In the market of historical French violins with Viaduct Violins

The market of historical instruments is changing year after year. To orient ourselves in this fascinating world, we interviewed Guy Batifort, director of Viaduct Violins, a company specialized in French quartet instruments and bows, and a recurrent guest of Cremona Musica.


How did you start your company?

I co-founded Viaduct Violins in 1998 with Roger Lanne, a Master violin maker and expert, ex-first assistant to Etienne Vatelot. At that time, I had been working with Aubert-Moinier in Mirecourt to develop and commercialize instruments and bows produced by this company. I met Roger Lanne in Mirecourt during his annual visit to purchase the famous Aubert bridges, and suggested to him to manufacture his ART 2000 cellos in our workshop. Through this happy experience we got to know and appreciate each other and hence decided to create a company dedicated in furnishing violin professionals around the world with the finest French quartet instruments and bows.


Which are the main markets for historical instruments, nowadays?

This is a complex question. High end instruments and bows of the quartet family have been speculative items for some years now. Foundations and investors are now even more important buyers than musicians, in the antique market. In addition to the usual clients from Japan and the USA, we have seen over the last several years a strong demand arise from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Korea. The situation is changing quickly and it's hard to predict how it will work out in the post pandemic world.


Can you tell us the story of your most important sale?

Among many examples, I cherish a surprise meeting that I had with a professional American violinist. She came some years ago to Paris and needed to borrow a violin and bow to play during her stay. While visiting our workshop to select these items, I could hear from a different section of the workshop how she played and her personal style. Immediately, I thought that one of the bows in our collection would greatly complement her, a Francois Nicolas Voirin bow, made during the years that he worked for J B Vuillaume. She used this bow for her stay in France and (sadly for my collection) purchased the Voirin to take home with her, leaving me with only fond memories of that bow.


How is your team composed?

Roger Lanne is our violin maker and expert, Eric Mok is the Development Manager for Asia, and then we have two consultants, David Basch from Washington, and Simon Smith from London to complete our team.


What is the importance of Cremona Musica in your activity?

Mondomusica is of prime importance to our worldwide activity. Cremona is a central place for the Violin world as far as quality and history are concerned, and this even for a company that specializes in French instruments and bows. Nowadays, Mondomusica is the very best place to meet clients and friends. We at Viaduct Violins hope the 2020 exhibition can take place.