ABOUT US

The String Circle, the new project conceived by Le Dimore del Quartetto and promoted in collaboration with Fondazione Museo del Violino Antonio Stradivari, connects the excellence of the art of lutherie with the new promising generation of musicians, through the international mapping of the best artisan workshops.

The idea was born to respond, on one hand, to the desire to enhance the art and professionalism of the Master luthier by intercepting a specific audience and, on the other, to the need to have quality instruments for young musicians at the beginning of their careers. From these needs The String Circle was created, a widespread Network of Master Luthiers which facilitates the international exchange between these two figures, promoting their professional and artistic growth.

The selected luthiers provide one or more instruments on loan and a range of services (repair, maintenance, etc.) to the musicians of the network of Le Dimore del Quartetto. The artisan workshops are marked on an interactive map that facilitates their localization and the creation of a widespread collection available to young artists.

The project originates from an idea of Le Dimore del Quartetto, the international network that today supports 90 young string quartets and chamber music groups at the beginning of their careers, and is promoted in collaboration with Fondazione Museo del Violino Antonio Stradivari, responsible for the research and mapping of the artisan luthiers of excellence, chosen among those who have received awards of international caliber. The project has also received the patronage of the Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art (www.fondazionecologni.it).

HOW DOES IT WORK?

• The luthiers and bow-makers who join the project keep the instruments in their ateliers, in the countries where they work.

• Each instrument is delivered personally by the luthier to the musician who requests to have it on loan for use.

• The loan for use, regulated by contracts stipulated directly between the luthier and the individual musicians, has a maximum duration of 1 year, renewable, with mandatory checks every 6 months at the luthier’s.

• In case of excessive distance or other serious impediment, the control can be carried out at another luthier’s of the network, upon authorization of the luthier.

• In case the instrument needs maintenance, it will have to be brought back to the luthier.

• The contract must foresee the possibility of redeeming the instrument at the end of the loan, with favourable economic conditions to be communicated before the start of the loan. 

In order to further support the collaboration, it is also proposed to schedule a biennial meeting of musicians and luthiers in Cremona for one or two days. On this occasion, several activities take place: meetings, workshops regarding the choice, care and maintenance of instruments, workshops on acoustics – with the valuable expertise of the Laboratory of Acoustic Physics of Musical Instruments of the Politecnico di Milano, located inside the Violin Museum.

JOIN THE NETWORK

Membership in the network is open to master violin makers and bow-makers who have won prizes in the various editions of the Antonio Stradivari Triennial International Violinmaking Competition and to violin makers awarded with recognized prizes. The selection will be made by the Fondazione Museo del Violino Antonio Stradivari.

To become part of The String Circle, it is necessary to provide at least one instrument (violin, viola, cello, bow) on loan for use and any service provided through special agreements for musicians of Le Dimore del Quartetto’s network.

Contact us at info@thestringcircle.eu and send your biography, some photos of your atelier and all the information about the services and the instrument you want to provide (photos and technical information). We will be happy to evaluate your application!

FAQ

The String Circle intends to directly involve an insurance company in order to identify a policy that can cover possible risks of damage and theft in a uniform way for all loans. During the application phase, luthiers specify whether their instruments are already insured; once this information has been received, we will agree whether to proceed with the current insurance or to join the insurance policy reserved for the project.

The diffused Network of Master Violinmakers was born with multiple aims 

  • creation of a platform that connects the high quality national and international lutherie with the most promising young string chamber music ensembles from different countries, encouraging the development of a network of professional and personal relationships of trust between the two categories; 
  • giving international visibility to contemporary lutherie inspired by the classical Cremonese school;
  • integrated communication among the partners of the widespread Network of Master Luthiers, with the creation of an interactive map that locates the selected ateliers and enhances their work through social network strategies and specialized and non-specialized press; 
  • creation of a reference network for string instruments restoration, maintenance and replacements in different European locations. The network will be shared with the ensembles of Le Dimore del Quartetto and with all the musicians and musical partners that revolve around it.

The young musicians’ search for high quality instruments and bows is inevitable at the beginning of their career. Those who choose to embark on a musical career find themselves in the need for an instrument and a bow that will allow and support their artistic activity with maximum results.
The craftsmanship and care that luthiers dedicate to their profession need a visibility that allows them to reach a specific audience: musicians looking for high quality instruments and services, able to recognize and understand the unique and original value of the art of lutherie.
Unlike antique instruments, modern handcrafted instruments – which are not mass-produced – can be subjected to tailor-made modifications and adjustments based on the needs of the individual musician.

Le Dimore del Quartetto is a creative cultural enterprise that supports young international string quartets and chamber music ensembles at the beginning of their career and enhances the European cultural heritage, in a circular economy.

