Contemporary violin makers

Contemporary violin makers: a flowering of the art

Many contemporary violin makers feel as if they are overshadowed by their famous predecessors, and as a matter of fact people’s fascination with historic masterpieces can make it difficult to appreciate the outstanding achievements of our times. But we do not need any blind tests which pair of historic Italian violins against contemporary violin makers' instruments to understand that we live in a time of abundance. Our day and age may not be as strongly characterized by trail-blazing innovations, but there is still a high standard of artisanry amongst nowadays violin makers, and this standard can hold its own against that of the golden days.

Young contemporary violin makers and the new openness of the craft

Contemporary Violin by contemporary violin maker Christoph Götting, 2010

Nowadays, younger generations of violin makers are much more unguarded and stay in open contact with their colleagues, and everyone benefits from the resulting exchange of ideas. In this overview of new artists in the field of violin making, we have listed contemporary violin makers who have come to our attention because of their solid approach, their distinctive profile and of course the excellent quality of their work. It goes without saying that this list of violin makers cannot be considered comprehensive.

The best contemporary violin makers:

  • Marcus Klimke, violin maker, Trelaze, France [Portrait]
  • Christoph Götting, master violin maker and viola maker, Wiesbaden, Germany [Portrait]
  • Daniele Scolari, maestro liutaio, violin maker, Cremona, Italy [Portrait]
  • Stephan von Baehr, violin maker, Paris, France [Portrait]
  • Jan B. Špidlen, violin maker, Prague, Czech Republic [Portrait]
  • Roberto Regazzi, liutaio, Bologna, Italy
  • Frank Ravatin, luthier, Vannes, France
  • Cristiano Ferrazzi, violin maker, Verona, Italy
  • Alessandro Ciciliati, liutaio, Italy 
  • Patrick Robin luthier, violin maker, Angers, FR [Portrait]
  • Joseph Curtin, violin maker, Ann Arbor, USA 
  • Samuel Zygmuntowicz, violin maker, New York, USA [Portrait]
  • Jacques Francais, Jacques Francais Rare Violins Inc., violin maker & restorer, New York, USA
  • Hans Nebel, violin maker, restorer, New Jersey, USA
  • Andreas Hudelmayer, violin maker, fine new instruments, London, UK 
  • John Dilworth, Violin Viola & Cello Maker & Restorer, Oxford, UK 
  • Roger Hargrave, violin maker, London, UK 
  • Franco Simeoni, Liuitaio, Violin maker, Treviso, Italy 
  • Giorgio Grisales, violin maker, Cremona, Italy 
  • Christopher Rowe and Elspeth Rowe, violin and viola makers, Welwyn, Herts, UK 
  • David Munro, violin maker, Romsey, UK 
  • Tibor Szemmelveisz, violin maker & restorer, London, UK 
  • Christoph Germain, violin maker, Philadelphia, USA 
  • Christoph Landon, expert and violin maker, New York, USA 
  • Peter Paul Prier, violin maker, Prier & Sons, Salt Lake City, USA 
  • David Burgess, violin maker, Ann Arbor, USA 
  • Benoit Rolland, bow maker, Boston, USA 
  • Michael Darnton, violin maker, Chicago, USA 
  • Andrew Ryan, violin maker, Providence, Rhode Island, USA 
  • Joseph Curtin, violin maker, Ann Arbor, USA

Important violin makers in history

The following violin makers have shaped the history of their guild or are among its most interesting exponents in the present. An overview without claim to completeness - in chronological order


The violin maker - a brief definition of the craft

The violin maker, also known as a luthier, is a highly skilled craftsman who possesses the knowledge and skills to create high-quality stringed instruments. This includes the selection and treatment of wood, shaping the body, attaching the fingerboard, fitting the strings, adjusting the bridge and other crucial components, as well as fine-tuning the instrument to ensure excellent sound quality. A violin maker can also perform repairs and restorations on old or damaged stringed instruments. This may involve replacing or repairing damaged parts, re-fretting the fingerboard, repairing cracks, or refinishing the instrument. An experienced violin maker has a deep understanding of the acoustic properties of the instruments and can make fine adjustments to optimize their sound and playability. The work of a violin maker requires a great deal of patience, care, and craftsmanship. It is a traditional craft that is often passed down through generations. Violin makers are typically passionate about creating the best possible instruments to provide musicians with an exceptional sound experience.

Violin makers: the legacy

The violin makers, both past and present, play an indispensable role in shaping the world of classical music. From the iconic creations of Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù to the modern innovators carrying on their legacy, each violin maker creates an individual piece with a unique sound. Through their passion, expertise, and unwavering commitment to their craft, these artisans continue to inspire generations of musicians and enchant audiences worldwide. 

Great violin makers and master violin makers have been brought forth by history of violin making, all of whom established traditions and set standards which are still valid in our time. Examining the legacy of these brilliant violin makers is rightfully a major aspect of what contemporary violin makers study, and nearly every violin maker working today would agree that the major fundamentals of the art were defined generations ago. Behind every exceptional violin, there is an exceptional violin maker. Violin makers are talented artisans who meticulously craft each instrument with a perfect blend of craftsmanship, skill, and dedication. The field of violin making yet has secrets to discover which are explored by renowed violin makers who continue to shape the industry today. Here you can find an overview of the most important Cremona violin makers active today.


Useful links:

Instruments by contemporary violin makers at Corilon violins

International violin making competitions -- an overview

Mirecourt's new masters: contemporary violin makers in Mirecourt

Mittenwald violin makers - contemporary masters keeping their tradition alive

In the shadow of the factories: Contemporary violin makers from China and Taiwan 

Online catalogue