2017 Mondomusica

Edited: September 10, 2017, 6:45 PM · Hello Friends,
I am going to the 2017 Mondomusica at Cremona, Italy which is scheduled from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2017 (I will stay a little longer).

This will be my first visit to Mondomusica. The exhibitor list is rather long and overwhelming for a three-day event. What was your experience with the past Mondomusica shows? Do you have any suggestions/tips on things to do (or not to do), or any recommendations on good maker booths to visit? Your help will be greatly appreciated.

Replies (38)

Edited: September 9, 2017, 1:12 AM · It depends on the purpose of your visit. Mondomusica has become something like a scaled-down version of the Frankfurt Messe: you'll find pianos, brass, guitars, sheet music, factory-made violins, luthier tools, tonewoods...

If you are interested in new Cremona violins, you may be surprised to learn that the overwhelming majority of Cremona makers do not exhibit there.

A place to visit will certainly be the Teatro Filodrammatici (near the public gardens) where the Italian Association of Violinmaking (A.L.I.) will hold an exhibition where you can try out the instruments in peace and quiet.

September 9, 2017, 8:53 AM · I was last there about 15 years ago. I saw a beautiful double case, for a reasonable price, by Mr Musafia. I still kick myself that I didn't buy it, or introduce myself!

Cheers Carlo

Posted under my own full name in accordance with the rules of Vcom.

September 9, 2017, 8:29 PM · I was at Mondomusica in New York a few years back, but it sounds like the show in Cremona is very different. Personally, I wandered the exhibit hall trying everything I could get my hands on. The number of contemporary instruments on exhibit was overwhelming, though; there, I focused on makers who had won tone awards or were otherwise notable. Tried a nice David Burgess, among others!
Edited: September 9, 2017, 11:26 PM · Here's the exhibitor list for the 2017 edition:


It looks like maybe 1 in 10 Cremona violin maker is there. Most big names are absent, as is the Consortium of Cremona Violin Makers and the Italian Association of Violinmaking (A.L.I.).

But that's unimportant, as they are all in town anyway and things will be going full swing. I've given the address of where to find the A.L.I. in my post above; the Consortium can be found on Piazza Stradivari 1.

The weather in Cremona at the end of September usually is quite pleasant and anyone who would like some personal restaurant recommendations can contact me privately.


September 10, 2017, 3:06 AM · I have been visiting Mondomusica for many years now. As said before, there are many more great makers to visit in the city who don't exhibit in the fiere, but also some makers that you shouldn't miss inside the exhibition, like Danielle Tonarelli, Charles Coquet or Gonzalo Bayolo to name a few, some of them awarded with medals in past Triennale Cremona Competitions. And of course, don't miss Bears and Florian Leonhard, they always bring a fantastic collection of old and modern instruments.
September 10, 2017, 7:30 AM · I usually go to Mondomusica with my luthier, just to find some discounted "something", like pieces of wood, some interesting accessory, etc.
Not much more......

Seeing and testing violins/bows/etc is rather unuseful, IMHO :)

September 10, 2017, 12:56 PM · I think that Mondomusica (at least in the NYC incarnation I went to) offered an unparalleled opportunity to try a lot of violins and bows all at once. The show floor is noisy, but it's not so noisy that you can't hear yourself -- although sometimes you can really tell that some violin has amazing projection because it carries above everything else!
Edited: September 23, 2017, 7:44 AM · Dear Friends,

I am now packing for my trip to Cremona. Thank you all so much for your recommendations of things to do and makers to see. Your tips are most helpful.

In my serious pursuit of quality of sound, I plan to survey old and new instruments in (and out of) the show. I also plan to listen to the Strads and Del Gesu’s in the Violin Museum if that could be arranged, especially the 1715 “Il Cremonese”, since I am very much attracted by the “Cremonese Sound” (as I called it) from the Strads and Del Gesu’s I have tested.

I am not particularly looking to buy any violin in the show (I have already commissioned a violin from a top luthier in Cremona), but if any instrument(s) with great sound comes my way, purchase out of impulse could not be ruled out entirely.

On top of visiting the show and luthiers, I also plan to wander around town to check out its famous historical sites, antique/art shops, and restaurants during my prolonged stay (9 days) at Cremona. I am ready for the fun of it!

September 20, 2017, 2:09 AM · Hello,
I'm not taking part in the exhibition but I will be in Cremona to deliver an instrument. I'd be happy to bring along something for you to try.
My details can be found at www.martinmcclean.com
Best regards,
Martin McClean

September 20, 2017, 6:56 AM · Hello Martin,

Wonderful. I will be happy to meet you. The best way to communicate with me while in Cremona will be via either gmail or Whatsapp. I will forward those to you.

September 20, 2017, 3:26 PM · Hi Xi Wang,

you will be welcome here in Cremona, I wish you a happy stay!!

