Every year the British Violin Making Association (BVMA) hosts the Makers’ Day, a one-day fair of violin makers and traders.
On 4 February we all converged on Kings Place, the fine new(ish) concert hall and arts venue which is one of the keystones of the redevelopment of the Kings Cross area in London. This is the second year we’ve been there and it’s a great venue; light, spacious and airy, with a good café and big practice rooms for players to try out our instruments.
There were about forty instrument and bow makers showing their work and several traders including wood dealers. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with friends, see what’s new and to meet customers. For me it’s good to be available in London from time to time, and I was able to meet several players of my instruments as well as prospective customers.
One of the highlights of the day is the concert. Each maker has the opportunity to submit one instrument for the musicians of the day, in this instance the Brodsky Quartet, to choose to play in the lunchtime concert. They played five quartet movements, each on a different set of instruments. I was delighted to find that my viola was picked to play some Shostakovich, and especially as at 15 ½ inches, it was the smallest viola that had been selected. I was pleased with its sweet and warm sound which added to the richness of the chords, and came through well when the viola had a solo passage.
Thanks as ever to the management committee of the BVMA and the helpers from the Newark School of Violin Making; without their efforts, the day would not be the success it is.