Violin craftsmen contest held in Moscow

The 13th annual Tchaikovsky competition begins this week and before that the violin craftsmen have had a contest of their own held for the fifth year in a row. Masters from 13 countries brought more than 60 instruments in front of the jury.

Creating a violin is not as simple as chopping up a piece of wood. A professional should have knowledge in various areas – from lacquer chemistry to biology and sculpture. Masters spend their whole lives perfecting this craft.
In Poland and Italy there are even schools of violin craftsmanship
“There are 150 students in our school. Many of them are foreigners – from Korea, Japan and Europe including Russia,” pointed out Giobatta Morassi, juror at the contest.
In the current competition – Japanese, German and Polish masters have been the most successful this year. The latter received first and third places in the Cello nomination – and the second one wasn't presented to anyone.
According to Igor Frolov, the head of the jury, “Polish masters have long-lasting traditions. It's a pity that in Russia there is no school where young people who'd like to create string instruments could go. Some Russian craftsmen were given awards – but no one taught them anything.”
Vladimir Kitov who was the laureate of the first contest held back in 1990 is also a self-taught master. Vladimir is an ex-captain, whose wood-cutting career began when his son asked for a violin.
“It was a very cheap violin made at a furniture factory. How could my son play such an instrument, I thought? So I decided to create one myself,” Vladimir Kitov, the Head of Violin Masters Union recalls.
Vladimir gave special prizes called “Golden planers” to the participants. Even these small diamond-incrusted objects he made personally. In fact, they are not only decorative!
As the contest is over, the musicians turn to show how well they can play these wooden creations – the 13th annual Tchaikovsky competition will be on for the next two weeks.