The welcome is also valid for Martin, of course, even though he could be an unconfortable competitor....

....just joking.... :)

September 20, 2017, 5:43 PM · Hello Davide,

Nice to hear from you here in Violinist.com. I look forward to visiting your workshop and spending some quality and fun time together.:-)

Edited: September 20, 2017, 8:26 PM · By the way Folks,

The top Luthier I mentioned earlier from whom I commissioned a violin was Mr. Davide Sora. I have a simple sound scoring system in grading the sound of violins. I tried to survey and judge the quality of violin sound by itself disregarding their makers and years. Among the many violins tested are Maggini (1620), Stradivari(1709), Del Gesu's (1735, 1739), which were offered to me, and many other old and new instruments. The sound of Mr. Sora's 2015 Model G violin came out in the top group on my scoring list. Which prompted me to commission a violin from him with high confidence.

Now, of course, despite my effort in trying to be objective, my sound grading system only caters to my personal preference, and are restricted to my limited education and abilities. No such test system will ever be absolute and perfect I guess. (My teacher has been challenging my system with blind tests, it seems that at least there is a certain, and sometimes high, degree of consistency) :-).

September 21, 2017, 6:57 AM · Thanks for the kind invitation Davide. I'll be sure to drop in!
September 21, 2017, 7:25 AM · I had the pleasure to look at a Sora violin once. I was impressed by the great craftmenship!
September 22, 2017, 2:48 PM · @ Xi Wang
I hope that also the violin that I'm going to let you try when we meet will overcome the test of your grading system.
I would not like to make you doubt about your order....:-)
Of course it is not possible that two violins sound exactly the same and each violin will have its own personality, but I think the basic characteristics are similar in my violins, or at least I try to keep them equal.
It will surely be interesting to hear your opinion.
See you soon.
September 23, 2017, 5:41 AM · Hi Davide,

It is a great feeling knowing I will be among friends while at Cremona. We shall toast to the violin, its beautiful sound, and our wonderful friendship!

September 26, 2017, 5:31 AM · Today i "knew" that i'll be visiting Mondomusica in Cremona on Fri 29, me and my luthier.

So, i'll manage to find out the location of Davide Sora's stand, eh?..... :)

September 28, 2017, 2:00 PM · Hello Marco, sorry for the late answer (maybe too late...), but these are busy days.
I hope you read it in time.....
I do not have a stand in Mondomusica, I do not like the excessive confusion of the fair, not a good place for try to appreciate violin sound and tone.
Maybe you can try to contact me by e-mail for an appointment in my workshop where I have a violin to let you try(even if it is already sold...).
Or you can go at an exhibition in a private location but open to the public situated in Via Palestro 28 in the town center (at the workshop of Francesco Toto) where you may try another my violin of 2011 year put on sale by a german dealer.

October 4, 2017, 9:32 AM · Now that Mondomusica, a.k.a. Cremona Musica, is over, anyone want to give their opinion?
October 4, 2017, 8:04 PM · I'm reading only now, Davide Sora....... :)
Don't worry, i really thought to meet you in the fair, for saying hallo :)

@Dimitri: above every other consideration, as year pass i'm forming a stronger and stronger opinion:
in average, italian builders and sellers (mainly cremonese ones) need to learn the concept of "marketing" from who really can do it well (from eastern builder, germans, chinese, czeck, etc). Or they'll be buried alive in the future.

The ideal of "italian superior quality", that i don't see very often, won't save them ........ :) (all IMHO).

In general, i'm happy that Mondomusica is starting having a broader range of instruments: guitars, reeds, brass, even pipes !

Edited: October 5, 2017, 6:36 AM · @Marco "in average, italian builders and sellers (mainly cremonese ones) need to learn the concept of "marketing" from who really can do it well"

Really? Wow. Can you give us some advice, please?

October 5, 2017, 7:48 AM · Pratically all the boots with italian luthiers and bowmakers have people (not always the maker, but "stand-people") that are not there to "show" things in the proper way. Often the impression i get is that they're even bored by people who ask things .... :)

Many bring instruments and bows not perfectly "ready" for tests.

On the contrary, ALL the foreign producers have stand-people, or themselves, completely supportive and explanatory about everything.
Asiatics seem to be the best in this.

October 5, 2017, 8:43 AM · I'm adding something:

one italian producer that has been out of this average behaviour, for me, is "Dogal Strings", very kind, supportive and friendly people.

October 5, 2017, 9:13 AM · Interesting observation Marco, I wonder if this is because many "local" makers weren't "invested" in attending the show, and rather went because it was just there, and had little incentive to pursue new markets.
Edited: October 5, 2017, 9:27 AM · The Italian makers present spent a few thousand Euros to pay for their booth, I wouldn't think that they suddenly became uninterested and unincentivated...

