Women Violin Makers

August 21, 2010 at 03:49 AM ·

A non-musician friendĀ  was flipping through my Shar catalog and she asked me a simple question: "Are there no women violin/bow makers?". After I thought about it awhile, I had to admit I never heard of any. I'm sure they're out there, but is there a woman maker who has broken the glass ceiling to make to be among the top names?


Replies (37)

August 21, 2010 at 12:21 PM ·

 My violin was made by Sigrun Seifert and Joseph Grubaugh, a husband and wife team living in California.  They are both very well respected makers (have won many medals and awards for their work)

August 21, 2010 at 01:55 PM ·

Sigrun will be a judge at the upcoming Violin Society of America Competition, so that gives an indication of how she is regarded. Another husband-wife team is Peter and Wendy Moes.

There are quite a few very competent women in the making and repair business, but men far outnumber them. Don't know why. Perhaps dinking around with tools is more appealing to men somehow. You don't see many female hot-rodders or car freaks either.

August 21, 2010 at 02:27 PM ·

Off-hand I can think of a few. Vanna Zambelli who was or is a teacher at the Cremona violin-making school, Laura Vigato in Brescia; Barbara Piccinotti, Daniela Solcà and Katharina Abühl have bases in Cremona, Helen Michetschläger is local to me in Manchester, UK.  Christopher Rowe's wife Elspeth makes, somewhere in the UK. Guido Trotta in Cremona is married to a Japanese violinmaker. The Vettori family in Florence boast a "making" female family member, Laura I think. Later edit :- no, it's Sofia Vettori. And, I am sorry to have missed Carleen Hutchins (d. 2009) - I did not think she qualified, as she is not making currently.

Unless linked to kindred activities such as restoration or dealing, making per se tends not to be lucrative except for the very few. Maybe the ladies think there are better ways to spend their time other than toiling in a fiddle workshop.

August 21, 2010 at 02:52 PM ·

Don't forget Carleen Hutchins, who was a giant in this field for over forty years. Then there's Pam Anderson, who worked at Moennig's in Philadelphia. I can also think of Marilyn Wallin, director of the North Bennett St. School and president of the Violin Society of America, who is highly respected in her field. My wife also made violins for a number of years before going to into other things. Lisbeth Nelson was a classmate at the Prier School, Claire Givens runs a shop with a very fine reputation, and so on. Lynn Hannings and Sue Lipkins both make bows that are highly sought after. I'm sure I've left out quite a few more women, possibly because they just go about their work very quietly, but they're important threads in the fabric of our craft.

August 21, 2010 at 04:38 PM ·

Also Martina Hawe, in Germany. In Cremona there are many many. And we can't forget the most famous Catarina Guarneri, del Gesù's wifes. Many makers wives helped their husbands too, in the past and today.


August 21, 2010 at 05:00 PM ·

Don't forget Jenny Bailly, Jennifer Becker, and Marylin Wallin.

August 21, 2010 at 05:34 PM ·

Anne Cole, in Albuquerque, does beautiful, quirky work and has for decades.

August 21, 2010 at 06:14 PM ·

Lynn Hanning is a very respected bow maker. she actually teaches bow making work shops in Claremont California. A work shop sponsored by violin maker Jim Brown. and has judged at times if I remember correctly

August 21, 2010 at 07:32 PM ·

Mr. Burgass, what kind of cars do you like?

August 21, 2010 at 08:53 PM ·

Ada Quaranta, Pia Klaembt, and Isabelle Wilbaux are all award winning makers as well.

August 21, 2010 at 11:10 PM ·

Caitlin Pugh, in Portland OR, is an up-and-coming young violin and bow maker who won multiple awards in the last VSA competition. I read somewhere that Ming Jiang Zhu's wife is also a violin maker.

August 22, 2010 at 12:31 AM ·

As Rick, my violin too is made by an Husband and Wife duo/team. 


August 22, 2010 at 12:58 AM ·

There seem to have been more women in violin making school as time goes by-that probably bodes well for the future.

August 22, 2010 at 09:30 AM ·

Am I right in guessing that Caterina Guarneri is the earliest documented female violin maker in history, or do we know of anyone earlier than her?

Cool to read about all these luthier ladies!

August 22, 2010 at 12:34 PM ·

"Mr. Burgess, what kind of cars do you like?"

No particular preferences or loyalties. They can all be fascinating, representing some of the most sophisticated engineering and execution (and sometimes art) which can be owned by the average person. Understand in detail how various automotive systems work and why, and this understanding can be applied to most other things in the physical world, including the process of making violins.

