Burlington Violin Shop Workshop Tours

Posted October 30, 2014


“Oh, how beautiful!  Do you make them here?”


“Yes, we do, actually.  Do you see that violin on the top of that fixture?”


“You mean the red and gold one?”


“That’s one of our workshop instruments.”


This particular exchange has played over countless times in our shop.  Visitors are always fascinated at the prospect that these works of art with infinite possibilities can be brought to life in the back of a shop in the Church Street Marketplace.  Violin making in itself is not a lost art, but it is far less prevalent in our region, even in the United States, when compared historically to areas of Europe.  Kathy Reilly and Oren Kronick, owners of the company, have dedicated themselves to bringing that excellence and old-time European tradition to our community with world-class luthiers embodying a combined century of experience.


So, how long does it take to make a violin?  What kind of work goes into creating one?  Our Vermont Violins workshop instruments are a company-wide team effort with at least three luthiers perfecting each and every creation.  The first luthier carves and graduates the top and back plates, using hand-picked, aged Bosnian maple for the back and German spruce for the top.  The plates are then transported to the next luthier, who assembles the instrument, constructing ribs around a form and adding the scroll, neck, and fingerboard using the same techniques pioneered by historical greats.  The last step is the varnish, which is applied in even coats to the instrument.  The varnish is where the luthier may choose to take creative license.  Our workshop instruments are characterized by a rich Parisian red hue, highlighted by golden edges on the ribs.  On the scroll, the chamfers, the flat portion around the scroll, are accentuated by a black outline.  Once the varnish is complete, it just needs to dry and voila!  We have a violin!  This entire process takes, on average, about two months to complete.


After questions of “how do you fix a violin?” and “what’s on the inside?” to “what is the difference between a $200 instrument and a $5000 instrument?”  we came up with a unique learning opportunity to satiate the average curious and arts-loving Vermonter (and visitors of course!): Vermont Violins Workshop tours, bringing marketplace goers into the life of a luthier, or violin maker.  Every Saturday at 10:00am, we will take you into our Burlington workshop and give demonstrations and answer questions on how our instruments are created, restored, and repaired.  All are welcome, musicians or not!  The tours are completely free, and in addition, all participants will be granted a 10% discount on any one accessory (not including strings, instruments, bows, or services) on the day of the tour.  We look forward to seeing you!


Related Category: Church Street Marketplace