Maybe Marco can explain why his fellow nationals were so lacking in basic business sense.

Edited: October 5, 2017, 9:27 AM · This is my average experience, not only this year.

You asked for opinions: this is mine. :)

October 6, 2017, 8:01 AM · @dimitri: i can explain only if i suppose (for value that it can be) that many italian professional luthiers, mainly cremonese ones, live on the "name" that cremonese luthiery has in the world.

I saw and tried so many passable but very expensive violins and bows, in these last years, in Mondomusica ...... :)

As always, my interest is not in how an instruments looks, the perfection, etc, but in the way it sounds and performs.
Mondomusica is not a place for these things, in my opinion :)

Edited: October 7, 2017, 1:47 AM · Well, Marco, the fact is that the best Cremonese instruments and bows are not exhibited at Mondomusica at all. Read the exhibitor list, and you'll see that none of the big names are present with a booth. If you want the highest quality, you won't find it there.

This actually is the result of something of a boycott. Originally Mondomusica was showcasing Cremona-made instruments and bows almost exclusively, with an accent on the highest, hand-made quality. Machine-made lutherie products were excluded, in writing, from being shown.

Then the event was moved to the current fairgrounds. To fill the exhibition halls the new management allowed any kind of exhibitor to be present ("cani e porci") including vendors of Chinese violins in the white and every variety of industrial product, losing the very purpose of Mondomusica along the way. They of course then added pianos, guitars, wind instruments, drums... Mondomusica ended up as a scaled-down version of Frankfurt's Musik Messe.

Most of the Cremona makers who had supported Mondomusica from the start, including yours truly, didn't identify with it any more and so they stopped exhibiting there altogether.

The management has been able to keep the numbers of exhibitors and visitors increasing, but only by continually adding new fields (pianos, winds, etc.). Now that they have run out of new fields to add, the decline of Mondomusica is inevitable.

October 7, 2017, 6:19 AM · Dimitri, your kind explanation goes together well with my observations, in the end..... :)
October 7, 2017, 9:33 AM · ...unfortunately! :-)
Edited: October 7, 2017, 4:38 PM · Unfortunately, I also fully agree with what was said by Dimitri in the previous post.
The organizer of Cremona Musica have ruined an important opportunity to be a unique fair in the world, now it is just the bad provincial copy of so many others. :-(

Fortunately many luthiers and associations are organizing more and more qualitatively excellent exhibitions in the city center, it would be better if the fair organizers should also follow this path.

Edited: October 8, 2017, 9:54 AM · Marco, how was the gala concert? I was there in 2008, and I remember the concert was fabulous. Fine Arts Quartet performed on some wining instruments at Teatro Ponchielli. It was the high point of my trip. I wasn't in the market for a new violin then, and frankly, I was too intimidated to try any violin there. But I was impressed by how well the event was organized.
October 8, 2017, 2:03 AM · It is a shame it is in decline. I remember trying many new Italian violins of impressive quality back in 2003. All they needed was 300 years of playing ;-)
Back then “Il Gignio” was the place to eat. Alas gone too.

Cheers Carlo

October 8, 2017, 6:28 AM · @Yixi: usually i don't have enought time to listen to the concerts, inside, outside, etc.
I live a couple of hours apart from Cremona, so i have trips to do, and use all my time especially for seeing the "news" and for harvesting woods, accessories, etc.

One of the mandatory stops is at the Arcus booth. If someone is interested i can tell stories about that :)

October 8, 2017, 10:42 AM · Please tell Marco. I am interested. We are thinking about going to the event next year during our Italy trip.
October 8, 2017, 5:15 PM · I always spend a lot of time with Bernd Müsing, that i define as a very nice person, when i visit Mondomusica every year.

And every time (this year too) he has something to show me. This year he almost convinced me to purchase a C5 bow, that plays and feels differently from others in the "superior" line. I didn't get it because i really did not needed it, but if i did not already have nice bows, it would be a keeper.

He has a "student" line called "Müsing" too, and the booth is facing the Arcus's one.

I tested once again the beloved octagonal P9 that he produces (8000 euro is the price). This P9 is exceptional. It does not weight much, it could be 55-57 grams, yet it grabs the strings, also near the tip, without ANY weight from bowing arm. A really golden sound.

Bernd is a very passionate musician/engineer/builder, and he always offers me good chocolate in this booth....... :)
And he always shares his space with another luthier from germany, i sadly don't remember the name, who is very very kind and friendly too. He offers his instruments, often very good ones, for testing Bernd's bows.

Edited: October 9, 2017, 3:45 PM · Marco, thanks for the additional information. When you tested a bow, did you get to play it on your violin? Did you take the bow home to try and to compare with other bows you have? At this price range, I would test it against a whole bunch of bows, blind, before considering.

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