Tradition & Innovation: The Best Contemporary Violin Makers of 2023

The art of violin making has been elevated to new heights in contemporary times, as traditional techniques are blended with innovative designs to create some of the finest instruments of our era. As the leading provider of contemporary violins, violas, cellos, and bows, MyLuthier is dedicated to sourcing and offering the best examples of violin making available.

Our team, comprised of professional musicians, travels extensively to bring you a selection of the finest contemporary violin makers of 2023.

It is important to note that this list is by no means exhaustive, but rather a record of the most impressive makers and instruments that we have come across in our travels this year. The world of contemporary violin making is constantly evolving, with new makers emerging and established makers pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Our goal is to bring you a snapshot of the best of what is being produced today, but we encourage you to continue your own exploration and discover the many talented makers and beautiful instruments that are out there.

Marc Paquin

Marc Paquin is a Swiss-born and Granada-based luthier who stands out among his peers as both a master violin maker and professional musician. He discovered his passion for violin making after studying violin performance at the Guildhall School of Music in London. He honed his skills under the tutelage of renowned makers Philippe Girardin and Sylvain Rusticoni in Switzerland, and also took restoration courses with Jean-Jacques Fasnacht.

Since 2006, Marc has been dedicated to researching the sound, power, timbre, and playability of string instruments. Today, his instruments are sought after by professionals and international soloists, including Sergey Malov, Leticia Moreno, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Tatiana Samouil, Sungsic Yang, and many others across countries such as Spain, England, Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Austria, the United States, Canada, Korea, China, and Australia.

Violin by Marc Paquin, 2022

violin by marc paquin

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Gregg Alf

american violin maker

Gregg Alf is a leading violin maker who has earned a reputation for crafting high-quality concert instruments. He graduated from the Violinmaking School in Cremona, Italy in 1980, where he lived for many years before establishing the successful partnership of Curtin & Alf with his friend Joseph Curtin.

Gregg's exceptional work has earned him several gold medals and the distinction of "Hors Concours" from the Violin Society of America. He now runs Alf Studios in the United States and is sought after as a teacher, sharing his knowledge and experience with aspiring violin makers. Many of his students have gone on to establish successful careers of their own.

Violin by Gregg Alf, Ann Arbor 2003

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Joseph Curtin

joseph curtin violins

Joseph Curtin is a renowned American violin maker based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has gained recognition as one of the best contemporary violin makers in the world. In 2005, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellows Program "genius grant."

Curtin is known for incorporating technology such as MRIs, lasers, and scanning devices to analyze the acoustics of violins, which inform his designs. He uses this information to make replicas of iconic antique violins and to explore innovative designs, including those made from carbon fiber. Additionally, he leads workshops on violin design through the Violin Society of America, an organization of violin makers.

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Elina Kaljunen

Elina Kaljunen, a contemporary violin maker and restorer based in Helsinki, Finland, is known for her skills in creating new instruments and repairing existing ones. With a diploma from the Cremona International Violin Making School in Italy and apprenticeship experience with John Dilworth in London, Elina has honed her craft and is a member of The Guild of Finnish Violinmakers, BVM, and VSA.

In creating new instruments, Elina follows classical Italian violin making traditions and looks to Stradivari's designs as well as other inspirational makers for guidance. She can create new instruments in a traditional style or in a copy style and works closely with her customers to ensure their preferences in terms of tone and appearance are met. Collaboration between the maker and musician is crucial for a successful and comfortable playing experience.

Violin by Elina Kaljunen, 2022

kaljunen violin

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Edgar Russ

italian violin maker

Edgar Russ is a master violin maker with over 30 years of experience in creating instruments that are prized for their beauty, tonal power, and harmonious balance of technical skill and artistic sensibility. He has honed his craft through collaborations with some of the world's best violin workshops and has built a reputation for his high level of expertise. Throughout his career, Russ has worked closely with professional musicians, including seven members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, to perfect the sound of his instruments to meet their exacting needs. His violins, violas, cellos, and double basses are highly sought after and their value continues to grow over time, cementing Russ's status as a distinguished master violin maker.

Violin by Edgar Russ, Cremona 2014

cremona violin

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About the Author

MyLuthier was started by two friends while they were studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London. The idea was to provide musicians with exceptional instruments at a price they can afford. We travelled Europe in search for the best contemporary makers and we’re proud of our selection and the partnerships we’ve developed.

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