Born in 2015 out of the idea of Francesca Moncada, Le Dimore del Quartetto has started based on a simple exchange: on the occasion of an artistic commitment, musicians are hosted for maximum one week in a historic house and, during the days of residency, the ensemble offers a concert to the house owners. This creates a circular economy in which the houses become a precious resource for the ensembles, and vice versa: it gives life to new occasions of encounter in unusual locations and decentralized territories; it brings back to life places that are not fully used; it brings a new audience closer to chamber music.

Today, Le Dimore del Quartetto, with a consolidated network of houses, ensembles and partners in the fields of music and of cultural heritage, is specialized in planning and managing diverse projects, such as 

  • festivals and travel itineraries 
  • masterclasses and training programs for musicians
  • educational projects for  schools and universities
  • team-building activities for companies
  • residencies and concerts in historic houses and other places of cultural interest

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The Museo del Violino “Antonio Stradivari” (MdV) is a private foundation which started its activity in 2013, as a continuation and development of the activities previously carried out by the “A. Stradivari” Foundation (formerly Ente Triennale).
Among the many activities, highly relevant is the International Triennial Lutherie Competition whose first edition dates back to 1976, certainly the most prestigious competition at international level.
The purpose of MdV is to disseminate and promote the great tradition of classical lutherie in Cremona, recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity. This purpose is pursued primarily through the preservation of stringed instruments made by the great masters of the past, such as Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri – just to name the most famous – and also to enhance the production of the present day with the collection of contemporary violinmaking made up of instruments that won Gold Medals at the Triennial Competition.

Through a captivating and interactive itinerary, the Museum tells the history of lutherie, the birth of the violin and the central role of Cremona, it explains how the violin and the instruments of its family are made, how they have evolved over time following the development of music and much more.
An almost unique feature among music museums is that almost all of the instruments in MdV can be played and are regularly used in short concerts offered to visitors.

The museum complex includes:

  • The “G. Arvedi” auditorium, a true gem of architectural design (winner of the “Compasso d’Oro” award) and acoustics (designed by the famous acoustics engineer Yashuisa Toyota)
  • The “Amati” Pavilion, area for temporary exhibitions and other non-museum activities
  • The Laboratory of Non-Invasive Diagnostic Investigations of Pavia University for stringed instruments
  • The Acoustic Lab of the Politecnico di Milano for acoustic physics of musical instruments

In addition to its museum activities, MdV organizes, also in collaboration with other city institutions, numerous activities, including

  • Lutherie exhibitions, also linked to musical itineraries, both in its own premises and in Italy and abroad.
  • Promotion of its activity with concerts with historical instruments
  • Cycles of chamber music concerts such as the Stradivarifestival or Concerts in the Auditorium
  • Auditions with historical instruments offered to visitors
  • Specialized courses and seminars for luthiers
  • Teaching activities mainly addressed to students
  • Research activities in the field of violin making

In just a few years, MdV, thanks to its uniqueness and dynamism, has earned a prominent place in the international panorama of music museums and musical institutions in general. It hosts a constantly growing public, having exceeded 100,000 visitors per year before the pandemic, with an international component of over 30%.

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THE ROLE OF COLLECTORS

Within this circular economy, a prominent role should be played by Collectors, owners of quality contemporary musical instruments, who can be demanding patrons but also innovative patrons. Inside this vision, the Collector can be seen as a kind of wild card catalyst that enables the achievement of all the goals of the actors in The String Circle:

  • Of the luthier through the entrusting of prestigious orders;
  • Of the musician, who is granted privileged access to instruments of great quality;
  • Of the collector himself, because because it is well known that the use increases the value of music instruments. Played on a regular basis, the instruments improve, enhance themselves and in so doing reward the initial investment.

The identification and involvement of collectors (actual and potential) willing to collaborate on the project is, therefore, one of the essential goals of The String Circle, whose dynamics of operation can be graphically described with an equilateral triangle inscribed in a circle: at the base it has violin makers and musicians, at the apex the collectors, and at the center the creators of the project Le Dimore del Quartetto and Museo del Violino.

In the realization of this path of knowledge and appreciation, all parties are continuously confronting each other and becoming more aware of the centrality of their role in the contemporary music scene. Through a widespread Collection of Contemporary Instruments there will be a continuous growth of relationships that will enable the establishment of a system aimed at the circulation of resources and skills essential to professionals in the contemporary music world.

THANKS TO THE STRING CIRCLE…

  • The selected luthiers become part of an international network that promotes the work of artisans within guaranteed market of excellence, ready to invest in high quality instruments, and presenting themselves as a reference point for luthiers both on local and international levels.
  • Musicians belonging to the network of Le Dimore del Quartetto have access to a selection of luthiers accredited by the Fondazione Museo del Violino Antonio Stradivari in several geographical areas, with the possibility of accessing facilitations for the purchase of instruments, loans for use and consulting and maintenance services.
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