Helen Michetschläger violin maker

Helen Michetschläger violin maker

I make violins, violas and cellos for musicians in the UK and abroad, from my workshop in Sale, South Manchester.

30/12/2021

I've been sewing over the Christmas holidays, and making some new violin blankets. Here is one made specifically for a BAM Hightech violin case, fitting the trademark BAM case outline perfectly. If you'd like one yourself, please message me via my Etsy site https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/instrumentblankets and click the Request Custom Order button in the left hand column. I can offer a choice of fabrics and make one specifically to your requirements. All profits go to funding training for young violin makers; so far I've raised over £7000!

I've been sewing over the Christmas holidays, and making some new violin blankets. Here is one made specifically for a BAM Hightech violin case, fitting the trademark BAM case outline perfectly. If you'd like one yourself, please message me via my Etsy site https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/instrumentblankets and click the Request Custom Order button in the left hand column. I can offer a choice of fabrics and make one specifically to your requirements. All profits go to funding training for young violin makers; so far I've raised over £7000!

Photos from Alexander Accessories Ltd's post 22/12/2021

This is my revarnished and refurbished 'test instrument' - my graduation piece from the end of my studies at Newark School of Violin Making in 1980. As you see, Alexander Accessories have made it a lovely new chinrest to suit its new owner.

Resuscitating a violin from 1971 01/12/2021

Resuscitating a violin from 1971

Please read my blog post about the restoration of a violin by one of my teachers, Maurice Bouette, which I'm now selling to fund training of young violin makers. If you're looking for a good sounding violin at a very reasonable £3500, this is the instrument for you!

Resuscitating a violin from 1971 Over the last months I’ve been involved in a time-consuming but satisfying project. One of my longstanding friends gave me some instruments from the workshop of her late father-in-law, Mauric…

Music maker 30/08/2021

Music maker

A while ago I was interviewed for the online magazine of the Royal Overseas League. Here's the result: https://rosloverseas.org.uk/music-maker/

Music maker A leading violin maker discusses the traditional techniques involved in hand crafting a high-quality instrument

Maurice Bouette cello 1965 17/06/2021

Maurice Bouette cello 1965

If you're looking for a good value cello that is being sold to help young violin makers at the beginning of their careers, look no further. A good sounding instrument at a very reasonable £8000. Please contact me if you'd like to try it.

Maurice Bouette cello 1965 The Newark School of Violin Making has trained many of the best violin makers worldwide over the last 50 years. It was founded by Maurice Bouette, who had himself learnt violin making at evening cl…

Homepage 12/04/2021

Homepage

If you're interested in learning more about restoration, check this out. Iris Carr, one of the top restorers in the world, has given two Zoom lectures for the RAB Trust to violin making students. As I'm chair of the Trust, I'm really proud that we have been able to help this happen. Iris has now produced an edited version of the talks, which is for sale at https://iris-carr-restorations-ltd.teachable.com 50% of the proceeds go to support the RAB Trust, and will in turn help fund more lectures, work experience placements and grants for the coming generation of violin makers. What are you waiting for?

Homepage This is what we all aim for when we embark on this complex procedure in violin restoration. But to accomplish a high-end, top quality neck graft is not an easy and straightforward task and I regularly come across neck grafts where either the woodwork or the retouching or both have not quite worked o...

youtube.com 21/12/2020

The Halle - YouTube

One of my violins features in the Halle Orchestra Christmas concert, free to watch on their YouTube channel. It's played by Philippa Heys, who is leading the second violins. Enjoy!
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheHalleOfficial

youtube.com The Hallé is Manchester's orchestra founded by Sir Charles Hallé in 1858.

rabtrust.org 08/12/2020

Bernard Wawman bequest - Rowan Armour-Brown Memorial Trust Fund

I've been busy dealing with a couple of generous bequests of complete workshops. These are for the RAB Trust, the charity I chair that helps student violin makers. Lots of happy students are now giving a second life to these tools.

