Andrea Schudtz pays homage to 20th century Milanese lutherie

by Giorgiana Strazzullo

 

Andrea Schudtz, born in 1973, opens the doors of his workshop by releasing a new interview for Cremona Musica. At fifteen he made his first violin inspired by the work of his father, Pavel Schudtz, and this year he will present for the first time two violins inspired by Leandro Bisiach's 20th century Milanese violin making.

 

On your website, the phrase “… instruments are not made, but are born” is striking, can you explain the difference?

It is like when a child is born, there is no instrument the same as another and each one has a soul! Before working on and building an instrument, we make a thorough investigation of the sound and the person who orders it: we build the instrument on the basis of their needs. It is essential for a musician to know that the instrument is generated from his wishes! It is not made to please everyone but exclusively the musician who will play it.

 

What do you inherit from the luthier tradition of your father Pavel Schudtz?

Being a son of art, I feel a great responsibility towards my father! He was well known in the musical field by several internationally renowned musicians with whom I still have commercial and friendly relationships. My family strongly wanted me to study in Cremona, there is a very important school that has allowed several generations of luthiers to grow, starting with Stradivari. I am grateful to my father because I learned that particular attention to the fine-tuning, helping me to release the sound and the potential of the instrument in close contact with the musicians. At the Academy they teach you the Cremonese construction style, the Italian style, instead the sound and the small details to improve it are taught in the workshops, above all. I was lucky enough to learn from my father's work, always careful to get the best out of the tools.

 

How do you choose your collections?

Before making a collection, I look for ideas, thoughts and I see inspiration arise by carefully exploring the different concepts. Last year I created an instrument that is very dear to me: a violin entirely painted in the style of Amati, inspired by the Amati instruments that were on display at the Violin Museum in 2019. On that occasion I was able to read up, study and go more deeply into the history and traditions of that historical period, which were a great source of inspiration to me. My new viola model was successful too! It is an unusual model, not large in size and very comfortable for playing in the high positions. My goal was to create an instrument that can be comfortably played, without sacrificing the power of the sound. I wanted to propose it at Cremona Musica 2022 but fortunately it has already been sold.

 

Last year you presented a quartet of inlaid instruments during Cremona Musica 2021, what will you be presenting next September?

The quartet of inlaid instruments was a challenge of mine: I have always wanted to build instruments that are not aimed at sale, but given on loan to various quartets for valid reasons. I recently had in my hands a beautiful instrument by a luthier of the early twentieth century, Leandro Bisiach (1864 - 1945), from the Milanese school: I really liked it! It was important to study him well and be inspired by him despite the fact that the models of reference are always the Stradivarius, Guarneri del Gesù and Amati. It is also important to pay homage to the great luthiers of the twentieth century. This year I will present two copies of the 1940 Bisiach violin.

 

Have you ever mapped your buyers? Where do your instruments live mainly?

Difficult to say, because working for many years on an international level, the instruments are ordered from all parts of the world. At the beginning of my career, many instruments were sold in Asia, Japan, China and Taiwan. Now the market is concentrated in Europe: Italy, Germany, France and Portugal. There are some countries that seem difficult to reach like India, Iran… my instruments have arrived there as well. Music and lutherie unite us.

 

How has Cremona Musica improved the promotion of your business?

There have been several meetings with internationally renowned musicians because the exhibition has always been seen as a professional point of reference. Although there have been several fairs in the past, Cremona Musica was the one where the focus was on artisan lutherie and therefore certainly helped to grow and see the work of other luthiers in order to learn and exchange ideas. Luckily there is Cremona Musica which gives us the opportunity to exhibit in a very well organized fair.

 

Some special memory? A fortunate encounter to tell from the previous editions?

Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, my father's friend and client, played my cello in 2004 and it was a very strong emotion: he encouraged me in my work. Then many other musicians reached me.