Violin is King at Cremona Mondomusica
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2007, Cremona Mondomusica has developed over the years to become a leading international showcase for handcrafted and vintage violin-family instruments, bows, accessories, tone woods, strings, cases, print music, schools, and virtually everything related to the instrument category. In addition, the exposition features a variety of other acoustic instruments, including guitars, harpsichords, and church organs.
This year’s edition of Mondomusica, held Oct. 5-7 at the CremonaFiere trade facility in Cremona, Italy, offered more than 300 exhibits, 20 workshops, master classes, seminars, and performances, and was attended by nearly 10,000 dealers, distributors, builders, collectors, and aficionados of acoustic music products.
A Violin Mecca
It comes as no surprise Mondomusica is dominated by the violin. Cremona, located an hour southeast of Milan in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, is known worldwide as the cradle of fine violin making. The city’s reputation dates back to the early years of the 16th century when Andrea Amati pioneered the modern bowed string instruments that became the global standard. Amati’s achievements were underlined during the golden age of Cremonese violin making, most prominently by Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu.
The creativity of these masters continues to this day in Cremona, as witnessed by the presence of its more than 100 violin workshops, a museum dedicated to the art, and Cremona’s world-famous institute of violin making. Walking around the city center’s cobblestone side streets, one is struck by violin shops (not Starbucks) at virtually every turn.
The only part of the violin-family world absent from Cremona and from the Mondomusica trade event is that segment we are most familiar with: mass-market, school rental products. Instead, the accent is one hand-built, high-quality – and limited quantity – instruments. For example, one maker from Tuscany (another Italian stronghold of violin making) reports making a total of 164 instruments in the last 25 years, and average of about seven annually. And, of course, such instruments don’t come cheap. Handcrafted violins typically begin in the range of $8,500 and if the maker has garnered top prizes in various international competitions, the prices escalate to $20,000 or more. Clearly, it’s a rarified atmosphere, which makes it all the more remarkable that Mondomusica can attract 300-plus exhibitors, most of whom are focused on this high-end niche.
North American Delegation
Among Mondomusica attendees was an American delegation hosted by the Italian Trade Commission. These included: Paul Dulude, New England Violins, Inc., Belmont, Mass.; Rodger & Eunice Stearns, Stearns Violins, Inc., Hartville, Ohio; Paul & Ann Carol Biase, P. Biase & A. Fantoni Rare Violins, New York; David Segal, David Segal Violins, New York; Carlos Arcieri, Carlos Arcieri Inc., New York; and David Bonsey, Skinner, Inc., Boston; and Zsolt Felegyhazi, Jules Saint-Michel Luthier, Inc., Montreal.
For information on the 2008 Cremona Mondomusica, contact: Italian Trade Commission, 233 Peachtree St. N.E., Suite 2301, Atlanta, GA 30303. Phone (404) 525-0660. Fax (404) 525-5112. Email:email@example.com. Web site: www.italtrade.com.