Four representatives from Italy’s violin making schools are participating in the 13th edition of the International Music Festival of Cartagena and discussed with young Colombian musicians from this coastal city about why Cremona continues to produce the most coveted stringed instruments in the world. “It’s a trade that exemplifies Italian craftmanship,” said Daniele Carlo Pitturelli, director of the Instituto Antonio Stradivari, and accompanied at the lecture “Traditional luthiers of Italy” by Gualtiero Nicolini, president of the Italian National Luthier Association, Andrea Marziani of the Luthier School of Milan and Elisa Srollavezza, director of the Luthier School of Parma.
While students received an introduction of the classic Cremonese instrument made by Stradivari, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù and Andrea Amati, an exhibition sponsored by the Italian Government also included a workshop on how violins are assembled by families of luthiers in Cremona, with skills that represents “the highest level of technical and sound production.” According to the guest lecturers, being a luthier is such an important tradition that many state schools encourage students to enroll in courses in violin-making, regardless of age or their degrees. “Within our school, students are able to study sound and technique, gain experience, and develop their craft with a solid cultural background,” remarked Pitturelli of the legendary Scuola Internazionale di Luteria Cremona that operates in medieval palazzo. The educator also went on to mention that Latin America is the most underrepresented region in the Scuola, with a majority of students enrolled from France, Germany, Japan and Korea.
At the heart of violin making since the 16th century, Cremona thrives on strings and a trade that was protected in 2012 under UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.