Having learnt his profession between France, Cremona and Parma, Frédéric Noharet now lives and works in the Emilian city, where he produces strings that reflect the style of the different places where he has lived, reinterpreted through his own research. Waiting to meet him at Cremona Musica, we interviewed him about his work.
You were born in France, studied in Cremona and live in Parma, another territory with a great tradition in lutherie. How do these places affect your instruments?
I craft my instruments with the classical method that I learnt at the School of Lutherie of Cremona. I elaborated this method through the years, with the effort, patience and care of a French wine producer, as I did for the recipe of my varnish. Then, the refinement and the attention to the smoothness of the lines typical of the School of Parma influences my style.
Which are the main peculiarities of your method?
The basis of my method is the “closed body” technique, theorized by Sacconi as the classical ancient Cremonese method. I tried to understand which were the deep reasons that led him to this method, to adapt them to my needs. The procedure I use now is not so different from the one explained by Sacconi in his book; we can say that it is my personal reinterpretation. That is, positioning the “fs” in the soundboard, and threading, shelling and finishing the borders when the soundbody is already assembled. I love this method because I think it is the best one to produce new instruments. I mean, when you want to design your own models, following your own taste, and looking for your own sound.
You opened your workshop in Parma, in a courtyard, without windows. Why?
When I started 30 years ago, having a window was quite rare. Anyway, I have always considered my job as a kind of meditation; I believe in inspiration and in the dialogue with the materials that I use. The absence of a window let me be more concentrated.
Last year you told us that Cremona Musica is very important for you to collect feedback. What have you found out last year from your clients?
Last year’s feedback was particularly good. I found out that my instruments are really appreciated, so I am continuing along the same way.
What do you expect from the upcoming edition of Cremona Musica?
When your activity is based only on crafting new instruments, the sale of the instrument is a finishing line from which to start again toward new clients. It is important to see new people at the exhibition, curious and competent. Better if they are looking for an instrument!