Violins by Florian Leonhard

November 2, 2016 at 05:52 PM · Hello everyone,

I'm an advanced student who is seeking a fine instrument but have found no success with local violin shops. My range can go up to $25,000 or £23,000 depending where am I getting my instrument but my optimal price range is below $15K. I heard about violins by Florian Leonhard, who sponsors the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin competition for Young Violinists has bench copy violins that are made from authentic fine italians. Does anyone know anything about that maker?

If anyone knows anything about his violins and the price range, feel free to reply in the comments below. Much appreciated!

Replies (30)

November 2, 2016 at 06:06 PM · If you can buy a new violin made from authentic fine old Italians, by all means do so, unfortunately I think you're really just getting a copy!!

November 2, 2016 at 06:32 PM · My only concern right now is the price range and the quality. I really don't care if it is a copy.

November 2, 2016 at 06:46 PM · I was just trying to be funny, you said a violin made from fine Italians, instead of a violin copied from fine Italians he had had on his bench.

November 2, 2016 at 07:39 PM · Oh haha. I appreciate your sense of humor.

November 2, 2016 at 07:47 PM · My Australian humour can be a little dry!!

November 2, 2016 at 07:59 PM · Yes, your humor is quite dry. Back to the topic. I just did some research on the maker, and you have to make an appointment to try and buy a violin from him. I was feeling like his instruments are going to be priced way over $40k after thinking about it for awhile, given there are few testimonials on the bench copy instruments, and all of them are relatively well-known professionals, so it might not be in my interest to get an instrument from him.

November 2, 2016 at 08:45 PM · You can buy a lot of violin for $25,000 be it antique or modern IMHO. $25,000 puts you in the price range of some of the top antique German makers, and a few really good French makers, $25,000 would barely buy you an obscure anonymous Italian violin, though, in the antique market.

November 2, 2016 at 09:58 PM · They are fantastic instruments, made by some makers in his workshop and Leonhard himself. They usually are bench copies of some particular Strad ( I think L. Kavacos') and del Gesú and their finishing and appearance are one of the best I have ever seen. Price is around £35000 I think. Cheers.

November 2, 2016 at 10:08 PM · They'd better be good!

November 3, 2016 at 01:55 AM · Pretty much every violin ever made is a "bench copy of authentic fine Italians"...

November 3, 2016 at 02:09 AM · I played one of his bench copies of a del Gesu at Mondo Musica a few years ago. Interestingly, he also had the original del Gesu available to try side by side. (As far as I know, this was indeed a true bench copy, not the abuse of the term that's become common in student instruments.)

I thought that was the best violin I've ever played by a living maker, and the other players also seemed to love it. Importantly, it compared quite favorably to the original in terms of playability. (They were similar in some ways, but far from identical in the way they played, despite the closeness of appearance.) I would even say that many of the players trying out the instruments (pretty much all pros) sounded better on the copy than on the original.

I liked it enough that I inquired into the price of that violin and his commissions. The price tag was very steep -- $60k or $65k, if I recall correctly.

November 3, 2016 at 03:14 AM · Scott, wrong, a bench copy is a copy made by someone who has the actual instrument being copied in their possession, if they don't its not called a bench copy, just a copy from plans, pictures, measurements etc. But that's not a bench copy. Of course you see Chinese vendors that have never seen a real Stradivari in their life claiming to be making bench copies but that's just pure rubbish.

November 3, 2016 at 07:57 AM · Away from these diversions, yes, I have heard that his violins are extremely good and there are youtube videos by the British violinist Daniel Hope which also features Florian Leonhard and looks at comparisons. A search will find the videos I'm sure.

And they are bench made violins accurate in every detail. Sometimes they may indeed sound better than the original.

November 3, 2016 at 08:11 AM · As Lydia says, they are one of the best instruments by living makers you can find today, at least here in Europe. I had the chance of playing them side by side with a great Strad and a del Gesú (ex Ricci's) and honestly it was hard to decide which was better. The differences were more clear in the price, one being £35000 and the others about £10 million.

November 3, 2016 at 03:39 PM · I tried out a couple of Florian Leonhard violins at a fair in London a couple of years ago. I was pretty impressed by one of them (a Guadagnini model) - it was very even, and possibly had the sweetest A string of any violin I've ever played. People were trying it from a distance and it seemed to carry well too. However, the Guarneri model I tried was abysmal. It was so weak under the ear and at a distance, and the G string didn't respond properly. One of the people running the stall tweaked the soundpost a bit and it improved, but not enough for me. The Guadagnini model wasn't my favourite instrument at the fair, but would probably be enough for me to recommend him as a maker.

