goal is to combine old style construction with the demands of modern music and present day players.
I was born in Reims in France in 1974. Since childhood I have felt a great interest in music. My mother is a musician: she plays the piano and sings and it is certainly she who transmits to me the love and curiosity for notes. At an early age I attended the Conservatory for the study of the violin and viola and then continued my studies by enrolling in the Faculty of Musicology, convinced that a solid cultural basis is fundamental in life.
In 1997 I graduated in violin and in 1999 in viola; in the meantime she continued her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. My thesis in musicology deals with: “The Quintone and the Pardessus de violas with five strings” - supervisor Professor Nicolas Meuss.
During my years of study at the Sorbonne I frequent many luthiers. The scent of resins, the contact with wood, the curiosity to know how a violin is made, gives birth to a passion for violin making.
In 1999 I moved to Cremona to start my new life path with the International School of Lutherie under the guidance of Maestro Giorgio Scolari.
In 2002 I received the Ferraroni Prize as the best graduate student - "Lutherie Technician" and the prize for the best thesis.
After completing my studies, I frequent the workshop of Maestro Eros Barcellari to deepen the study of the stylistic technique and the acoustic aspect. With Maestro Stefano Konya "The Younger" I study the art of painting and fine-tuning the instruments.
In 2007 I opened my workshop in the historic center of Cremona, to devote myself to the construction of violins, violas and cellos. Today my instruments are inspired by the Cremonese school - Stradivari, Guarneri del Gesù - but also by more recent authors such as Ornati. Over the years I have participated in many national and international competitions in Mittenwald, Paris, and in Cremona at the famous Triennale.
I am currently a member of the Antonio Stradivari Violin Makers Consortium and of the ALI (Italian Violin Makers Association).
Daniela Gaidano is an Italian luthier specialized in Violoncello da Spalla.
She has been a professional musician for 25 years, graduating in violin, viola and baroque viola, and performing with many professional orchestras and baroque ensembles (Fondazione Arena di Verona, Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento, Orchestra Barocca Zefiro, Collegium Vocale Gent, etc…). She loves opera of all periods and early music performed with gut strings. In particular she loves playing viola in orchestra, playing those inner parts that subtly support rhythmically or armonically all that is happening around.
For almost 15 years, as co-owner of the company Aquila Corde Armoniche, she made gut strings for early music following the Italian tradition. She actively participated in the revival of this knowledge by interviewing old string makers, researching in treatises and museums, giving lectures in whole Europe and Japan for musicians and luthiers. Her publications in Italian, English and Japanese are available on Amazon and Kindle.
For 10 years she led the branch of the company dedicated to ukuleles. She founded two brands China-made, an online shop and a distributor for Europe. Selling around 8/10.000 ukes per year she was a leader in the European market. She also organized festivals hosting international artists, and events to train teachers. Her goal was to supply affordable but good instruments to increase consciousness and appreciation for intonation and beautiful sound.
Despite the enthusiasm for the craft, research, and travels, being a company owner was definitely not her cup of tea, and she felt relieved when she left.
She took a violin making course with no precise expectations than better understanding her tools, but literally fall in love with this art. After a couple of years studying with Cecilia Piazzi in Trento, she participated in a 15 months training with Dmitry Badiarov, learning the fundamentals of ancient design by harmonical proportions (another Italian legacy almost forgotten) and getting more and more involved with Violoncello da Spalla, an instrument she knew since she made the first strings for Sigiswald Kuijken back in 2003, but she was skeptical about. She found that Violoncello da Spalla was not only fun to play, but has a serious background. She couldn’t resist the excitement of researching, making and performing and she is now fully engaged in undertaking these three activities, together with her supportive husband Alessandro. They work together in Meltina, a tiny village on a sunny plateau in South Tyrol, very close to the inspiring environments of Val di Fiemme and Cremona.
Daniela is also active as a gut strings consultant, cartoonist and karate teacher.
My violin making work has its roots in the family tradition and love for music,
and above all in the unique creative atmosphere of the home where I grew up.
I am continuing the profession of my father - the respected Poznań luthier,
professor Andrzej Łapa. Drawing on his experience as well as the knowledge and skills acquired during my violin making studies at the Academy of Music in Poznań, I founded my own workshop in 2009.
I am involved in both creating new violins and violas and preserving old string
instruments and bows. I also make sound corrections and ergonomic
adjustments, taking into account the individual preferences and needs of
musicians related to the different body structure of each person.
