Alessandro Gagliano (1640 – 1725)
Allessandro was the first of this long-lived family of violin makers from the region of Napoli, who created violins that were used by many violinists for almost two centuries. Unlike most of the Gagliano family, Allessandro decided not to follow the Stradivari model and follow his own. His instruments exhibit great character and originality, and even his varnish was distinctive; rich, limpid, and deep red in color. But his cellos are the ones that stand out.
Nicola and Gennaro Gagliano, the sons of Alessandro were fine craftsmen, but they were greatly influenced by Stradivari and Amati. Little is known about Alessandro because up until recently, the biographical information on the violin makers of the Neapolitan school was not available.
Carlo Bergonzi (1683 – 1747)
Carlos Bergonzi is one of the greatest Cremonese makers, overshadowed only by Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. Carlos Bergonzi is thought to have learned the art of violin making from Giuseppe Guarneri filius Andreae, and made his own shop around 1720. His instruments from the period 1730-1740 are particularly well known for their clean-cut scrolls.
At some point, Stradivari shifted from the traditional Amati style, influencing other violin makers of that time to do the same, including Bergonzi. Some of the characteristics of his work are the big open-cut soundholes low positioned, the narrow c bouts, and the scrolls, sharply defined. Musicians say that his instruments offer a combination of Guarneri and Strad qualities, and its characteristics lie somewhere between the two.
Matteo Goffriller (1659 ‑1742)
Matteo Goffriller was born in the Alpine town of Bressanone, close to Bolzano, and is considered to be the father of the Venetian school. In 1685, he moved to Venice to become an apprentice with Mathias Kaiser, and soon after he got married to Kaiser’s daughter and by 1690 had inherited his teacher and father-in-law’s business.
Goffriller influenced respected makers such as Domenico Montagnana, Santo Serafin and Carlo Tononi. His work later became a salient attribute of the Venetian style, his cellos are his most favored works today. Some may say they are superior to all but those of Stradivari and Montagnana.