Violin making is a living craft, and we feel it is just as important to support the makers of today as it is to restore and preserve the work of the past. Bridgewood and Neitzert are therefore delighted to begin an association with the New Work Group, whose members are experienced and well-established violin makers, a bow maker and a restorer. These craftsmen maintain standards of excellence and an ethos of sharing ideas and experience among peers.
Standards in both violin and bow making have risen enormously over the past 20years, and are now as high as they have ever been. We would strongly advise any player who is looking for an instrument to enhance their performance, but cannot afford the work of one of the great masters of the past, to try that of contemporary makers. They may well find this gives them the best playing power for their money.
Our aim is to have an example of each New Work Group maker's work in the shop and available to be played at any time. This gives players the unique opportunity of being able to try the best of modern making alongside a range of older instruments in their price bracket. We invite you to come and experiment!
Paul Barter was trained in Sweden by Bengt Lindholm and Roland Wiklund, before coming to England to increase his knowledge and experience.
Although he has made both instruments and bows, he now concentrates entirely on restoration, where his meticulous work has earned him a fine reputation. His workshop in Stockholm provides the Group with a link to Scandinavia.
Paul V Harrild
Paul Bowers, following a career in music, studied violin making at the Newark School of Violin Making, graduating with distinction in 1976. Success in major violin making competitions established his reputation as one of Britain's leading contemporary violin makers.
His violin making has continued to develop since those early days, and he produces instruments of great distinction based on over 20 years of practical experience and research. His instruments are now played throughout the world. Each instrument is based on an original design and constructed entirely by hand using traditional workshop techniques.
Paul V Harrild’s violin making evolved via graphics, fine art painting and sculpture, and endeavours to encompass function and aesthetics to the full. For this reason his work aims to emulate the makers of Cremona and Brescia, while retaining the integrity of his own individual personality.
Not being a strict copyist affords Paul a freedom of choice while observing a variety of influences.
Paul specialises in 'antiqued' varnish techniques.
Patrick Jowett graduated from the Newark School of Violin Making with distinction in 1980. Making absolute judgments as to what does or does not make a good instrument is very difficult, the criteria being so subjective.
Patrick feels that an instrument should have instant appeal both tonally and visually. It should excite the senses and, being an artistic statement of shape, contour and colour, possess its own personality.
Helen Michetschläger - a rich, responsive sound coupled with flexibility and sensitivity to the needs of the musician are the hallmarks of Helen's work. As a cellist herself, she knows that no two players have the same requirements. Her output is versatile, including violins, violas in many sizes and cellos, in modern and period form.
Helen has developed her own design for half and three-quarter sized violins and children's violas, which have a mellow and satisfying sound, but their simplified corner-less construction makes them available at considerably less than the price of her full-sized instruments.
Judith Moser graduated from the violin-making school in Mittenwald in 1991, and since then she has worked in violin shops in various countries, with the aim of learning as much as possible about the great violin makers and the needs of today's musicians.
She gained her Geigenbaumeister certificate in 2000. The breadth and variety of her experience is revealed in her violin making. Judith will make instruments in her own style, or copies of other makers on request.
Viola Ziessow graduated from the Newark School of Violin-Making in 1992 and has gained professional experience in Spain and Germany, before setting up her own workshop in England in 1995. Viola also used to lecture at the NSVM.
Based upon the proven designs of the 'Old Masters', her instruments possess strong individual style and character, and are highly regarded for their playing qualities, response and well-balanced tone. In recognition of this, Viola won the 'Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris' for a cello in 1999.
Richard Wilson was trained in the Hill tradition of bowmaking, and has developed his style to include a wide range of influences. He produces baroque and classical, as well as modern, bows.
Before becoming a bow maker he was a professional viola player and teacher, so Richard is sensitive to the needs of players.