Background

Playing the violin as a child got me into violin making . My first two teachers in Graz (Austria), Silvia Germek and Karl Vogt, both played on new instruments made by the local maker Wolfgang Brückner. I was very impressed with these nicely made and well sounding instruments and by the age of 15, I had made up my mind to go into this profession myself. So I am very grateful to my teachers not only for bringing me closer to music but also for getting me interested in violin making. I continued studying the violin and viola, finished my school, and after a gap year in which I studied chamber music, orchestra and solo, and learned some Italian (in case I wanted to study in Italy) I could finally start my violin making career.

The Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City proved to be a good starting point and it was in this enthusiastic atmosphere with all the students there that I got really passionate about violin making myself. Apart from going to school, I also worked in Peter Paul Prier's workshop to pay for my rent and to learn the basics of set up.

After a year I returned back to Austria to take up an apprenticeship with Jacob Saunders in Krems. It took a little while of persuading him to take me on, but after all I could show him a violin in the white and had some previous workshop experience. He took me on for a couple of weeks to teach me varnishing and to check me out and then decided to employ me. This was the start of a well working colaboration in which I continued making new instruments as well as learning repair and restoration. Furthermore I got interested and involved in customer relations, which I enjoy doing a lot. Having successfully done my journeyman's exam this working relationship lasted for roughly 6 years in total. Up to today Jacob and I have stayed good colleagues and help eachother out where we can.

My next job brought me to London to work in fine restoration at Andreas Woywod's workshop. Co worker Matthew Wing had been there for some time already and I learned not only a lot of new techniques in restoration but also saw a lot of nice instruments thanks to Andreas' passion for auctions and his strong relations with dealers from all over Europe, America and even Asia. This background was a good basis to pursue what I most wanted to do: Focus on new Making. In January 2000, I decided to take a plunge and go into self employment. On finishing an instrument I showed it around to other colleagues and shops. This way I got to know some of the important London makers and shops. I found it very useful to receive constructive criticism and this encouraged me very much.