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Violin Maker
Frédéric Noharet

Italy, Parma

Frédéric graduated from Cremona international violin making school in the year 1982 under the guidance of Master Francesco Bissolotti. He builds his instruments using the “closed box” antique Cremonese system, originating from the fundamental work of Simone Sacconi “The secrets of Stradivari". Frédéric deepened this system by studying the work of Roger Hargrave and the original hypotheses of Euro Peluzzi. The result is a very personal construction technique, that continues to evolve over time.Read more

Short Bio

Full Name: Frédéric Noharet

Age: 63

Highlights

Experience: 44 Years

New making style: AntiquedNew

Credentials

Master Maker

Graduated from Cremona International Violin Making School

Teacher at the Renato Scrollavezza International School of Violin Making

Works with Own Model

Locally making

Italy, Parma

Maker Background

I was born in the south of France into a family of carpenters for three generations. As far as I remember, I have always had a piece of wood in my hands. My grandfather guide me into the very first rudiments in wood working and I spent all my free time in building wood objects.
Very soon I developed a strong passion for playing music too; my grandfather was an accordion player and my mother learnt piano in her young age, but in the sixty’s the guitar was the king of the instruments for a young man, so I chose to play it. I studied mathematics, physics, chemistry and technical drawing until I graduated. My road marked would have been engineering, but my natural confidence with woodworking and the passion for music led me to enter in 1978 the International Violin Making School in Cremona. I was lucky enough to attend school when its two most prestigious figures, masters Morassi and Bissolotti were still teaching; the comparison between "Morassians" and "Bissolottians" and the taste for experimentation provided me with a rigorous but open training.

In 1982 I obtained the diploma of Master Luthier under the guidance of Francesco Bissolotti. I settled in Parma and immersed myself in an intense process of research and analysis of the minute criteria involved in each and every detail of the step-by-step violin construction process, from its initial design to its final varnishing.

In Parma I met Maestro Renato Scrollavezza from which I received advices and encouragements, and in 1986 I started the luthier profession. I self-published in 2001 "the magical sound of the forest": artistic photographs illustrated with a poem and accompanied by a pedagogical text that explains the creative process behind the construction of stringed instruments. In 2008 I was involved in the most creative and artistic project I have made to date: the creation of “Ivan, the crazy violin”. (Ivan il pazzo) I participated in the exhibitions "Musicora" in Paris and "Mondomusica" in Cremona first individually then with "Officina Musicale" from 1986 to 2005. I was a member of the Liuteria Parmense Association, and a member of its board of directors until 2009.
Since 2014 I have been teaching at the Renato Scrollavezza International School of violin making.

I continue to study and do research every day, testing new insights and solutions on the workbench.

Maker Interview

Why did you start making instruments?

The family workshop smelled of antiques and tradition. I remember the gesture of the artisans, and the
music of the tools biting into the wood like something mystic and eternal. It seemed to me the only way of
life one could practice.
One day, an attempt from a worker strongly stroke me: in the midst of wood pieces, a guitar was under
construction. Suddenly a guitar was not just “an expensive thing hanging in a shop” but an object that
skilled hands could create! At the age of thirteen, I began to build dulcimers, and some years later I built a
guitar.
Then I accidentally saw a violin on a street flea market, I was so much struck by his shapes that I bought it,
having in mind to disassemble it and build a similar one. I heard one day about a certain “Stradivarius” and
his secret: I entered Cremona school

Why your instruments are so special?

My instruments are so special because they are personal creations in all their parts, from the design of the
shape to the smallest details, from the arching to the varnish, and they shine with their own unique "light".
I have always been fascinated by the particular "light" that ancient instruments emanate and I spent all my
life discovering its reasons and how to obtain it.
Imagining the knowledge, the working conditions and the equipment available to the great masters, I
answer the question: "What solution did they adopt, and why?". The result is a personal construction
technique that produce original instruments, not "copies" or "models". Every new instrument I build is
influenced by the precedent one. The way I proceed is close to the “successive-approximation” method
used in research.
Thanks to this approach I was able to satisfy a very particular request which was later the subject of the
documentary film: “Ivan il pazzo” (Ivan the crazy violin).

What is your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from the emotions I feel when I watch and listen to great instruments. The aim of my
work is to arouse them in the musicians who play mine.

Where your instruments are currently being played?

My instruments are almost everywhere in the world: Europe, USA, Australia and Asia; therefore they are
currently being played in conservatory, orchestras and concert halls.

"Master Noharet is one of the by now very rare examples of artisans-artists who has the courage not to bow to the prevailing commercial system.
With him we go to the bone: the instrument as an individual and unrepeatable creation,as a feast for the eye and ear of the musician able to distinguish the creative act from the mere copy."

Pietro Mossa, Actor and Musician

"I commissioned Frédéric to produce my violin after having admired and tested his “Ivan” and another more "normal" one, when he asked me which acoustic characteristics I wanted I replied that I would like an instrument with a powerful, pasty and dark fourth string and the first clear one , luminous and penetrating, practically describing the qualities of the violin I was playing at that time, Santo Serafino, Venice 1760, on loan.
Frédéric's work was wonderful, he gave me great satisfaction, the violin is very beautiful and still makes me want to play.
In addition to the technical qualities, I appreciate Frédéric's free personality, seriousness and originality in Frédéric's lutherie"

Giacomo Agazzini. Teacher at the conservatory of Turin, concert performer, quartetto Zero and Ex String Quartet of Turin

"I played on stage with a Frédéric Alto, from solo repertoire to chamber music, also within the orchestra. The instrument meets all the needs of each repertoire very well, especially in concert halls such as auditoriums like the opera house and the great hall of the conservatory of hochimin ville, and even in the open air ... pure, sweet ... The instrument offers the facility to access music where the performer has complete freedom without worrying about any instrumental difficulty."

Phạm Vũ Thiên Bảo, concertist, head of the Viola section, heads the chamber music section of the HCM City Conservatory.

"The first impression is so strongly marked that today I still remember the moment of wonder to see it for
the first time: its varnish shines in a very elegant color, it is light and comfortable to wear, all its curves are carefully crafted, this creates a very pretty and different violin. The handle has a special shape which facilitates the left hand in difficult games, the particular "softness" of the fingerboard on which the fingers
feel comfortable. I appreciate the sound rich in timbre and color: bright in the high register, warm and pasty in the lower register. A very beautiful instrument which gives a lot of pleasure while playing it."

Anh-Thu Pham, violinist-student in Paris

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