November 3, 2016 at 07:09 PM · I don't think bargaining with the shop is a good idea huh? I was thinking about it and shaving off 20-30% off the list price would be a huge margin and they might throw me out of the shop. It would probably be at least $5000-$10000 off if I'm not mistaken.

November 3, 2016 at 10:20 PM · Any maker with a waiting list has no particularly strong motivation to give you a price break, I think, unless for whatever reason he has an instrument in inventory that simply hasn't been able to sell (in which case you should also wonder why it hasn't been saleable).

November 4, 2016 at 12:14 AM · Even if I try to use somewhat musical talent to convince him to lower the price by a few thousand EUR/USD, the maker has seen young violinists more talented than I am and have a brighter future in the classical music industry, therefore unable to drive a bargain with him. There is no way I can drive a hard bargain with him and bring one of his instruments home. :(

November 4, 2016 at 08:02 PM · How often does these instruments showcase in the US? I'm not sure if I could just walk into the shop and be able to purchase an instrument right on spot.

November 4, 2016 at 08:32 PM · You can't, as far as I know. They're commissioned, for the most part.

But I really think he's well out of your price range. The 35k GBP figure is from almost a decade ago, I believe. Your "would like to stay below $15k" and "$60k+ for Leonhard" is too far apart. And if you're going to spend $60k+ on a violin, you owe it to yourself to do a very wide search.

November 4, 2016 at 09:46 PM · Eric, you are probably correct in your assumption. Fine musicians are more plentiful than fine luthiers. Unless he's the devil in disguise, talent alone likely won't earn you much :)

I know no one asked, but have you considered going American/Canadian? Now there's your price break. Some are of the opinion no one outside the big ticket European countries can compete with European instruments, but I would dispute that. Even the Chinese market is opening up. I've heard a sub-5k fiddle outperform - to my ear - an antique Caussin in the same venue, and the Caussin sounded real nice. And I believe it sounded better than other fine 15k+ instruments I've auditioned (but whose memory is really that good, right?) I have unfortunately never heard live; nor played; a Strad, Gesu, or Leonhard though :(. But if you spend 3-5k on a fine Chinese/American, you can save for the Leonhard and have a great instrument in the mean time. Oh, and that fiddle was, by the way, an Infinite Strings Private Reserve Cannone Copy, which go for about 3k. I bought a Heifetz from them after hearing that Cannone just blitz a jazz solo in a small venue, and it's fabulous. Alright, I'll stop before anyone accuses me of being an ad-man haha

Antique is definitely another way to go, but you'd better come correct to that yard sale lol. There is something romantic about it though. Can't (really) rely on a name (as in being able to meet the luthier, as fine instrument fraud is rampant), or measuring the proportional hole in your wallet; just using your eyes and ears and instincts to determine true value. I love antiquing.

Best of luck, keep us posted.

November 9, 2016 at 05:03 PM · Even my maximum price range cannot accommodate the minimum price of one... :(

I have also thought about buying an instrument from a similar quality maker, Christophe Landon, and they might have a lower price range. He is based in New York, and might be a more economical outlet for an instrument of the caliber.

November 9, 2016 at 05:34 PM · I dont know exactly what you price range is, but all I can say is Christophe Landon doesnt sell cheap violins. But I could be wrong.

November 9, 2016 at 05:47 PM ·

November 9, 2016 at 05:56 PM · I am in New York and I have heard about Christophe Landon Violins (the shop). They sell antiqued and high end violins. If you meant to buy Landon model violin, then I actually haven't heard about those violins.

November 9, 2016 at 11:07 PM · Last I heard ordering a new violin from Christophe Landon will cost about $60,000 .

And that was a few years ago.

November 10, 2016 at 02:16 AM · Then that's off the table then...:(

November 21, 2016 at 01:54 AM · For your price range I am sure there are other options that won't disappoint you. To name a few: Vittorio Villa, Riccardo Bergonzi, Min Sung Kim...etc, all in Europe and you shall find their instruments without too much trouble. Just don't forget save another 3-5k for a bow to pair with the violin, it is equally important as the instrument itself! :)

Best of luck

November 21, 2016 at 08:59 AM · There are a lot of fantastic young makers. Take a look at Nicolas Gilles, he has won many awards, Hiroshi Iizuka is best known for violas, but also makes great violins. Keep in mind that you need an instrument now as an advanced student, but that your needs may change over time. You don't know if the violin you by now will be the same one that carries you through the duration of a professional career. Also, make sure to buy a good bow, because that will also greatly help your playing, perhaps even more than a new violin .

February 6, 2017 at 10:34 AM · The Florian Leonhard Guarneri Copy should be around 35.000 GBP

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Business Directory Business Directory Guide to Online Learning Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine