Violin Making in Cremona: History & Present

From the days of the Old Masters like Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari, all the way to the present, a careful balance of tradition and innovation have made Cremona synonymous with fine stringed instruments.

Italy has maintained its reputation as a powerhouse of fine instrument making for centuries - and for a good reason.

Cremona is the birthplace of the modern violin. The city is known for its fine violins, which have been produced since the 16th century. Antonio Stradivari, one of the most famous violin makers of all time, was from Cremona. Today, the city's Museo del Violino is devoted to their work and valuable instruments.

This competitive environment has led to a great deal of innovation in violin making. Stradivari, for example, used a varnish of his own recipe which is studied to this day. He also developed new techniques and improved upon the methods pioneered by the Amati family.

Who were the famous Cremonese Violin makers?

  • Andrea Amati is credited with being the first violin maker of the Cremonese school. He was a member of the Amati family, a dynasty of luthiers who were responsible for some of the most important innovations in violin making. Andrea Amati began making violins in the 15th century, and his work helped to establish the Cremonese style of violin making.
  • Francesco Ruggeri was another important early violin maker from Cremona. He was a contemporary of Andrea Amati, and is thought to have learned the craft from him.  
  • Antonio Stradivari is the most famous violin maker of all time. He worked in Cremona from 1644 to 1737, and is considered to be the most accomplished violinmaker of all time. His violins are prized for their sound and beauty, and are some of the most expensive instruments in the world.
  • Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù was a violin maker from Cremona who worked in the 18th century. He is considered to be the most important successor to Antonio Stradivari. The Guarneri family is one of the most illustrious in the history of Italian violin-making, with an unbroken lineage dating back to 17th century Cremona. With regard to the appreciation and veneration accorded his instruments, he rivals Antonio Stradivari. His instruments are known as "Del Gesùs" among collectors

Are violins still made in Cremona?

Violin making is a tradition in Cremona that has been handed down from generation to generation. Many of the techniques and methods used today are the same as those used centuries ago.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in traditional violin making techniques. Young luthiers in Cremona are learning the craft and preserving these techniques for future generations. At the same time, they are also incorporating new technologies and materials into their work.

The violins made in Cremona are known for their beauty, craftsmanship, and sound quality. They are prized by musicians all over the world.

The combination of tradition and innovation has resulted in some of the finest violins ever made. Cremona is still considered to be the home of the best violin makers in the world.

About the Author

Pedro Silva is a cellist and one of the co-fourders of Myluthier.co. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2018 with a Master of Arts in cello performance, studying with Guy Johnston. He enjoys an varied freelance career as an orchestral, chamber musician and frequently collaborates with Early Music ensembles and West End productions.

Author
Pedro Silva
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