After 45 years of experience and more than 200 unique instruments, the Belgian luthier Luc Deneys has moved his workshop to Cremona, in San Lorenzo Aroldo. But he took his first steps as an artist, an experience that is still influencing his approach to lutherie. We talked with him about this, looking forward to seeing his new instruments at Cremona Musica 2020.
How did you decide to become a luthier and how did your career start?
More then 50 years ago, I started studying Arts. I was in contact with Josepf Beuys, J. Christo, and many other modern artists. My performances were a mixture of music and painting. At the time I met Gio Bata Morassi in Cremona. He taught me a lot about contemporary violin making. Before, I was a self-made maker of Renaissance instruments that I used in my arts. This was the beginning.
What are the main peculiarities of your instruments?
Sometimes I also make string instruments as art objects. Like the Minotaur quartet, inspired by Greek mitology. This is now being loaned and has already had the opportunity to perform a lot. It is built in an archaic way, without a mold.
You have made more than 200 instruments. What have you been experimenting with recently?
As I get older I do fewer repairs but focus on making violins, violas, and cellos. Over the years I have also developed my own tuning system for tuning the sound blades. To do this, I work together with Michael Bezverkhni, the first prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1976.
Your violins have been played by many important violinists. Can you name some of them and tell us what you learn from great artists?
Many important musicians use my instruments. I sell worldwide. But this is not always easy. A lot of musicians are looking for historic instruments. I also work in the triangle musician, composer, and luthier. Some composers, such as Gian Paolo Luppi (Martini Conservatory in Bologna), Claude Ledoux (Conservatory of Paris), Jan Van Landeghem (Conservatory of Brussels), write for my instruments.
Are you preparing something special for Cremona Musica 2020?
I will show my latest works of this year at the expo. Some were made in Cremona (San Lorenzo Aroldo) but due to the Covid-19 virus, the violins were made in Ghent.
What is the importance of Cremona Musica in your business?
It is an important exhibition for me, because I normally work in Cremona and interested musicians can then visit my studio.