rabtrust.org Bequest of tools and books to the RAB Trust

etsy.com 06/12/2020

Protective blankets for violins, violas and cellos by instrumentblankets

If you're looking for a Christmas present, please check out the blankets for violin, viola and cello that I make. These are sold on behalf of the RAB Trust, and so far I've raised over £5000 from the power of my needle, which has paid for awards to violin making students to buy wood, tools, go on training courses and work experience. It's been a tough year for students, so this is a way you can help. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/instrumentblankets?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

etsy.com You searched for: instrumentblankets! Discover the unique items that instrumentblankets creates. At Etsy, we pride ourselves on our global community of sellers. Each Etsy seller helps contribute to a global marketplace of creative goods. By supporting instrumentblankets, you’re supporting a small ...

youtube.com 01/12/2020

Ben Finlay - 5 Haiku after Fukuda Chiyo-Ni

I've just been watching this lovely video, a setting of Haiku for cello and voice by Ben Finlay played by Ben (on my cello) and sung by Milana Sarukhanyan. The images are lovely and fit beautifully with the music.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UrClmRPKOs&feature=youtu.be

youtube.com Film and Music - Ben Finlay Soprano - Milana Sarukhanyan Cello - Ben Finlay Recorded at the Royal Academy of Music

helenviolinmaker.com 28/11/2020

319: 16 5/8 inch (42.3cm) viola based on Gasparo da Salo

I made a viola earlier in the year for Charlie Howells, a final year student at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester. Here he is, playing it for his online music college auditions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGIYoOF88Yc&t=62s&ab_channel=CharlieHowells
the story of making the viola is here:
https://helenviolinmaker.com/319-16-5-8-inch-42-3cm-viola-based-on-gasparo-da-salo/

helenviolinmaker.com I’ve had a break of several weeks from the workbench: I had to move out of the workshop to work temporarily in the house in mid-January, as the workshop was suffering water ingress and had to…

easyfundraising.org.uk 22/11/2020

You shop. Rowan Armour-Brown Memorial Trust Fund gets money. For free.

Those of you who know me will perhaps be aware that I'm the chair of the RAB Trust, a wonderful small charity that helps student violin makers by giving cash grants, arranging workshop placements and funding places at short courses. There's more about RAB at www.rabtrust.org

The good news is that there is a way of supporting our work that costs you nothing! Simply sign up for Easyfundraising, and every time you buy online from a huge range of shops, a proportion of your spend is donated to RAB. Do it now!

So please support Rowan Armour-Brown Memorial Trust Fund on #easyfundraising, you can raise FREE donations when you shop online with over 4,300 retailers. It's simple and only takes 2 minutes to sign up! Plus, once you have raised your first £5, easyfundraising will match it! Sign up now: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/rabtrust/?invite=448F4Y&referral-campaign=s2s&utm_source=stwsharebox

easyfundraising.org.uk Help us when you shop with 4,000 shops & sites. Join now.

youtube.com 19/11/2020

Just Bach Concert 11/18/20 Luther Memorial Church Madison, WI

Last year I made a violin for Xavier Pleindoux, the principal second violin of the Madison Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin. It was a lot of fun, he wanted a large size Maggini model, which was of course right up my street. https://helenviolinmaker.com/313-violin-based-on-paolo-maggini-c-1630/
Xavier has just given a short concert playing the Bach double violin concerto which you can view online here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xO8cy5nJtYE

youtube.com Program: Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043 Air ‘on a G String,’ from Orch. Suite No. 3, BWV 1068 Cantata 139: Final Chorale: Dahero Trotz der Höl...

helenviolinmaker.com 21/07/2020

A violin reborn in its centenary year, part 2

I've now finished this violin, make from an unfinished back, front and ribs started a hundred years ago. It's been a lovely project; please have a read.

helenviolinmaker.com I’ve had an interesting time varnishing this violin, and matching up the new wood and the old. First the violin had some time tanning in the ultra-violet cupboard, which brought the ribs up c…

14/06/2020

Co-Principal Cello Jonathan Ayling’s Bach video diary: Part Three #RPOatHome

Have a look at Part 3 of Jonathan Ayling's video diary of learning Bach's 5th cello suite, played on his Michetschläger cello.

