Pierre Flavetta

Cremona, Italy

Graduated from the Antonio Stradivari School of Violin Making in Cremona, Pierre’s focus is on old violin makers’ varnish, the reason why he started building copies of the masters from the golden period.Read more

Short Bio

Full Name: Pierre Flavetta

Age: 31


Experience: 12 Years


Rising Star-Maker

Graduated from the Antonio Stradivari School of Violin Making in Cremona

Background as Musician

Cremonese Traditional Handcraftsmanship

Varnish Expert

Locally making

Cremona, Italy

Maker Background

After graduating from the I.I.S. Antonio Stradivari in Cremona, Pierre devoted himself to researching ancient alchemy, focusing on old violin makers’ varnish. For this purpose, he began building copies of these masters’ instruments to get as close as possible to the construction and varnishing methods used in the violin-making golden period. Through this method, he is able to apply his historical research with both aesthetic and acoustic results.

Maker Interview

Why did you start making instruments?

I’ve always been fascinated by wood crafting, thanks to both my grandfathers who were carpenters and let me hang around in their workshops since I was a child. Before becoming interested in violin making, I worked as a pianist in Nice for a couple of years. Then, in order to pursue my interest in Botany, I became a forestry technician. Hoping to put both my botanical and musical skills into practice, I turned to violin making, focusing particularly on technological characteristics of wood, linking my artistic side to the theoretical knowledge that I had gained as a forestry technician.

Why your instruments are so special?

My approach is quite simple: to make instruments that resemble antique ones as closely as possible, but to also give importance to modern needs. To achieve this goal, I make copies of antique instruments, yet I do this in an uncommon way. My copies are not intended to be simple imitations - I aim to recreate materials and working methods as precisely as possible, because I believe that this the most effective way to get close to the original sound of old instruments. Therefore, I focus on historical research of materials used between the 15th and 18th centuries, both with a theoretical approach and with practical tests.

Starting from technical drawings and historical documents, I try to understand the aesthetic vision and ideology of the time and the ancient masters’ final goal. However, in order to reach the same aesthetic and acoustic results as they did, in my opinion, observation is not enough. We must also investigate the original construction process and try to recreate it - and that is where my research comes into play.

What is your inspiration?

Even though my studies cover the span from the 15th to 18th centuries, my work is mainly influenced by the golden period of violin making. It was a really eventful age, full of new approaches in the artistic field: as artistic mentality evolved, it also affected the techniques, leading to the apotheosis of painting and instrument building. At the height of this period, Stradivari achieved a level of perfection that is unsurpassed three hundred years later. The craftsmen of that time had a superior and more sophisticated aesthetic vision than ours - a vision which later gradually faded. What motivates me in my work every day is to rediscover this lost sensitivity.

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