PETER SEABOURNE (b.1960 United Kingdom) grew up in a large farmhouse with his grandmother. Somehow this fostered a childhood passion for composing. In 1980 he won a place to Cambridge to read Music, studying with Robin Holloway. In 1983 he moved to York University, taking a doctorate in composition. During these student years he won two national prizes and was widely performed in the UK. However, he became increasingly dissatisfied with his work, and grew to hate much in the new music world. This led to him to abandon writing for some twelve years. In 2001 a chance set of circumstances caused a sudden reawakening; a new voice "arrived", along with a flood of new pieces, including four symphonies, five concerti and other orchestral music, chamber, vocal and solo pieces. Since 2004 he has won six international prizes, had ten CDs released, and his work has been played, broadcast and commissioned widely across Europe, the Americas and China. He has drawn plaudits from leading journals and respected musicians alike, most notably for his monumental piano cycle series Steps. Seabourne's language stands apart from much in contemporary writing, for which he retains a large measure of distrust. It is overtly communicative, emotionally powerful, often lyrical and always rhythmically inventive. Influences largely originate in the giants of the early 20th century, most especially Janacek, Mahler, Sibelius, Ravel and Prokofiev, though his teacher Robin Holloway was also important. He follows his own path...
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I first developed an interest in violinmaking in 1980, when I was 14 and I applied to Cremona International Violinmaking School “A. Stradivari”. I grew up in a family fond of classical music; my parents used to take me to the theatre and I still remember when I first went to a concert at 7 years old. My father had remarkable manual skills and was really good at making wooden furniture; my mother was a dressmaker not only for need, but also for passion: she drew her own creations by herself and made them with the utmost care for details. They both loved handicrafting and precision. These traits of theirs obvioulsly paid a major role in my education and career. As a matter of fact, after my 8th grade, I had no doubts: I wanted to make stringed instruments. My parents, a bit puzzled by my decision, tried to dissuade me and so I was taken to Francesco Bissolotti's workshop. I was 13 at the time. He was very sincere and ironically decribed all the problems related to a job that had then mainly a “men's” connotation. However, I was so fascinated by his workshop and his instruments that his words convinced me more and more to take up the activity. 
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Michielon Dario attained a diploma in violin making in the year 2005 at Civica Scuola di Liuteria in Milan. Before this, he had studied DoubleBass at The Venice Conservatoire. From the year 2003 to 2008, he worked with his Maestro, Luca Primon, in Milan, Italy. Dario also studied several technical courses on: Varnishing, Set-Up, Violin Building Techniques, and on Acoustics. Inspired by the Great Cremonese Makers of the 17th Century, he set up his own violin making business in Cremona in the heart of the city in the year 2008. Dario’s philosophy is to achieve a good sound based on a good project that is in turn influenced by many things: choice of materials, correct thickness of instrument, a good varnish, and the right set up. Dario’s aspiration is to give musicians the best instruments which enables them to express themselves and their art.
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To our greatest pleasure, we are going to describe the sound and making features of a cello bow made by Arturo Ponce. Since 2011 we have been trying to highlight the sound of contemporary violinmaking instruments, on this occasion, we have had the opportunity of dealing with the fascinating world of bow making, represented by the skillful handwork of the Mexican master Arturo Ponce. After his 7-year- experience with the great master Giovanni Lucchi, Ponce oponed his own workshop in Cremona, at 14b via Robolotti, in 2011; he mainly draws his inspiration from French school and makes booth modern and baroque bows. The bow of our test was made last year in August and got an honorable third position at the 3. international Competition in Moscow. Ponce made a bow in seasoned snake wood with sinilar features, so as obtain very interesting aesthetic and acoustic effects.
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After concentrating most of our energies on releasing our first CD “Contemporary Violinmaking, volume 1”, devoted to 15 contemporary Cremona violins, we had the opportunity of “testing” a cello made by Edo Sartori. Thanks to the experienced and talented musician Fausto Solci, the three of us met on a fresh late June morning, to give “voice” to the instrument made in 2013 by the violinmaker from Santorso , Vicenza. Sartori is a self-taught violinmaker and he practiced the “classical cremonese” method with some violinmakers in their workshops in Cremona. He makes violins, violas, cellos and also baroque instruments; in 2008 and 2010 he was placed second at Pisogne Violinmaking Competition with two cellos.
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The twenty-third acoustic test of our section, devoted to the acoustic qualities of contemporary violinmaking, features the sound of a violin made in the summer of 2013 by violinmaker Philippe Devanneaux. He was born in Paris, where he studied Musicology until he was 21; then he moved to Cremona to learn how to make stringed instruments. Throughout the years he developed hiw own skills with the help of some expert violinmakers; he finally made his first violin at the end of the 80s. Moreover, he attended a 2-year- training course about restoration of stringed instruments and another 2-year course about bowmaking. Philippe Devanneaux only makes violins using the classical Cremonese method of inner mould and carries out threading and gouging when the body of the violin is open. He has acquired great experience and opened his own permanent violinmaking workshop in Cremona, at 12 via Sicardo in 1990. Besides being a violinmaker and a restorer, Philippe is available for frequent guided visits to his workshop, together with short music auditions.
