In 2015, in our late 20s, we opened our workshop in Aachen’s Schildstraße. Here we build and restore, sell and rent violins, violas, cellos, double basses, and their bows since then.
Everyone is welcome in our workshop, no matter how old, no matter if you are just starting or have been at it for decades. Everyone deserves an instrument on which making music is a pleasure!
We are passionate about our craft. It is the complexity that excites us so much. The mixture of craftsmanship, music, history, physics, chemistry, and art. The coming together of a more than 300 years old tradition (from which we hardly deviate in the building process even today) and modern technology (which we use in analyzing and restoring bowed instruments). We love pure handwork with the most beautiful materials. It takes time and patience, skill, and knowledge. We are constantly learning and meeting new people. We never get bored.
I was born in Aachen and grew up here. Music, crafts, and arts have accompanied me all my life. And so I quickly found my vocation.
I completed my training as a violin maker at the top of my class at the International Lutherie School in Antwerp.
I supplemented my training with a specialization year, in which I focused on restoration.
During an internship in the restoration workshop of the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels, I discovered my love for the instruments of the Flemish masters of the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the following years, I worked in renowned workshops in Belgium and Germany. These years were formative. I learned a lot about the old masters, their working methods, and stylistic expressions, and deepened my skills in the extensive restoration of high-quality instruments while always continuing to work on my instruments and ideas at home.
Numerous beautiful violins, violas, and cellos found their way onto my workbench. Among them were instruments of well-known masters like Stradivari, Testore, or Rogeri, but not only those famous examples left a lasting impression: Also a nameless cello – presumably from Venice did so because of its sublime scroll, the deep transparent varnish, and its desolate condition when we first met.
In Tongeren (Belgium), I attended an evening sculpture course for two years. The artistic approach to the material wood sharpened my feeling for its structure, shapes, and sculptures.
Then in 2013, Chris and I took some time off. We visited family in the Philippines and friends in Thailand. During this time, our desire grew to do our own thing and open our workshop in the not-too-distant future.
Back in Germany, I quickly found work in a workshop in Cologne. Following my urge for personal development, I began to study musicology and information processing at the University of Cologne alongside my job.
At the end of 2015, we were ready and took the step into self-employment. We have not regretted it!
In 2018, I passed the master craftsman’s examination in Mittenwald.
Since 2019, I have been on the board of the Arbeitskreis Junger Handwerksunternehmen (Young Craftsmen’s Working Group) in Aachen.
I was born in Belgium, but I spent a large part of my childhood in the Philippines. I was constantly surrounded by music and discovered my musical talent at a very early age.
I still make a lot of music in my free time. My favorite thing is to improvise in a cozy round with friends.
At 18 – still unsure of what I wanted to do in the future – I decided to go to China to gain distance and new impressions. For half a year I trained and meditated at a kung fu school in Deng Feng, very close to the famous Shaolin Temple.
When I returned from China six months later, I enrolled at the International Lutherie School in Antwerp and began my training as a violin maker.
I added a year of specialization to my training in which I focused on the restoration of bowed instruments.
My „Wanderjahre“ brought me to a wide variety of workshops at home and abroad:
For a while, I concentrated exclusively on the restoration of valuable instruments and the challenging topic of expertise.
I created a personal database with thousands of photos, which still helps us in our research today and to which we are constantly adding more information and pictures.
I learned to rehair bows in the style of the Parisian bow-makers and became more and more intensively involved with this essential partner of the instruments I make.
What many don’t know is that bow-making is a very different craft. It’s nothing you learn at school as a violin maker. They use other tools and techniques and different materials.
I like the seemingly simplicity of a bow and find the immense influence it can have on the timbre and playability of an instrument fascinating.
Also worth mentioning is that I worked in a double bass-making workshop for a while. Basses and their needs get neglected by many violin-makers. Due to their size, not all working methods can just be transferred one to one, so I am very glad that I was able to learn from someone who does little else.
When we finally opened our workshop in late 2015 I was happy to be free to follow my ideas.
Some time ago we received a nice email from an author of the Familienbuch-euregio, who drew our attention to the fact that there was a violin-making workshop in Schildstraße in the 1930s! Just next door! What a coincidence!