“This is a job that one never stops learning. There is always research, a study, study of the forms, of the aesthetics, of beauty that, after all, influences the sound. This research starts from the material until the last parts. The varnishing and all of that concerns the setup to obtain excellent acoustics. An acoustic that thrills.”
Born in the city of violins, Cremona, from an early age, the violin maker Fabio developed his passion for his lifetime profession.
The Violin Maker: A truly Cremonese citizen
Born in Cremona in 1967, Fabio began to devote himself to music and woodworking at the age of ten. From 10 to 13 years old, he attended his uncle’s restoration workshop, which gave him the ability and passion for working with hands. The workshop of his uncle, a restorer, and the Cremonese luthiers’ ‘Bottega.’ was the door to a path that was about to be his life purpose.
This experience, combined with his love to play instruments, was just the start of a career as a violin maker. His love for music and instruments led him to increase his knowledge and to become a teacher later, having the opportunity to pass forward his experience and have a chance to learn even more.
“First as an apprentice and then as a teacher, it was also very nice to teach because when you teach, you also learn a lot.”
He taught at the Cremona violin-making school from 2000 to 2005, holding professionalizing courses in advanced classes and deepening the volute’s construction at a technical and stylistic level.
In his instruments, he seeks warmth and emotion.
To make violins, Fabio looks for new styles and models with different aesthetic characters. He interprets different makers from the 18th century, such as Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri, and the 20th-century Ornati, and Garimberti.
His preferences are seasoned woods, especially for making copies, when looking for an ancient sound in the acoustics, he says. He wants to find warmth and emotion both in the work’s aesthetics and in classical Cremonese instruments’ acoustics.
He owns various original models of great luthiers of the 20th century, such as Garimberti and Stefanini, which he uses as a great source of inspiration. He uses varnish of all kinds (alcohol, oil, and mixed), dedicating a lot of time to study each of them. He uses pigments extracted by himself, making his varnish warm and natural, usually orange in color on a golden background. Like many other violin makers, his style and character are clearly printed into his instruments.
The academic life
At the beginning of the 80s, he enrolled in the “Antonio Stradivari” violin-making school in Cremona. During his studies, he developed his manual skills, obtaining a scholarship from the “Walter Stauffer” Foundation. He graduated in 1986 under the guidance of Maestro Ezio Scarrini.
During the school period, he had the pleasure to attend and work with several Cremonese luthiers such as Massimo Negroni, Riccardo Bergonzi, Lorenzo Marchi, and Primo Pistoni. The most important of his masters was Pierangelo Balzarini, with whom he worked for five years from 1990 to 1995. His constructive, aesthetic, and acoustic technique has grown considerably in these years, reaching professional maturity.
A Violin Maker with awards to show off
Fabio Volta has some great awards to show off his abilities.
1988, 3rd place for a viola at Bagnacavallo Competition, Italy
1994, 2nd place for violin at the 7th International Triennale of Cremona, Italy
1994, Medal and Prize for the most valuable violin from the acoustic point of view at the 7th International Triennale of Cremona, Italy
1996, 3rd place for a violin at the International Competition in Mittenwald, Germany
1996, Certificate of Merit for Workmanship for a violin at the VSA Competition in Albuquerque, USA
“Each of my instruments is unique and personal without ever deviating from the classic Italian violin-making lines.”
Did you like Fabio’s story? Read more about his history here and scroll down to check out his masterpieces available for sale now!
VIOLIN BY FABIO VOLTA, CREMONA, 2020
A violin crafted by the hands of a master maker. The strong and full of expressiveness work was allowed by Fabio’s long experience as a violin maker. In our opinion, the arching of the beautiful one-piece back maple stands out as it smoothly merges with the delicate shallow fluting.
VIOLIN BY FABIO VOLTA, CREMONA, 2020
An antiqued violin crafted by the hands of a master maker. It shows the beautiful Cremonese traditional handcraftsmanship, faithfully representing the maker he was inspired by. In our view, what stands out is the well-done light antiquing over the slab-cut maple back.