Fabienne Gauchet trained at the Newark School of Violin Making from where she graduated successfully in 1998. She continued her training through apprenticeships, mainly in France, her birth country. Established in Canada since 2000, she worked at Wilder & Davis luthiers for fifteen years. There, she had the opportunity to work on fine instruments and to meet many talented musicians. Enriched by these experiences, she now devotes her time working on new instruments of her own. Constantly seeking to expand her knowledge she has been participating to the New York Contemporary Violin Makers Exhibition, the Forum des Fabricants in Canada, the Oberlin Violin Making Workshop and international violin making competitions. She received certificates of merit for sound for viola 2018 and cello 2018, certificates of merit for workmanship for cello in 2014, violin 2016, viola 2018 at the VSA Competition. She was also was finalist with honorable mention at the 15th and 16th International Triennale Violin making competition in 2018 and 2021.
Brianna Goldberg is a bow maker from Los Angeles, California. Brianna studied with master bow maker Lynn Hannings at the Violin Craftsman Institute at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, as well as the Southern California Violin Makers Workshop.
She trained in rehairing, bow repair, and bow making in the French tradition. Brianna has also studied frog making, advanced bow repair, and bow making with master bow maker George Rubino at both the Southern California Violin Makers Workshop and the Violin Craftsmanship Institute at the University of New
Brianna opened her bow rehair and repair business, BG Bows, in the dining area of her apartment in 2016. Within 3 years, her shop moved into a storefront, located in Pasadena, CA. In 2018, she also worked at Robert Cauer Violins in Hollywood, CA, rehairing and repairing bows, but eventually decided to devote more time to her own shop and bow making.
As a bow maker, Brianna has the utmost respect for the traditional French methods of bow making. She believes bows should be made with playability at the forefront. She specializes in bows for the double bass, the performance of which she has studied extensively. Brianna has had the opportunity to study with fantastic bass teachers and mentors, including Bruce Bransby, Al Laszlo, Don Palma, Francis Senger, and Owen Lee. She holds a Bachelor of Music from New England Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music from University of Cincinnati College-
Conservatory of Music, and 1 1/2 Performer Diplomas from Indiana University, all in Double Bass Performance.
Brianna Goldberg is also a freelance double bassist in the Los Angeles area. She is a member of the Santa Barbara and Monterey Symphonies, and performs with several orchestras around LA, as well as in the film studios. She served as Principal Bass in the El Paso Symphony, and has performed with many orchestras around the country, as well as a touring chamber orchestra in Europe.
Member, American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers
Member, Entente Internationale des Maitres Luthiers et Archetiers d’Art
Studied with John Roskoski and William Salchow of New York
William Salchow's teaching assistant at UNH for the years 1980 – 1990
Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and the Annette Kadé Fellowship; spent a year studying in Paris with Bernard Millant—the world-renowned authority of French bow making
Teacher of bow rehairing, restoration and bow making for historical preservation at universities in the United States; in 2021, celebrating her 35th year of teaching at UNH
Recipient of a 2011 [Bass Bow] Lutherie Prize from the International Society of Bassists
Born in Locarno, Switzerland, in 1993 she moved to Cremona, Italy to attend the “Antonio Stradivari” International School of Violin Making, graduating in 1997. She perfected her technical skills, studying under the guidance of Masters Francesco and Vincenzo Bissolotti.
From 1998 to 2001 she attended a bow making course in Cremona, organised by the Lombardy Region
From 2001 to 2002 she worked in the workshop of Master Rainer Krause in Germany, perfecting her abilities in stringed instrument restoration. In 2007 she taught a course in instrument construction and varnishing in Moresco (AP), Italy
In 2008 she was awarded third prize at the International Violin Making Competition of Queretaro, Mexico In 2012 she participated with a violin in the Triennale International Violin Making Competition of Cremona, obtaining the highest score among Cremonese violin makers.
In 2017 she was awarded first prize for best technique at the International Violin Making Competition in Prague In 2021 she was awarded an honorable mention, obtaining the forth place in the violin category at the Triennale competition of Cremona
Marianne is specialised in the construction of violins, violas, and cellos , paying special attention to the acoustics of her instruments.
Amanda kapousouz lives in athens, ga with her husband and two children. she is a fiddler, knitter, seamstress, bow repairer, teacher, and mother. many creative pursuits have manifested into some pretty exciting careers! from professionally busking in the heart of New York city's subway system to teaching children on films, tv, and even a circus tour, she is always drawn to 'off the beaten path' work.
