The Violin Project

Violins are like people, and finding the right violin is like searching the world for your voice – your soul mate.  I have had the great fortune of playing some of the finest violins ever created, stretching back over 300 years!  For 6 years I played the marvelous 1692 Avery Fisher Stradivari, loaned to me by The Juilliard School.

It took me 3 years to truly get to know that violin and I grew tremendously as an artist because of it!  It was the first instrument I experienced touring life on the road with and there are certainly some ‘roadie stories’ to tell!!

I’ve since moved to ‘Guarneri Del Gesu’ violins…and there is a story behind that too! The stories and secrets behind the art of violin making are why Maestro Maurizio Tadioli and myself are fascinated by these ancient masterpieces, and hence why we are collaborating on ‘The Violin Project’!


Susanne: Who or what inspired you to be a violin maker?

Maurizio: I was studying music, piano and organ, so music was all around me!

When I was young, I always liked to play and work with the woods on the workbench of my grandfather.  He was mainly a carpenter and restorer but a great self-taught violin-maker too!  I learned a lot from his wonderful skill.

Susanne: What is a violin to you?

Maurizio: To build a violin means to give voice to the wood, a natural material, always alive, it’s something great, a kind of art, not static but it move and develop with the time.  It’s always a match between me, every time. A lot of elements always similar, but always different has to be carved, put it together, varnished for a final result of a “musical voice”.  It is very emotional when I first put a bow on the strings of a newly finished violin….it’s a piece of me that vibrates!

Susanne: Please tell me more about how your masterpieces are created!

Maurizio: I love to “copy” the great Master of the past.  I developed my style on the antiquing art.  It’s another field, so you are not only a maker, but a painter too!  I don’t want to do a close bench-copy; I want to copy the style of the Master that I’m inspired by, to understand his mood when he made the instruments and put my own personality in my creations too – this is so important!

Susanne: What do you think it is about Cremona that all the best violins in the world have been made there…?

Maurizio: I feel we have a great history, tradition, art, nice people, atmosphere and amazing cuisine too!  A beautiful city to live in, be inspired, and create something beautiful.  I live and work in the country with my family, in a small village just outside of Cremona.  From the window of my workshop I can see all the green of my garden, and hear the sound of the nature…

Susanne: I definitely feel a special energy in Cremona and surrounding area…generations of violin-making families, great and inspired artists…it is the city where ‘voices’ are born into violin forms…

Stay tuned to find out what Maurizio & Yi-Jia Susanne are creating together on ‘The Violin Project’!

Mario Tadioli Yi-JIa Susanne Hou violin-maker poster cartolina 2012 business card



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