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We are particularly honoured to deal with our 22nd acoustic test in this review, devoted to contemporary violin making . After our first “tests” on some interesting violas and cellos, we have lately focused our attention on violins. For example, the talented violinist Anastasiya Petryshak played a brand-newly made instrument by Lorenzo Cassi. Anastasiya Petryshak was born in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine in 1994. She started studying the violin when she was 8 thanks to her music teacher Marta Kalynchuck. She moved to Italy at 17, after graduating with honours. She is currently attending Walter Stauffer Music Academy and Monteverdi Institute in Cremona, together with “Accademia Chigiana” in Siena.
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The main features describing master Primo Pistoni’s craftsmanship are technical skill, music and violinmaking culture and research. Thanks to these gifts and abilities, he has managed to obtain a lot of appraisals and awards throughout his long-lasting career. Recently, we have been pleased to test two of his instruments: a cello made in 1992 and a viola made in 2006. These two events have been particularly interesting as in both circumstances the feeling between the violinmaker and the musicians Fausto Solci (cello) and Wim Janssen (viola) was excellent. In this recording we are going to describe the acoustic features of a violin made by Primo Pistoni in 2006. This great violinmaker from Cremona drew his inspiration from 1716 Medici model by Stradivari.
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It is with real pleasure that we are going to describe the acoustic features of a violin made by Cremona violin maker Luca Pasquetto. Pasquetto got his diploma at International Violinmaking school in Cremona in 1981, under th guidance of violinmaker Vanna Zambelli. He specialised in Bissolotti's workshop for one year and in Romana D'Amico's workshop for two more years. He has acquired great experience, as he carries out the maintenance of the instruments of Vincenzo Bellini orchestra in Catania, together with the restoration of the Museum of Musical Instruments in Rome. He has been collaborating with Bissolotti's workshop since 1987. He arrived second in the Cello category at the Triennale competition in 1988; he also arrived third and seventh in the Violin category in 1994 and equal second in the Cello category in 1997. Pasquetto alternates violinmaking with restoration activity; he always uses an internal mould to make his instruments and his work is characterised by high precision.
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Our nineteenth acoustic test concerns a recording with a violin model after A. Stradivari 1710, made by the renowned violinmaker Roberto Collini. Throughout the years, Collini has developed a remarkable violinmaking sensitivity. He attended the International Violinmaking school since 1979 and got a diploma with full marks in 1982 under the guidance of violinmaking maestro Giorgio Scolari; he then became an apprentice at Scolari's workshop and finally opened his own workshop in Crema (Cremona) in 1983. His instruments show extremely accurate finishings and are appreciated and played by a lot of Italian and foreign concert performers. The instrument we had the opportunity of evaluating was played by the excellent Japanese violinist Lena Yokoyama. She has been experiencing a very important moment in her career; besides playing in a duo with pianist Diego Maccagnola and in a trio with the same Maccagnola and cellist Alessandro Copia (Trio Kanon), she successfully performeded with Ukrainian violinist Anastasyia Petryshak at Arvedi Auditorium in Cremona.
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We are particularly pleased to evidence the sound features of the cello made in Cremona after Stradivari model ex Piatti by the young and talented violinmaker Luca Tenore. For our eighteenth acoustic test we met at arts centre “Il Torchio”, run by our friend Dante Fazzi, a publisher from Pieve S. Giacomo. It was a late summer afternoon and the recording was carried out thanks to maestro Fausto Solci's usual ability. The instrument was made in 2013 and shows remarkable stylistic coherence, together with a pleasant softness of lines. The cellist from Cremona had already played the instrument in the violinmaker's workshop some days earlier and was favourably impressed. The cello was made using an inner mould slightly modified in width, with personally carved “F” holes and scroll ; the varnish was alcohol-based. Maestro Solci had played the instrument vigorously, for about one hour and had asked for a couple of interventions on the soundpost and on the thread holding the tailpiece, which had improved the sound features of readiness, balance and timbre. This preliminary test of the instrument, which allowed to check its acoustic qualities, had a really positive effect on the recording day, when Fausto amused himself while passionatley playing three versions of the first Suite of J.S. Bach's Saraband; like this, the extraordinary sound qualities of the instrument stood out.
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Our seventeenth acoustic test has actually been the second one totally devoted to bow making and belongs to the music events held at “Il Torchio” Art Centre in Pieve S. Giacomo last May. Recently, we have dealt with the extraordinary acoustic qualities of a bow made by Eugène Sartory; now we are going to describe the features of a new bow made by Giovanni Lucchi. This bow maker was born in Cesena in 1942 and worked for Bologna City Theatre as a double-bass player ; afterwards, he followed his real passion: bowmaking, an old and noble art. In 1976 he set up a Bowmaking School for Stringed Instruments in Cremona ; over more than 30 years, generations of excellent bowmakers and restorers have attended it and got their diploma, thus starting the Cremona Bowmaking school..
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The sixteenth acoustic test of our “virtual exhibition” has been characterised by the recording of a viola made by Cremona great violin maker Francesco Bissolotti. It is reasonable to say that Bissolotti is nowadays the most skilled maker of stringed instruments; you only have to consider that his violinmaking training started in 1957 when he entered the international school “A. Stradivari “in Cremona and where he got his diploma in 1961. His teacher was Pietro Sgarabotto, who contributed to the development of his outstanding abilities as a sculptor. Bissolotti also attended , in the very early 60s, a restoration course held by two of the most renowned craftsmen of the time: Giuseppe Ornati and Ferdinando Garimberti. His friendship with the Italian- American violin maker Simone Ferdinando Sacconi helped him to improve and perfect his style.
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