Daniele Scolari and the second generation of the new art of violin-making in Cremona

Daniele Scolari is a luthier whose journey began in the new Cremonese school. A portrait of a man who represents the “second generation”

The revival of violin making in Cremona in the 1950s and 60s brought about a renaissance of Stradivari’s art in his northern Italian home. The fact that this development evolved into more than merely a footnote in cultural history is not due solely to the efforts of masters such as Pietro Sgarabotto, Gio Batta Morassi and Francesco Bissolotti, who all shaped the new “scuola di liuteria.” The resurgence also took place because of the talented second- and third-generation violin makers who came after them. This chapter in violin making history would have taken a different turn were it not for their commitment to the re-discovered traditions of the old masters and their willingness to share their expertise through teaching and professional collaboration.

The most relevant protagonists in this story include Daniele Scolari, who was born in 1961 and successfully completed his training under Gio Batta Morassi in 1979. In this regard he followed in the footsteps of his brother, Giorgio Scolari, who was nearly a decade his senior and spent six years working for Morassi. Beginning in 1980, Giorgio started sharing his profound knowledge of the new Cremonese school with Daniele Scolari, who perfected and refined his personal style at their jointly operated workshop. To this day, the two Scolari brothers still operate their family business on Via Virgilio – one of the top names in this city full of traditions for those in search of premium stringed instruments. The address also reflects the multi-facetted links across the generations.

In designing his violins, violas and cellos, Daniele Scolari derives most of his inspiration from the models of the great classics Stradivari and Guarneri. (Violin by Daniele Scolari, Cremona). With their multi-facetted tonal properties and their typical brownish-orange varnish, Scolari’s instruments have brought him a good name throughout Italy and beyond, and he has an outstanding reputation for his repair and restoration work. The excellent standards of his work are clearly evident in a series of important awards and honours: in 1984, early in his career, he won a gold medal for the best varnish at the violin making competition in Bagnacavallo; there he also brought home a silver medal for a violin in 1986 and two bronzes in 1988 for a violin and a viola. His constant presence at international exhibitions such as “Mondomusica” and his role as a juror at national violin making competitions in Pisogne and Mozzate all confirm the role Daniele Scolari has earned for himself in contemporary Italian violin making.

Since 1996, Daniele Scolari has been working at his alma mater, teaching construction principles and varnish. This allows him not only to make productive use of the knowledge and skills he has acquired, but to continue to share it with the next generation in his guild and to continue anchoring Cremona’s role in the future. Here too, he followed in his brother’s footsteps: Giorgio Scolari has been on staff at the Cremonese violin making school since 1973, and like his brother who studied piano and organ, Daniele Scolari pursues a demanding musical profile outside of the workshop. As a church organist and head of a vocal and instrumental ensemble, Daniele can focus on his much-beloved compositions of the late Renaissance and Baroque periods – musical epochs which serve as an important muse, both in his music and in his instruments.

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