The Classical Cremonese School, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Protected by the “Consorzio Liutai Cremonesi” that issues a certificate of origin with a SIAE stamp; the “Associazione Italiana Liutaria”; and UNESCO, the classical Cremonese school dedicated to the making of violins, violas and cellos has been the most famous school of its kind since the 16th century. Over the years it has reached the highest levels of technique and style due to its continual evolution in the quest for perfection. Handmade violins constructed using the “classical form” or “inner form” are unique; thus two identical violins can never exist.

The model of the violin and its making

When I have to choose a violin model, I always draw my inspiration from the works of the great Cremonese violin makers: Andrea Amati, Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù. Recently I have also been inspired by the instruments of makers such as Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, which an increasing number of clients have been requesting. When I have decided on the instrument model, I focus on the critical next step, the wood selection. The wood species – principally figured Balkan maple for the back, ribs and neck, and red spruce from Val di Fiemme for the top – must satisfy certain requirements. First and foremost, it must possess qualities similar to the wood of the antique instrument that serves as my model. All the phases involved in the construction require much time and accuracy. Wood is a living material and working it requires skill and patience. From the top and back archings to the plate thicknesses, every step is carefully executed in order to ensure the best acoustic results.

My personal touch

Although inspiration originates from tradition, there is a particular part of violins, violas or cellos that allows greater freedom of expression, namely the upper end of the neck consisting of the scroll. The scroll carving is the personal expression of the maker on the instrument. It represents the personal tastes of the maker and leaves room for Cremonese makers to show off their creative flair. While I am inspired by the classical makers, I can always leave my mark on this part of the instrument.

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