The luthier Tonarelli: "I built my first violin when I was 15"

With 25 years of experience and many participations in Cremona Musica, Daniele Tonarelli is one of the great names of contemporary Cremonese violin making. Waiting to meet him at Cremona Musica this autumn, we talked with him about his instruments, his passion and the young people who are approaching violin making today.


You are a very experienced luthier with 25 years of experience. After all this time, are there still new things you find you are learning and improving?

Absolutely yes: there is always something new to learn or improve. It is precisely this aspect that makes my work as a luthier beautiful.


What are the peculiar characteristics of your instruments and what makes them special compared to others?

What makes my instruments special I think is the fact that they are able to satisfy the needs of the musician by giving them the opportunity to fulfill the dream of owning an Italian Cremonese instrument that satisfies them.


The world of violin making is a very traditionalist world, from models to instruments, up to raw materials, but also with some ideas for innovation. How do you balance tradition and innovation in your work?

Compared to tradition and innovation in my work, I think I am more inclined to tradition, however, leaving a window open for innovation, wherever possible.


You got into violin making very early on. What advice would you give to a young person who would like to try to enter this world today?

I built my first violin at the age of 15 and surely the passion and desire to discover this beautiful world is what led me to continue this work. I would only recommend to a young person to put a lot of passion into what he wants to do.


Recently, with the help of an assistant, you also began to create a line of instruments that are more affordable. Can you tell us about this choice?

This line of instruments more accessible economically consists of instruments built, entirely by hand, by my assistant Davide Pizzolato under my supervision and aimed at a clientele that dreams of having a Cremonese instrument, but has less financial resources.


Are you already able to anticipate what you will be presenting at Cremona Musica 2022?

This year at Cremona Musica 2022 I will present a string quartet (two violins, a viola and a cello) built by me to celebrate my 25th year of activity.