Amanda relocated from nyc to Athens, GA to spend a few years performing, recording, and touring as 'tin cup prophette'. over the last few years, however, she has had children and has rekindled her love for fiber and textiles.
Drawn to the idea of connection, Amanda seeks work that embodies this concept. from the individual (and literal) connection of stitch to stitch in knitting to the more abstract connection presented in her bow work, she loves discovering relationships. the bow work has provided a connection to all of her favorite things: music, art, science, math, history, and her appreciation for meticulous and precise hand work.
Suslie Guzmán Muñoz
Suslie Guzmán Muñoz, luthier from Mexico, is a graduate of the International School of Violin Making "Antonio Stradivari" in Cremona, Italy, where from 2009 to 2013 she specialized in the art of building violins, violas and cellos under the instruction of teacher Massimo Negroni and with teacher Claudio Amighetti for the maintenance and set up of the instruments. Parallel to the school training, she was able to learn and deepen the classical Cremonese method, with renowned teachers such as Francesco Bissolotti & Sons, with whom she continued her preparation from 2011 until her final return to Mexico in 2014.
Her instruments are handcrafted, following the tradition of classical cremonese, meticulously taking care of every detail in every step of the instrument's realization, using imported woods that are recognized worldwide as the resonance woods of excellence. Also the varnishes are made with natural resins and in a 100% handmade way.
Her instruments have been sold in Europe, Mexico, and the United States. She has been a member of the VSA since 2016, and in November of the same year she participated in the luthier international congress and competition, in Cleveland, Ohio.
I was born in Brescia, Italy, in 1982.
I started my lifelong dedication to instruments in 2008 when I enrolled in the International violinmaking school of Parma. Under the guidance of master Renato Scrollavezza I had the
opportunity to encounter the beauty of the contemporary instrument.
In 2011, having completed my studies, I started an apprenticeship in the Elisa Scrollavezza and Andrea Zanrè workshop’s where I remained as an assistant for the next four years. Here I came into contact with numerous valuable instruments and dedicated myself to construction guided by the passion of Elisa and Andrea.
I refined my skills by attending master classes by Hans Nebel, Filippo Fasser and Lorenzo
Frignani and I approached the restoration with courses held by Sharon Que.
In 2018 I opened my first workshop in Reggio Emilia and in 2020 I moved to Parma, where the collaboration with the atelier Scrollavezza and Zanrè continues, creating a shared working space.
Rebecca graduated from the four year program at NSVM in 2002. Since then has worked as an instrument and bow repairer in shops in London, Toronto and Montreal.
Rebecca was introduced to bow making by a colleague at Wilder & Davis in Montreal, where she was encouraged to pursue more seriously the art of making. She principally makes bows in her private workshop in Montreal's Mile End and continues to repair instruments on the Plateau, Montreal.
Born on the 6th of March 1961 in Dijon Monique's training began in 1989 with a renowned bow-maker; a former pupil of Bernard Ouchard, and a graduate of the School of Lutherie and Bow-making in Mirecourt, Vosges. Following 24 years with her mentor, she perfected her craft under Jean Marc Panhaleux, master bow-maker, in Lille. Throughout this time Monique took valuable advice from a master bow-maker of global renown, Stephane Thomachot, and further refined her skills.
Monique set up her own workshop at the foot of Mont Blanc in 2012 where she has found the tranquility required to successfully pursue her craft. She is a member of the Association of Luthiers and Bow-makers, whose members develop and manufacture stringed instruments.
The quality and precision of Monique's products have helped her to forge unique and close bonds with clients from many countries, to which she often travels. These include: Japan, USA, Switzerland and, of course, France; more specifically Paris where she works for several distinguished families.
Having completed the 3 year course at the Welsh School of Violinmaking in
Abertridwr, GB in 1983, Sibylle Ruppert spend the following 5 years working with
Gerriet Groth in Wiesbaden and Martin Koch Löbner in Tübingen.
In 1988 she emigrated to Canada , establishing shop with husband and fellow
luthier Gregory Walke in Paisley Ontario.
While repair work for city shops featured large at the beginning, Sibylle has
created and sold new instruments every year throughout her working life.
Sibylle continues servicing and maintaining string instruments in her area, but new
making has become the focus. An archive of classic outlines and information on
violins and cellos- instruments, which have drawn her attention over the years,
serve for reference.