Watch as Co-Principal Cello Jonathan Ayling introduces and plays the eloquent Baroque dance of the Allemande in Part Three of his ongoing video diary, docume...

22/05/2020

Co-Principal Cello Jonathan Ayling’s Bach video diary: Part One #RPOatHome

Lockdown has been a time for musicians to learn the music that has been on their wishlists for years. In this video, Jonathan Ayling, co-principal cellist of the RPO, talks about learning the Bach 5th cello suite and plays the prelude on his 1999 Michetschläger cello. Jonathan bought the cello from me when he was coming to the end of his studies at the Royal Academy of Music and it has served him well through his career ever since.

Under the lockdown, the RPO’s Co-Principal Cello Jonathan Ayling has taken the time to learn a piece he’s never got round to playing: Bach’s Cello Suite No.5...

20/05/2020

Helen Michetschläger violin maker

Lockdown has been a time where a lot of musicians have felt, even more than usual, how important it is to be able to play and to lose yourself in practice. I'm lucky that I can still work, and I'm able to send instruments by courier in the UK, Europe and North America.
If you're thinking about a new viola, I have two instruments in stock that I can send out on trial. The first is a 16 1/4 inch viola (41.2cm) which I made in 2012. It has served its owner well but he decided he'd like a larger instrument, which I made for him last year, so am now selling this one for him.
The other viola is smaller, but not in sound quality! It's a 15 1/4 inch (38.7cm) with a fascinating story. To find out more about these violas, visit my website here: https://helenviolinmaker.com/currently-available/
And if you'd like more information, message me or email [email protected]

helenviolinmaker.com 19/05/2020

Currently available

Lockdown has been a time where a lot of musicians have felt, even more than usual, how important it is to be able to play and to lose yourself in practice. I'm lucky that I can still work, and I'm able to send instruments by courier in the UK, Europe and North America.
If you're thinking about a new viola, I have two instruments in stock that I can send out on trial. The first is a 16 1/4 inch viola (41.2cm) which I made in 2012. It has served its owner well but he decided he'd like a larger instrument, which I made for him last year, so am now selling this one for him.
The other viola is smaller, but not in sound quality! It's a 15 1/4 inch (38.7cm) with a fascinating story. To find out more about these violas, visit my website here: https://helenviolinmaker.com/currently-available/
And if you'd like more information, message me or email [email protected]

helenviolinmaker.com These days, much of my work is made to commission, and I also sometimes have instruments available from stock, as well as occasionally earlier instruments on resale. Find out more about current wor…

helenviolinmaker.com 14/05/2020

Workshop 2.0

I recently had to have a complete refit of my lovely workshop; it flooded last summer so had to be stripped, tanked and refitted. Here's the story.

helenviolinmaker.com I have a lovely workshop which we had built in the garden in 2006/7. The site is tricky; the clue is in the name of our local area, Brooklands, and probably the house was built where there was once…

helenviolinmaker.com 10/05/2020

A violin reborn in its centenary year, part 1

Please read this: it's the story of finishing a partly-made violin from about 100 years ago, and a tiny slice of London violin making history.

helenviolinmaker.com I grew up in Hampstead, North London, in a flat above my father’s motor repair business. An elderly couple, Mr and Mrs Baker lived next door. Ernie Baker was born in 1902, and had been a cabi…

21/02/2020

I'm wondering if anyone can help me. I've had a partly-made violin in the workshop for years. It was made by a neighbour at my childhood home in Hampstead, North London. He was elderly when I knew him but in his youth he had worked for the British Violin Maker's Guild at 35 South End Road Hampstead. I have a booklet about the Guild; it was a company started in 1915 and continued into the 1920s, though I haven't been able to find out any more about it than is mentioned in the Meredith Morris book. My guess is it didn't last all that long, and our neighbour, Ernest Baker, became a cabinet maker. I still have one of his gouges that I have used on every scroll I've carved.
Any more information on the Guild would be great. I'm drawing a blank on Ernie himself as well, as despite having his date of death I've not been able to find him on the online records.
Oh, and I've decided to finish the violin! The back is almost done, the front needed the thicknessing finishing, f-holes and bass bar, and there are no ribs. It has a beautifully carved, delicate head, the nicest part of the whole instrument.

