Violin is a fascinating, enigmatic object, and so it the profession of violin-making. For more than 500 years it remains one of the most inspiring musical instruments and is unlikely to go out of use anytime soon. One might want to build a violin for practical reasons, as a matter of doing something entirely different from one’s daily duties, as a challenge, as a profession or just for fun. Regardless the reason, completing a violin is quite an achievement.
In my personal case, I got involved with violin-making at the age of 11 because I wanted to fix my poorly sounding factory-made violin. I had done so under the guidance of Master Vladimir Oiberman – my first violin-making teacher. It was such an inspiring experience that it even liberated me as a player.
I made my first violin at the workshop of Master Vladimir Yakimenko when I was a violin student at St.Petersburg Conservatoire. May be it was not a “great” instrument, but it made me happy. It received a Deed of Honor at the National Competition of Violin-Makers in Moscow in 1992 and, at the least, it had the kind of sound I could not afford otherwise. It helped me as a violinist immensely. Soon after I made a violin for my brother too and started my own violin-making studio in St.Petersburg. In order to improve my violin-making skills and knowledge I moved to Europe in 1994, closer to the cultural roots of the violin, violin-making
and classical music. The learning process will never end.
What is a violin?
Much of what we know as european culture rests on Pythagorean notions of the Universe being a musical instrument. These notions permeated all branches of occidental knowledge from philosophy and psychology to the visual arts and music. Apart from mere ergonomics and physics, design of the violin rests the Law of Harmonics which were used by musical instrument makers since the 1c BC and in particular during the Renaissance. Music was coded into almost everything including violins.
The start of professional violin-making in Europe can be dated by December 20, 1511. This is the date on which the countess Isabella d’Este paid Maestro Sebastian da Verona to prepare the timbre for her violins. The move was followed by other European courts and by the end of the 16th century courts which regarded themselves as
sophisticated owned their viol and violin bands. The future of the violin was secured.
The violin band, in other words the quartet consisting of violin, viola and cello formed the core of classical orchestra and thus the core of classical music. Hermann Hesse calls classical music “the epitome and quintessence of our culture, because it is that culture’s clearest, most significant gesture and expression”. Violin occupies the most prominent place within that “gesture and expression”. It is the epitome and quintessence of classical music.
Why share violin-making secrets?
I’ve been teaching and writing about violin since 1995. I was often asked by peers why do not do something better than share my hard-earned knowledge. It is probably difficult to explain without telling the story of how my violin-making atelier was created. I started violin-making at the age of 11 (master Vladimir Oiberman) and playing the violin at the age of 8 (prof. Semyon Ziskind), later graduating from St.Petersburg State (modern violin, prof. Kommisarov, Shulpiakov) and Brussels Royal Conservatoires (baroque violin, prof. Kuijken). I studied violin-making much like it was in the old times: apprenticing to masters. My first masters were Vladimir
Oiberman and Vladimir Yakimenko in Russia. I also frequented the class of professor Luca Primon at the Civic School of Violin-Making in Milan in 1997. My teachers
shared a wealth of knowledge, training me in the ambiance of a real violin-making atelier, rather than school. Since 1995 I worked for La Petite Bande both as a violinist
and violin-maker, producing instruments and innovative research which helped the orchestra in lobbying for the state subsidies. Thorough familiarity with the violin and
its repertoire as well as violinmaking enabled me to teach historical aspects of violinmaking at the School of Arts and Crafts in Pieve di Cento (Ferrara) in 1997 and give a
number of lectures in Belgium, Mexico, Japan, Netherlands (The Hague and Utrecht Conservatoires), France and South Korea. I also worked as a guest-lecturer at The National University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo (2006-2009) and taught violin-making at Daikanyama Academy of Music in Tokyo (2007-2009). Apart from research and teaching, my full-time vocation was making violins. I exhibited them a number of international violin exhibitions such as Mondomusica Cremona,
Mondomusica New York, Tokyo Gengakki Fair, Boston Early Music Exhibition among others, meeting leading performers and their instruments among which
several Stradivari, Guarneri, Amati, Bergonzi, Montagnana and also instruments by now living outstanding masters such as Zygmuntowicz, Greiner and many others.
Since 2010 I live in The Hague, The Netherlands, making fine violins while pursuing my life-long passion for teaching.
Violin-making courses for the complete
- 32 weekends course
- 64 evenings course.
- Specialization courses for professional violin-makers.
Beginner’s courses take place either on weekends or in the evenings. Students learn the basics of wood-working, acoustics, historical aspects of violin-making, varnish and varnishing techniques and setup. The goals are:
- Completion of a high quality, professionally usable violin.
- Learning and memorization of the process which should enable students to develop their violin-making skills on their own.
- Documentation. By the end of the process each student is expected to have a detailed record of what had been done on each day of the course.
Specialization courses focus on specific topics such as acoustics, design, varnishing, historical setup and history of violin development, research and re-construction
- These are a teacher-to-student individual courses.
Demonstration to the professional players and a blind-test against other fine instruments.
Beginner’s courses costs (ca.49€ per hour)
- 1st quarter: registration fee 726 € plus the quarter fee –
- 50 hours – 1742.40€
- 2nd quarter – 50 hours: 2468.40 €
- 3rd quarter – 50 hours: 2468.80 €
- 4th quarter – 50 hours: 2468.80 €
Total duration is 200 hours.
3 hours per evening – 150€. Registration fee 50€.
Professional specialization courses: contact me for a quote and dates: phone +31 70 322 0543,
mobile +31 6 1125 7695 or email bv_at_badiarovviolins.com
Beginning pupils may use the tools of my atelier however they are encouraged to buy their personal set. Additional costs include a set of woods, strings, accessories and varnish materials for one violin. Contact me for more details.
My past experience shows that some pupils may need further advice or use some of my equipment which they do not have at their own violin-making studios. They are always welcome for an advice, or rent my atelier with its tools for a fee of 120€ per day, negotiable in case more time is needed.
What you need
You need passion. If you love the challenge, if it gives you pleasure, you will train your skills and patience and certainly make a beautiful instrument. If you have passion I will help you with equal passion to reach your goals.
What you do not need
Wood-working skills are a plus but not a pre-requisite.
I always tell my pupils, if I can do something, there is no reason you cannot. I will help you to avoid efforts which do not result in a violin by the end of the program. However if you never touched the wood or the tools, you are warmly welcome to make an appointment, visit my atelier and simply give it a try before you decide.
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