Besides classic outlines, Sibylle uses a cello design and two violin models of her
own and appreciates the work of contemporary makers. Being geographically
rooted with the choice of materials is another important aspect of Sibylle’s work.
She has explored Canadian Maples, Poplar and Tulip Wood as well as White- and
Engleman Spruce and uses North American woods frequently.
Organizations such as the VSA , the exhibits of the Canadian Forum of Makers and
regionally the luthiers’ meeting at the annual Sweetwater Music Festival in Owen
Sound have stripped violinmaking of its secretive manner, and fostered a lively
Likewise Sibylle Ruppert knows
herself to be in good company with this 2022 Exhibit Celebrating Women Luthiers.
Anna studied violin making at North Bennet Street School of Boston under Kevin Kelly and graduated from the program in 2001. For several years she worked with Arthur Toman learning instrument set up, tone-adjustment, repair and restoration.
Anna currently resides in Portland, OR.
Her instruments are entirely handmade, characterized by bold tone and flowing workmanship. Her instruments are typically built using well aged species of North American tone wood, which contributes to their unique tone and appearance. Anna also welcomes the opportunity to work with players to build custom instruments.
Carrie grew up playing the violin, and then viola, in Alamo, California. While attending college she became interested in learning how to make and repair violins. This led to a one year apprenticeship with a retired violin shop owner, Walter Archibald, who worked in San Francisco from the 1930's. He was co owner of Jacob & Archibald, 1945-1958. That experience confirmed her desire to pursue a career in the field.
In 1979 Carrie arrived in Salt Lake City to attend the Violin Making School of America. Graduating in 1983 she was then asked to teach the Varnish and Set Up classes at the school. Michael Scoggins, her husband, was the Woodworking instructor. They taught from 1984 – 1988.
Scoggins & Scoggins Violin Shop opened in the summer of 1988 in Salt Lake City. The shop served the string instrument community in Utah and the surrounding states for 28 years.
Carrie closed the retail shop in May 2016 to focus on the construction of new instruments to accommodate the increased demand for her instruments.
Member: American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers Violin Society of America
Violin maker daughter of a violin maker father, Elisa grew up in close contact with Renato Scrollavezza's activity as a luthier, from whom she also naturally inherited a passion for art, antiques and a free and creative vision of existence on which her future will be modeled. The decision to follow in her father's footsteps on a professional level was taken at the age of 18, with the choice of following the course held by him at the Parma Conservatory of Music, while attending at the same time the violin classes and later music pedagogy.
After graduating in 1991, Elisa started her own independent production, though closely linked to the example of her father Renato, who she began to assist as an instructor at the school. In the following decades and until today, Elisa has had a fundamental role in forming generations of students, who in turn often became successful luthiers.
Kristin Siegfried Ballenger
Kristin Siegfried Ballenger is a Chicago based Violin Maker and Instructor at the Chicago School of Violin Making. She is a graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making as well as Illinois Wesleyan University. While still in school at CSVM she began working for Peter Seman at Seman Violins, where she continued after graduation. In 2019 she began as instructor at the Chicago School of Violin Making along side Executive Director Antoine Nédélec.
As a participant in the Oberlin Violin Makers and Restorers workshops, she continues to pursue new techniques while continually refining her craft.
Her instruments have been represented by Indianapolis Violins, McLaughlin Violins, Reed Yeboah Fine Violins, and Seman Violins.
Kristin is a Board Member of the Violin Society of America, and has served on committees for the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers.
Rachel Spitz-Becker is a maker and restorer of fine instruments in Jersey City, NJ. She received degrees from Bard College in cello performance and physics, after which she enrolled and graduated from the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City. Rachel worked as a restorer for six years at Reed-Yeboah Fine Violins in New York City, where she gained skills and experience performing complex restorations on high end instruments. In 2021, Rachel left RYFV to set up Spitz-Becker Violins, where she continues to work on restorations in addition to making new instruments. She has recently attended the prestigious Oberlin Violin Makers Workshop and been featured several times in the Contemporary Violin Makers Exhibition in New York City. Outside the workshop, she spends her time rock climbing and gardening with her wife.
