10 years of Bavarian lutherie at Cremona Musica

For the tenth consecutive year, Cremona Musica is hosting a stand dedicated to the Bayern violin making school. We have to thank BH International, the agency that promotes the Bayern craftmanship. To discover something more, we interviewed Edith Böhm.

 

What does your agency do?

Bayern Handwerk International (BHI) is the export promotion agency for Bavarian skilled crafts. Our organization is supported by the six Bavarian chambers of skilled crafts together with the Bavarian Ministry of State Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport, and Technology. The export of products and services provides new markets and opportunities. A fundamental pre-condition is expert knowledge of international commercial dealings. We support members of our craft organization in opening up new export markets and provide information on rules and regulations for export documents. In addition, we organize common stands at international fairs, like Mondomusica. Our headquarters are in Nuremberg, but we also have branches in Munich and Pilsen (Czech Republic). In Bavaria, there are approximately 202,067 skilled craft companies that provide 14% of the jobs and 31% of the apprenticeship training. 5% of the total turnover is realized in international markets, 10% of the companies are active in foreign business transactions, and 90% of their export business is made in the EU member states. Membership to the regional chamber of skilled crafts is compulsory. The regional chamber represents the interests of the craft sector towards the political institutions and the public administration.

 

How did the Bayern lutherie tradition start and develop?

There are two important violin making centers in Bavaria, Mittenwald, and Bubenreuth. The violin-making tradition in Mittenwald was founded by Mathias Klotz (1653-1743). He was apprenticed to various luthiers and violinmakers in northern Italy and opened his own workshop in Mittenwald in 1685/86. He is still considered the first violin maker in Mittenwald. His three sons continued to work in his tradition and over the years many other workshops were built. Around 1800, more than 80 violin makers had settled in this small village. This led in the second half of the 19th century to the founding of the first violin making school, which still exists today as the state vocational and vocational school for musical instrument making in Mittenwald. The second violin making center in Bavaria was built later. In the 19th century, many musical instrument makers founded their workshops in Eger (in the western part of the Czech Republic) and after World War II settled with their businesses in and around Bubenreuth (in Franconia, near Erlangen, Nuremberg). This created another center of Bavarian violin making. The area around Bubenreuth grew from a formerly agricultural village to the European metropolis of string instrument making.

 

Which are the peculiarities of the Bavarian lutherie?

The Bavarian violin making tradition is in great competition with the Italian violin makers and especially the "cradle" of violin making - Cremona. Nevertheless, many Bavarian violin makers have earned a good name worldwide and are well connected internationally and produce instruments of the highest quality.

 

This is the 10th edition of Cremona Musica for BH-International. What is the importance of this event for your business and why do you like it?

We are pleased that for 10 years we have been able to organize the joint stand for Bavarian crafts at Mondomusica, in the city of violin making. Since then, we have accompanied almost 200 companies to the fair! For the string and plucked instrument maker industry, Mondomusica is an important platform to convince international visitors of the violins “made in Bavaria" and to cultivate their contacts. Many other musical instrument makers now also present themselves at the fair, such as bow makers. We are pleased that we can look back at 10 successful years and look forward to further cooperation with Cremona Mondomusica and our exhibitors.