August 22, 2010 at 09:31 PM ·

Peg Baumgartel, bows

Sharon Que, violin maker and restorer,  Also worked as a model maker and designer for high end/performance auto makers I think, David 

Joan Balter, trained in Salt Lake school, retorer, dealer

Julie Reed Yeboah, NYC shop

Henrike Perret, married to Phillip Perret violins

Elizabeth Schaak, bows 

August 23, 2010 at 12:59 AM ·

My very talented former assistant, Greta Ritcher, http://www.louisvilleviolins.com/

August 23, 2010 at 08:16 AM ·

And: Michéle Ashley (Boston and Montreal), Kerstin Hoffmann & Claudia Rook (Vienna, Austria), Friederike Dudda (Halle, Germany)

August 24, 2010 at 06:59 AM ·

 Katharina Abbuehl.  listed on this site.  

August 24, 2010 at 07:57 AM ·

 There's about 22 names on the ALADFI list (predominantly France). Not on that list is also the bow maker Doriane Bodart (Paris). My daughter has one of her bows and it's superb.

August 24, 2010 at 11:10 AM ·

 Did anyone mention Riccarda Dacquati, Hildegard Dodel, Bénédicte Friedmann, Allesandra Pedota, and Erika Ricciardi ??

August 25, 2010 at 04:27 PM ·

heres in interesting fiddle maker



September 7, 2010 at 03:59 PM ·

Alessandra Pedotta, Sybille Fehr, Erica Ricciardi and Hildegard Dodel. I did try violins from them just few weeks ago in Cremona. 

September 7, 2010 at 09:21 PM ·

 Wendy Moes, Katharina Abbühl, Ulrike Dederer, Laurence Hamelin, Kathrin Huegel, Marianne Jost , Daniele Ciaccio, Julia van der Waerden, many of these are from the list of participants in the Landon Ole Bull del Gesu copy exhibition in Oslo this spring.

Wendy and Peter Moes are world class makers, maybe some of these younger too. I liked Ulrike Dederers and Laurence Hamelins violins from the exhibition.

In the US you also have Marilyn Wallin, and Claire Curtis.

September 8, 2010 at 12:17 AM ·

Di Cao (Mrs Ken Meyer) of Newton, MA, USA.

September 8, 2010 at 02:56 PM ·

Our V.commie Smiley Hsu's violin is made by Laura Vigato.

September 8, 2010 at 09:22 PM ·

 Martina Hawe Germany, Sharon Que Ann Arbor, USA, Sally Mullikin North Carolina, USA.

September 9, 2010 at 04:30 AM ·

Stephanie Voss is in Atlanta. 

September 20, 2010 at 04:00 PM ·

 Came across this discussion by accident and would like to add my lovely wife, Nelle to the list.  Her beautiful instruments can be seen at: www.Music-FoodForThe Brain.com or, just 'Google' "Nelle Doak O'Neill, Luthier".  On her website, you can watch her make a fiddle.

September 20, 2010 at 09:18 PM ·

jamie marie lazzara - flrenze:


October 24, 2010 at 07:14 PM ·

 Nelle's large viola, "Maggie", commissioned for her grand-niece, Maggie Montler, was awarded 2 silver medals at the recent competition of the Violin Makers Association of Arizona International in Tucson, Arizona.  Nelle was the only woman medalist at this year's event

October 24, 2010 at 09:14 PM ·

Some people believe that Katarina Guarneri, wife of Joseph Guarneri (del Gesu) was a violin maker, and may have assisted in the making of, or even actually been the maker of some of the later instruments credited to him.  Note, that this is quite controversial..

September 3, 2015 at 05:03 AM · Just wondering if anyone has bought a Barbara Piccinotti modern Italian violin? If so, how are you finding it? And how does the sound compare to when you first purchased it? Thanks!

September 3, 2015 at 11:32 PM · Charline Dequincey, who trained as a luthier in Mirecourt, France, makes excellent instruments. She is Guy Harrison's assistant and is based in Ottawa, Canada.


September 4, 2015 at 04:22 AM · There's also Olivia Pelling in Ottawa, from our conversations, I think she also used to work for Guy Harrison. I haven't yet touched violins made by her, but I certainly like her work done on repairs/set-up.

September 5, 2015 at 02:49 PM · Pat Naismith taught violin making and repairing, so she must have made a few herself.

September 5, 2015 at 08:25 PM · Stephanie Voss in Atlanta is highly respected. :)


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