I was born on March 24, 1995 in Bielsko-Biała (Poland). Folk culture and tradition were an integral part of my life which is why I took an interest in string instruments from an early age. For 13 years, I was a member of the Ondraszek, a Regional Song and Dance Team from Szczyrk. During that time, my team attended various International Folklore Festivals, including events in Italy, Germany, Romania, and Hungary. In 2011, I was accepted into the Antoni Kenar High School of Art in Zakopane. Under the supervision of Jerzy Niton, I began my violin-making journey, and after four years of studying, I obtained the title of Artist.
The next stage of my education was studying violin making at the Academy of Music in Poznań, where under the supervision of prof. Andrzej Łapa and Jan Mazurek, MA, I explored issues related to the construction of instruments. During the five years of academic education, I took part in the violin-making workshop conducted by world-famous violin makers, such as Andreas Kägi, Francois Denis, Iris Carr, and Samuel Zygmuntowicz. Due to their tutelage, I became familiar with various concepts and expanded the knowledge of my specialty.
My submission piece in the Wlodzimierz Kaminski 6th International Violin Making Competition was recognized in the “Open” category. This honor was given to a select few participants, that included students and masters from all around the world.
In the same competition, I presented a 4/4 violin based on the Marcin Groblicz’s model MNP I 799, which is a flagship example of the stylistic features of the Polish Violin Making School. I presented the same instrument during an International Violin Making Competition in Malta in 2020.
I have focused on two distinct violin styles. I have constructed ten violins that were styled on the classic models of the Italian masters of the art of violin making. However, during the 2nd-degree studies I focused on building violins in accordance with the Polish Violin Making School. Thanks to the skills I gained in high school, I constructed two unique violins which gained recognition at the competitions mentioned above. In September 2020, I graduated with honors from the Academy of Music in Poznań after presenting the thesis titled "Women in the Art of Violin Making".
Currently, I focus my work on building new instruments styled on the classic models of the Polish and Italian Violin Making Schools.
Katrien Vandermeersch was born in 1956 in Canada.
She received her training as a violinmaker at Cmb “Centrum voor Muziekinstrumenten Bouw” ,Puurs / Belgium. Earned a Master Degree in Music – specialization: Musical Instruments / violinmaking - School of the Arts in Ghent / Belgium
She is not only fascinated by the sound and the beauty of an instrument, but also by acoustical research and above all by baroque instruments. Her instruments are personal redesigned models based upon 17th Century models, Italian but also inspired by the Flemish School. She works primarily with projects like the construction of the “basse de violon”(after G. Bourbon) , the construction of a baroque 5 string cello or the making of a tenor viola (after Brothers Amati).
Lately she also made a violoncello jazz 5 strings.
For this Women Luthiers Exhibit she shows two viola’s, based upon a model of Ornati/Montegazza (same outline).
After receiving a dual degree in Double Bass Performance and Violin Making from Indiana University, Erin worked for Hans Weisshaar Violins for two years before moving to Halifax N.S. in 2019 and setting up her shop. She specializes in set up and repair of violin family instruments, as well as bow rehairing and repair. She has previously attended the Southern California Violin and Bow makers institute, as well as been a member of the ISB build-a-bass team.
Sofia Vettori was born in Fiesole in 1981 to accomplished luthier Paolo Vettori. She is the granddaughter of Dario Vettori. She began to take an interest in the world of music at a very early age, studying the violin first privately, then at the Cherubini Conservatory in Florence. In 2005, she recieved her diploma from the Mascagni Conservatory in Livorno under the guidance of Petru Horvath. She also studied the faculties of Literature at the University of Florence, studying the old Mesopotamian archeology. Here, she recieved her diploma in 2004. Sofia is a very talented violin maker, and she has produced several instruments in her family’s workshop. She prefers a traditional appearance, often following the technique and aesthetic of Guarneri del Gesù and G.B. Guandagnini. She has researched the old formulas of varnish from old manuscripts of her grandfather Dario.
Sofia’s instruments have a remarkable and unique quality of sound, and a beautiful and sophisticated appearance. She tracks the production of her instruments with photographs and notes compiled into unique books, and affords each instrument a unique personality and name. Selections from these books can be viewed on each of her instrument pages.
A Member of VDG: Federation of German Violin and Bow Makers since 2002, Stephanie maintains a shop with emphasis on large restoration projects and the making of new instruments for professional and amateur players.
10/93 – 2/94 Master Course and Master Exam in Violin Making Mittenwald and Munich / Germany Graduated: Geigenbaumeisterin (Master Diploma)
8/87 – 9/93 Hermann G. Woerz, Munich/Germany Violin Maker Responsible for repairs and restorations as well as bow repairs. 2/84 – 7/87 Violin Making School in Mittenwald/Germany Graduated: Certified Violin Maker.
