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corilon violins

Mittenwald: violin making “in the midst of the forest”


About Mittenwald violins, Mittenwald violin makers and the history of violin making in Bavaria


How and why violin making came to Mittenwald is still not fully understood, even though a great master of the craft,
Matthias Klotz (1653-1743), was known to be a key figure in the early days. The history of violin making loves its founding fathers, whether they be the mythical Tywersus of Mirecourt, the legendary Andrea Amati of Cremona or the patriarch of Vogtland violins, Caspar Hopf. The stories of these men's lives include genius and legend, and fittingly enough, some aspects remain in the dark. An intriguing veil of obscurity has also been drawn across parts of Matthias Klotz's biography: how did this tailor's son find his way back home after training in Padua? Where and for whom did he work in this period? What knowledge and influences did he absorb? And did he visit the great Stainer during his travels?


Economic history gives us more plausible reasons as to why Germany's second violin making centre (along with Markneukirchen) emerged in a Bavarian outpost that was quite literally “mitten im Wald,” in the midst of the forest. While the expertise of Bohemian immigrants formed the cornerstone of the musical industry in Markneukirchen, there were very different and quite advantageous conditions in Mittenwald. The altitudes of the Karwendel mountains yielded excellent tone wood; the town was located along the trade routes from Augsburg south to Bolzano and Venice, providing good opportunities for international sales; and last but not least, the location provided an opportunity to learn from the prominent masters in Tirol and northern Italy. It is no coincidence that the violins of the Klotz family, which shaped Mittenwald violin making well into the 1800s, reflected the traditions of Stainer and Amati.


Selling instruments in Mittenwald quickly took on a professional character: the first presumed “publisher” (i.e. broker) J. Baader hired a dependent violin maker in 1707. J.A. Baader & Co. became the most important violin maker in Mittenwald along with Neuner & Hornsteiner. As was the case elsewhere, Mittenwald violin making became industrialised in the 19th century to meet the high demand for simpler and more affordable instruments. In light of the growing specialisation and division of labour, King Maximilian II of Bavaria took steps to protect the craftsman knowledge that was the fruit of many generations: he founded the Mittenwald violin-making school. After WWI, the violin making industry in Mittenwald collapsed. It was not revived until after WWII and was distinguished by violins of outstanding quality. Nowadays visitors can tour the town's violin-making museum with its excellent collection and learn about the history of Mittenwald violins.



Related articles:

Matthias Klotz and pre-modern violin making in Mittenwald

Mittenwald violin makers - contemporary masters keeping their tradition alive with their vibrant craftsmanship

The Mittenwald violin making competition and other contests

Contemporary violin makers - the modern artisans

Samuel Zygmuntowicz: understanding Stradivarius

New arrivals in our catalogue:
  • Antique Mittenwald violin from the Mittenwald violin-making school, 1919
  • Interesting master violin from Bohemia, approx. 1880
  • Powerful German violin bow by H.R. Pfretzschner
  • Older English violin, J. R. Dutton 1979
  • Fine master violin by Marcus Klimke, contemporary elite violin maker (certificate Markus Klimke)
  • Excellent French violin bow, Morizot Frères (certificate J.F. Raffin)
  • Fine Italian violin by Mario Gadda, approx. 1960 (certificate Mario Gadda)
  • Fine French master violin, Victor Aubry, Paris 1944
  • WORKED OVER AND TONALLY OPTIMIZED: Ernst Heinrich Roth, fine 1955 violin - Guarnerius model
  • Antique German Saxon violin with a bright, warm tone
  • Antique French 3/4 cello by J.T.L., approx. 1880
  • Fine master violin bow by Hermann Richard Pfretzschner
  • Good German violin bow, W. E. Dörfler
  • Fine French violin bow by E. Sartory (certificate J.F. Raffin)
  • Fine English violin bow by Frank Napier / W.E. Hill & Sons (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Mario Gadda, Italian violin after Oreste Candi, 1984 (certificate Mario Gadda)
  • Mario Gadda workshop, Italian violin after Stefano Scarampella
  • Old, 1940's Saxon violin, Markneukirchen, bright warm tones
  • Powerful older silver-mounted violin bow, Germany, by Klaus Ringer
  • Modern violin made in the French style, probably Czech or Hungarian
  • Antique Markneukirchen violin, by Schuster & Co. approx. 1900/1910
  • Antique German violin from Saxony, approx. 1920
  • Old, silver mounted violin bow, after Lupot - noble, classy tone
  • Lothar Seifert, German master violin bow, silver