cheaper professional grade violins and bows in Europe
I'm going to Zurich and was hoping to visit some violin and bow shops to try to look for something good enough for concertmaster-solo/concerto playing. Does anyone have feedback on the following:
1. Are there violin and bow shops in Zurich that are worth looking into? I'll be there for a week and would like to look at as many shops as I can.
2. What other countries/cities would you recommend to find more affordable instruments? For example, I'm thinking of visiting the Spidlen and Pilar workshops in Prague-they probably have cheaper stuff than say France and Italy? Is that a correct assumption?
3. Bow shop recommendations in Zurich and other places in Europe?
Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I think it is safe to say Switzerland is the worst possible place in Europe for you to look for a cheaper instrument...
If you are looking for an "old" violin, Marcel Richters in Vienna is an absolute MUST to see. I don't think there will be a better address in central europe. He also has lots of decent bows.
Belgium isn't far from Switzerland and has an established music tradition, including the Brussels Conservatoire. Where there is a Conservatoire the likelihood is that violin dealers and luthiers won't be far away, and someone at the Conservatoire should be able to direct you to a suitable dealer. Similar thoughts apply to other countries near Switzerland, such as Germany and the Netherlands.
Well, this may be a rule of thumb... Salzburg has the very famous Mozarteum, and there are two (or even three?) luthiers as far as I know. But there are greater places than Salzburg to buy an instrument. Although Peter Svatek is a very kind and trustworthy person and also has some good instruments in his shop. So if you should happen to be in the region, visit him.
I imagine that you might be best off with a commission, if you're looking for a contemporary violin for high-level professional playing.
Austria is a nice place to spend your musical holidays. You can start in Salzburg and travel via Linz to Vienna. Or do it the other way. Less than 3 hours by train for the whole trip, and plenty of opportunities. The density of conservatories and top level orchestras is exceptional high, and they all do need good instruments and high quality service.
Amelia, are you still based in Hong Kong? Given the climate there I'm pretty sure Lydia is right and you could need a young and healthy violin. And given your curriculum, you should use an absolutely top notch instrument, no doubt.
Stupid me. Easy to drop you an email via your homepage... As I'll do in the next minutes, if you don't mind...
For a contemporary bow I would consider Mr. Thomas Gerbeth, also located in Vienna.
For violins, Charles Coquet in Paris, Markus Klimke in Angers and Gonzalo Bayolo in Santiago (Spain). Three of the best of many makers I've tried for years in terms of sound and also construction (awarded in the Cremona triennale competition, VSA, Vatelot,Wieniavsky...), and with prices around €15000.Their instruments are in the hands of very good players.
If you're thinking of Spidlen in Prague, you're aiming at world-class talent that is not going to be inexpensive or quick. I'm sure he has a waiting list. Definitely worth a visit-- I've tried one of his violins at that shop and it was very good-- but at this price level and degree of inconvenience, there will be many other makers to consult. Some of the very top European makers, not to mention US makers, may be a bit more expensive, but you can broaden the search considerably and get some excellent results.
If you are looking for cheaper,Martin Schleske ( near Munich) is definitely not cheap.
Philippe Girardin in Neuchatel.