Award-winning contemporary violin maker Marilyn Wallin has emerged as an influential leader in the field. She has served as the President of the Violin Society of America as well as the Governor of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers. Among her distinctions are two Silver Medals for violins and one Silver Medal for viola. Her instruments are played by members of the New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony as well as by former students of Juilliard and the New England Conservatory.
The work of a master luthier is imbued with a personal imprint - the gesture - which determines the character of each of the instruments he makes. The gesture gives the instrument an exceptional quality that the connoisseur instantly recognizes: the distinctive mark of the master's personality.
Isabelle Wilbaux, master luthier, was born (1965) and raised in Tournai, a city of great cultural richness among the oldest in Belgium. She has been making violins, violas and cellos for over 20 years. Some of the greatest virtuosos play his instruments today: violinists Sergiu Luca and Régis Pasquier, cellist Amélie Fradette, violinist Laura Andriani and cellist David Ellis of the Alcan Quartet, and many more.
Isabelle Wilbaux graduated as Maestro liutaio (Master luthier) in 1988 from the International School of Violin Making in Cremona, Italy. This prestigious school perpetuates the tradition of the great masters of Crémonese violin making: Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari. Isabelle also perfected her art for several years with Philippe Bodart in Besançon, France, and Jose-Maria Lozano in Madrid. She then opened her own workshop, first in Tournai, then in Brussels, and finally in Montreal where she has been working successfully since 1998.
“My goal is to promote a fruitful and lasting alliance between the instrument and the musician, ” says Isabelle Wilbaux. Wood is my first guide: its density, its homogeneity, its beauty and, of course, its sound. I also prepare a unique varnish which enhances and protects both the visual aspect and the inherent sound qualities of the wood.
“Power, warmth and richness are the qualities that musicians generally attribute to the sound of my instruments. This sound is the result of thousands of hours of research, experimentation and hard work. Today, after more than 20 years of fine-tuning, my instruments give musicians what they want most: an extraordinarily rich palette of sonic colors to deploy. "
Isabelle Wilbaux has won over the years numerous awards for the sound and quality of execution of her instruments, from The Violin Society of America , international competitions from the city of Paris, Cremona and Mittenwald, and others. again in Canada, the United States and Europe.
I was born in Germany into a musical family, started music lessons at age four and took up the cello when I was ten. I soon became interested in the mystery of instrument construction and, after making my first violin at age eighteen, I wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of my life making violins.
I graduated with Merit from the Newark School of Violin Making in Newark, England in 1987, and proceeded to work as a violin maker and restorer for the Beverley Music Center in the UK and for Sandra Wagstaff Violins in Hong Kong. In 1992 I set up my own business as a violin maker and restorer in Hong Kong. I also played as a freelance cellist, performing all over Hong Kong and going on several tours of China and Taiwan. This experience really put me in touch with the needs of the working musician.
In 1998, I was asked to assist in setting up the workshop of Vintage Violins in Vancouver, B.C, and spent three months there.
After years of working on my own, I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1999 where I worked for Claire Givens Violins, followed by a few years at House of Note in St Louis Park, MN. While continuing to make instruments in my home workshop I also pursued music-making, playing in a succession of chamber groups and pit orchestras as well as a minimalist avant-garde pop-band by the name of Smattering.
In early 2011, I joined the non-profit "Luthiers sans Frontieres", an organization which supports cultural life in underprivileged places by dispatching teams of luthiers, alongside donations of instruments and tools. To find out more about LSF, click here lsfusa.org.
From 2012 through 2016, I taught violin making at Minnesota State College Southeast in Red Wing, MN.
In the interest of continued professional growth, I have been attending the VSA's Violin Makers' Workshop in Oberlin, OH, annually since 2012. Memberships include the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, the VSA, and the Twin Cities Musicians' Union.
I currently divide my time between making fine instruments, doing restoration, playing as a freelance cellist, subbing with the Mankato Symphony as well as the Duluth and Superior Symphony, serving on the advisory board for the violin repair program at Southeast Technical College in Red Wing, MN, and serving as board president for Luthiers sans Frontieres USA.
Celebrating Women Luthiers
An International Exhibit
Thanks to all that made the 2022 event a huge success! Stay tuned here for information on future Exhibits