26/01/2020

I'd like to invite you to the BVMA Makers' Day on Sunday 9 February. This is an opportunity to see the work of around 40 contemporary violin makers, to chat and try their work. I'll be there with a new violin and a couple of violas (as well as some of my instrument blankets) and would love to meet you. There is also a concert at lunchtime given by the Kreutzer Quartet on instruments selected from those on display. The venue is Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG, and it's open from 10.30 to 5.30, and it's free to visit.

23/10/2019

I've been busy in the sewing room making some new cello blankets which I've uploaded to my Etsy site: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/instrumentblankets. Please do have a look. I sell these blankets to benefit the RAB Trust www.rabtrust.org which supports student violin makers, and to date I've contributed over £4000. The Etsy site also has violin and viola blankets, including some at sale price. From time to time I make custom blankets, including this recent one for a shaped viola case. If you'd like a custom blanket, please get in touch.

14/08/2019

Please can somebody help? I'm meeting a customer in London on Sunday who would like to try out one of my violins, but we need a venue where they can play for a while without disturbing anyone unduly. I'd be happy to pay a reasonable sum for the use of a room in someone's house, preferably reasonably accessible by public transport. Thanks very much.

helenviolinmaker.com 03/08/2019

Violin varnish course in Dinan, France, July 2019

I recently spent a week on François Perego's varnish course, read about it here...

helenviolinmaker.com I spent an amazing week in mid-July at the studio of François Perego in Dinan, Brittany, refining my ideas about violin varnishing. François has a background as a painter, art restorer, chemist and…

helenviolinmaker.com 07/07/2019

Newark Diploma Day

helenviolinmaker.com For the first time since I was a student myself, I attended the annual Diploma Day at the Newark School of Violin Making. I’m the chair of the RAB Trust which supports student violin makers, …

stringsmagazine.com 25/05/2019

Violin and Bow Makers Discuss Their Historical Influences—& Finding Room For One’s Own Unique Style

I was recently asked to contribute a piece about my violin making influences to t Strings Magazine in America. It's been published online here:
http://stringsmagazine.com/violin-and-bow-makers-discuss-their-historical-influences-finding-room-for-ones-own-unique-style/?utm_source=Strings&utm_campaign=9f6f3c45ba-STN_Notes_09_09_169_6_2016_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_7811abf900-9f6f3c45ba-163125541&mc_cid=9f6f3c45ba&mc_eid=59e6a0bcee

stringsmagazine.com Compiled by Megan Westberg Éric Gagné Montréal, Canada Award-winning bow maker Éric Gagné began his career working for Blaise Emmelin in France before moving to Brussels to work for Pierre Guillaum…

18/05/2019

One of my sidelines is making protective blankets for instruments when they are in their cases. Yesterday a customer came to collect a cello she had commissioned. She already has a blanket, but wanted to have a 'hat' to cover the scroll, so that the head and neck are protected in the case and that the neck and strings don't come into direct contact with the strap that secures the cello in the case. I had time to oblige... I also thought it was a great idea to help insulate the pegbox during the cold of the winter, so that the cello stays better in tune.
You can see my cello blankets at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/instrumentblankets. I usually have some surplus fabric from the blankets so would be able to make matching cello hats to order.

Videos (show all)

Matt Maguire plays Michetschläger two-cornered viola
Matt Maguire plays new Michetschläger 14 1/4 inch viola

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1A Grasmere Road
Manchester
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