Violin and Bow Making 2016


An International Exhibition of Fine Contemporary Violin and Bow Making 2016 

Our exhibition of fine contemporary violin and bow making displays instruments and bows from some of the leading makers working in the field today. The exhibition is comprised of makers from both Ireland and abroad and presents a rare opportunity to try the instruments and bows of makers whose work is recognized and appreciated internationally.

The makers will be present, some will be working at their benches, and all will be available to meet and to discuss their work.

An instrument and bow maintenance and repair service was available for the duration of the festival.

This year internationally renowned makers Francis Kuttner and Stéphane Thomachot will each be giving a talk during the festival:

Tuesday 5th July  15.10  Old Cinema
Francis Kuttner – Violin making as it was and is

Thursday 7th July  15.10  Old Cinema
Stephane Thomachot -  Pernambuco, a 16th century trade between the Normans and the natives of South America

Featuring Violin makers :
Youenn Bothorel (Ireland), Bertrand Galen (Ireland), Neil Ertz (Scotland), Michiel de Hoog (Ireland), Jeremie Legrande (France), Francis Kuttner (USA), Conor Russell (Ireland).

Bow makers:
Noel Burke (Ireland), Emmanuel Carlier (France), Eric Grandchamp (France), Niall Flemming (Ireland), Robert Pierce (Ireland), Stephane Thomachot (France),


Youenn Bothorel [violin maker]
His sensitivity to music and its instruments led him at 19 years old to Newark School of Violin Making, England, from which he graduated in 2001. After experiencing life and working in different workshops across the world, he established himself in Dublin in 2008 and devotes his time to the creation of violins, violas and cellos.
While Youenn draws his inspiration primarily from the great masters of classical violin making, he is also stimulated by the evolution in contemporary making. 

Noel Burke [bow maker]
Born in London to parents from Sligo, Noel began his career in 1989 as apprentice to Charles Espey in Seattle.and a year later, to Stephane Thomachot in Paris where he lived and worked for five years.  His work has received numerous distinctions including eight gold medals at international competition and he now serves as jury member at these international competitions.
Clients include Frans Helmerson, Alina Ibragimova, Leonidas Kavakos, Anthony Marwood and Lawrence Power. He lives and works in Carlow.

Emmanuel Carlier [bow maker]
Emmanuel Carlier was born in 1975 near Paris. After history studies, a violin making apprenticeship and few years of journalism, it was his meeting with bows that proves decisive. He trained with Gilles Duhaut, then he joined the Bernard House in Brussels where he developed his taste for antique bows. In 2011 he received a grant from the Marcel Vatelot Fondation. His awards include four gold medals and two certificates of merit in international competitions.

Neil Ertz [violin maker]
Scottish-born Neil studied at the Newark School of Violin Making and qualified in 1986.  He spent the next ten years working in various European workshops.
In 1997 he opened his own workshop as an independent violinmaker. With over thirty years professional experience he now devotes himself to building violins, violas and cellos and sound adjustments for an international clientele of professional musicians from his workshop in Edinburgh.

Bertrand Galen [violin maker] 
Bertrand was born in Metz in eastern France and trained at the Mirecourt International Violinmaking School. After five years as an assistant to Michel Gladieux in Paris, he opened his workshop in Cork and is kept busy by musicians who come from all over the country to have him care for and get the best from their instruments. He receives regular commissions for his instruments and they are played all over the world.

Eric Grandchamp [ bow maker] 
Eric Grandchamp entered the bow making school at Mirecourt at the age of fifteen. He continued his training in Geneva where he met jewellers and engravers who taught him valuable skills that he applies in his original work. He has taken part in many international competitions where he has won many gold medals and the prized Meilleur Ouvrier de France title awarded to France's best craftsmen. Since 1983, he has lived near the sea in Brittany.

Mick (Michiel) De Hoog [violin maker]
Originally from Holland, Mick de Hoog trained in London as a Violinmaker and Restorer. He then worked in France for 15 years , establishing an international reputation with his instruments. He moved to Dublin in '96 where he has been making Violins for many fine musicians in Ireland.

Francis Kuttner [violin maker] 
Francis Kuttner was born in Washington D.C. to German Jewish refugees who fled Berlin  in the '30s. Fast forward to 1974-78 and he was in Cremona study violinmaking with Francesco Bissolotti, an influential proponent of traditional Cremonese violinmaking. A winner of numerous Gold and Silver medals in international competitions, he now serves as a jury member at these same competitions. Francis Kuttner splits his time between workshops in San Francisco and Cremona.

Jeremie Legrand  [violin maker] 
Jérémie studied at the National School of Mirecourt, France. He has been a master violin maker in Cork (Ireland) since 1995. He is now based in his workshop in France to answer his demand on the continent. In 2010 he was commissioned to make violins for the CSM collection. His violins and cellos are played by musicians internationally and in major orchestras like the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic.

Robert Pierce [bow maker] 
For more than thirty years Robert Pierce has been making bows focused on playing quality where choice of wood is the essential factor for richness of sound, timbres, colours and overtones. His bows are used on four continents and on some of the world’s most famous instruments.Robert Pierce is Irish and was a cellist in his native National Symphony Orchestra for twelve years. He is a member of the Groupe des Luthiers et Archetiers d'Art de France.

Conor Russell [violin maker] 
Dublin-born Conor Russell studied violin making at Cork School of Music from 1985 to 1988 and has won various national awards for his work. Later, he worked in Dublin, and then with J & A Beare (London), studying restoration. From 1991 to 1997 he shared a workshop with William Hofmann in Wicklow, restoring instruments. He now works from his Kilbride home. He is a member of the Entente Internationale des Maitre Luthier et Archetiers d’Art.

Stéphane Thomachot [bow maker] 
Stéphane Thomachot studied bow making at Mirecourt. In 1981, he opened his own workshop in Paris, where he primarily did repairs. After winning a gold medal for viola bow workmanship at the 1982 VSA Competition, he gradually turned his attention from repairs to bow making.He received a Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 1989 and the honorary title of Maître d’Art from the French Minister of Culture in 1994. He has been the president of IPCI-Comurnat since 2007.

Niall Flemming [bow maker] 
Born in Australia in 1987 into an Irish family, Niall started to be interested in making violins at the age of 16. He then went on to complete the violin-making course in Newark, Nottinghamshire, UK in 2010. Whilst in his final year, Niall worked part time in Stringers violin shop in London and it was here that he started working on bows. After finishing at Newark, Niall joined Maison Bernard in Brussels serving an apprenticeship of four years with Pierre Guillaume. Recently he has been working with Noel Burke in Carlow and plans to open a workshop in Kilkenny city specializing in new making and the repair and restoration of bows for the quartet.

Get a taste of it all by watching our festival video below!